|House Organizational News
|1/8. The top House Republican leadership
for the 108th Congress is Speaker Denny
Hastert (R-IL), Majority Leader Tom
DeLay, and Whip Roy Blunt
(R-MO) (at right). On January 7, the House
passed as part of its rules package a provision that removes the term limit on
the office of Speaker. "It best serves neither our Conference, nor the Congress,
to have a lame duck Speaker of the House," said Rep. Blunt in a
The other members of the Republican leadership for the 108th Congress are
Deborah Pryce (R-OH) (Conference Chairman),
Jack Kingston (R-GA) (Conference Vice-Chair),
John Doolittle (R-CA) (Conference Secretary),
Chris Cox (R-CA) (Policy Chairman),
Tom Reynolds (R-NY) (NRCC Chairman),
Eric Cantor (R-VA) (Chief Deputy Whip),
David Dreier (R-CA) (Rules Chairman),
and Rob Portman (R-OH) (Leadership Chairman). See,
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will be
the House Minority Leader. Rep. Steny
Hoyer (D-MD) will be the House
Democratic Whip. Rep. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
will be Chairman of the House
The House Republican Conference met on Wednesday night to select committee
chairmen. Rep. James Sensenbrenner
(R-WI) will continue as Chairman of the
House Judiciary Committee.
However, Subcommittee Chairmen have not been named.
Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), the former
Chairman of the Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property (CIIP) Subcommittee,
is term limited. Rep. Bob Goodlatte's
(R-VA) selection as Chairman of the
Agriculture Committee bars him from selection as CIIP Chairman.
Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) will
continue as Chairman of the House
Commerce Committee. The Judiciary and Commerce Committees have jurisdiction
over most technology related bills.
Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) will
continue as Chairman of the
House Ways and
Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over both tax and trade issues.
Rep. Bill Young (R-FL)
will continue as Chairman of the House
Also, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) will
continue as Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary
Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over appropriations for most of the
technology related federal agencies, including the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC),
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Patent
and Trademark Office (USPTO), National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and
Department of Justice (DOJ). See,
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) will
be the Chairman of the House Armed
Services Committee. He replaces former Rep. Bob Stump (R-AZ), who retired.
Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) will
be the Chairman of the House
Resources Committee. He replaces former Rep. James Hansen (R-UT),
Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA) will
continue as Chairman of the House Budget
Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) (at right)
will be the new Chairman of the
House Government Reform Committee. He
replaces Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), who
was term limited. Rep. Davis represents a
tech heavy district in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. As
Chairman of the Reform Committee's
Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy in the 107th Congress, he
focused on many technology related issues. Rep. Davis is also a former Chairman
of the National Republican Congressional Committee
(NRCC). Rep. Davis is also a member of the
House Commerce Committee, and its
Telecom and Internet Subcommittee.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) will be
the new Chairman of the House Agriculture
replaces former Rep. Larry Combest (R-TX), who retired. Rep. Goodlatte is also a member
of the House Judiciary Committee and
its Courts, Internet and Intellectual
Property Subcommittee. He has long been one of the House's most informed and
active members on technology related issues. However, his new responsibilities
on the Agriculture Committee may detract from his involvement in other issues.
On January 7, the House adopted a HRes 6, which names the Republican members of the
House Rules Committee. It names Rep.
David Dreier (R-CA) as Chairman, and Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL), Rep. John Linder
(R-GA), Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH), Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Doc
Hastings (R-WA), Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Rep. Tom
Reynolds (R-NY). This is unchanged from the 107th Congress. The House also
adopted HRes 6, which names the Democratic member of the Rules Committee. It
names Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX), Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Rep. James McGovern
(D-MA), and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL).
|Rep. Leach Introduces Internet Gambling Bill
|1/7. Rep. James Leach (R-IA)
introduced HR 21, a bill that would attempt to bar Internet gambling operations access to the
U.S. financial services system by banning the use of credit cards, wire
transfers, or any other bank instrument to fund gambling transactions. Similar,
legislation was passed in the 107th Congress by the
House Financial Services Committee
(HFSC), and then by the full House. However, it did not pass the Senate. See,
Rep. Leach, and other members of the House, such as
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and
former Rep. John LaFalce (D-NY), as well as several members of the Senate, and
especially Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), have been
attempting to pass legislation that would limit Internet gambling for many years. All efforts
to date have failed.
Leach (at right) stated that "These unregulated gambling sites are a direct
pipeline of dollars out of the United States into virtually unknown hands. This
factor makes the financial services industry vulnerable to criminal and
terrorist activity and Americans citizens vulnerable to identity theft and other
personal scams ... Internet gambling serves no legitimate purpose in our society
and is a danger to family and society at large. It should be ended."
The bill has 14 original cosponsors, including Rep. Goodlatte, who in
past Congresses has sponsored his own related anti-Internet gambling legislation. While
the Leach bill focuses on the financial transactions involved in Internet
gambling, the Goodlatte approach involves amending the Wire Act.
In a related matter, Rep. Barney Frank
(D-MA) will become the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee,
replacing former Rep. LaFalce, who retired. LaFalce had been a leading supporter
of anti-Internet gambling legislation in the 107th Congress, while Frank opposed
|SGI Pleads Guilty to Selling HPCs to Russian
Nuclear Weapons Lab
|1/7. Silicon Graphics Inc.
(SGI) plead guilty in U.S. District Court
(NDCal) to two
felony counts involving violating export control regulations in connection with the
export of high performance computers (HPCs) to a Russian nuclear laboratory in
The Bureau of Industry and Standards
(BIS), which was formerly known as the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA),
stated in a release
that "SGI agreed to pay $1 million in criminal fines to resolve the charges.
In a related administrative case, SGI agreed to pay $182,000
-- the maximum penalty authorized by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) --
to settle civil charges arising from the same exports to the Russian nuclear
laboratory, as well as additional charges relating to illegal computer exports
to Israel and for failure to meet reporting requirements for exports to China,
Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates."
The BIS also stated that "SGI admitted that, on two
occasions in 1996, the company exported four Challenge L computer systems,
upgrades, and peripheral equipment to the All-Russian Institute for Technical
Physics (Chelyabinsk-70) in violation of U.S. export control regulations.
Chelyabinsk-70, located in Snezhinsk, Russia, is a nuclear laboratory operated
by Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy
and is engaged in research, development, testing, and maintenance of nuclear
In addition, SGI's exporting privileges to Russia will be denied for three
SGI stated in a
that the "The 1996 exports came at a time when the U.S. government, in the
spirit of post-Cold War cooperation, was encouraging the technology industry to
assist Russia's government laboratories in developing commercially beneficial
scientific research. SGI's customer represented that the computers were to be
used for civilian research, including environmental analysis and remediation in
one of the most polluted areas of the world. However, because the export was
made to a government-operated facility involved in both civil and non-civil
activities in Russia, SGI has agreed in this settlement that it should have
applied for an export license."
The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a
group co-chaired by Ted
Turner and former Senator
(D-GA), reports that the
All-Russian Institute for Technical Physics (Chelyabinsk-70) was established to
design and build nuclear warheads. It further states that "It possesses
facilities that simulate different aspects of nuclear explosions, including
pulsed reactors, lasers, shock wave generators and computers."
summary of Chelyabinsk-70.
The All-Russian Institute for Technical Physics also has its own
web site, but it is mostly in Russian.
|Condor Systems Charged With Making False
Statements About Software in Export Application
|1/8. The U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) for the Northern District of California
charged Condor Systems, Inc., by a
felony information [7 page PDF scan] alleging two counts of making false
statements to U.S. government officials, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 1001. The
information was filed in the U.S. District Court
(NDCal). This is D.C. No. CR 03 20002. See,
At all times relevant to the information, Condor was a privately held defense
contractor specializing in signals intelligence and
electronic warfare systems, located in San Jose, California. In 2002, most of
its assets were acquired by EDO Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems Inc., a
wholly owned subsidiary of
EDO Corporation. See,
EDO release. The
charges arise from Condor's efforts between 1996 and 1999 to market a
tactical electronic surveillance system to the government of Sweden.
The Arms Export Control Act (AECA), and the International Trafficking in Arms
Regulation (ITAR), promulgated thereunder, prohibited export of certain Condor
products, without U.S. government approval. However, Condor is not charged with
export violations, but rather, with making false statements with respect to
attempts export to Sweden.
Condor submitted an application for approval to export a product. The
information states that this application represented the product as its "COTS
[Commercial Off The Shelf] version" of a related product developed for the U.S.
Navy. (Brackets in original.). The information alleges that this was a false
statement, since it was not a COTS version, and the government had not approved
a COTS version.
Count two of the information alleges that the application also stated that
the product was "being developed in parallel and separately", when in fact, it
was the identical source code to that developed for the U.S. Navy.
|USTR Launches FTA Negotiations with Central
|1/8. The Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR) announced the "launch of negotiations" between
the U.S., El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua for a U.S.
Central America free trade agreement (CAFTA). See,
USTR release and
the USTR's CAFTA page.
The USTR stated that "Working level negotiations on this U.S. Central American Free Trade
Agreement, or CAFTA, will begin in San José, Costa Rica, on January 27. The
participants will seek to complete the negotiations by December 2003."
Among the many issues involved are trade related intellectual property
rights, and removing existing barriers to trade in services, including
This is just the latest step towards reaching a CAFTA. President
Bush announced his intention to explore an FTA with central American nations on January
16, 2002. The President formally notified Congress of his intention on October
1, 2002, following passage of the trade promotion authority bill. See,
letter [7 pages in PDF] to House Speaker Denny
Hastert (R-IL), and substantially identical
letter [7 pages in PDF] to former Senate President Pro Tempore
(D-WV). The USTR then noticed a public hearing. See,
notice in the Federal Register, October 16, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 200, at Pages
63954 63955. The USTR held a public hearing on November 19, 2002, and received
further written comments.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the
incoming Chairman of the Senate
Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade issues, announced his
support for President Bush's CAFTA initiative. He said that "A free trade
agreement with these nations represents a unique opportunity not only for U.S.
farmers, businesses and workers, but also for promoting development, security
and prosperity in this region."
John Murphy, U.S. Chamber VP for the
Western Hemisphere, stated that
"The Chamber is pushing for a comprehensive agreement that will eliminate trade
barriers, protect investors and intellectual property, and raise the bar for the
Free Trade Area of the Americas". See,
|Chris Cox to Chair New House Homeland
|1/8. The House will continue the new
Committee on Homeland Security. Its Chairman will be Rep.
Chris Cox (R-CA).
On November 25, 2002, President Bush signed
(Public Law No: 107-296), the bill creating the new Department of Homeland
Cox (at right) issued a
release which states
that "With the enactment of the historic
legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security, the immediate focus of
the Select Committee will be to work with the President to implement the new
law. The Select Committee's oversight will be devoted to getting the new
Department up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Committee
has exclusive legislative jurisdiction over all matters relating to the Homeland
Security Act and will be a crucial influence in shaping America's security
Rep. Cox was first elected to the Congress in 1988, and has since focused on
technology, foreign affairs, and trade issues. He has generally been a low taxes,
deregulation, free enterprise, and free trade type of Republican. He has been Chairman of the
Republican's House Policy Committee
since 1995. He is a senior member of the
House Commerce Committee, and its
Telecom Subcommittee. He is also a member of the
House Financial Services
Committee. Rep. Cox will retain his positions with the House Policy Committee and the House
Since the 105th Congress, he has been the leader in the House of efforts to pass legislation
to place a moratorium on new or discriminatory state taxes on electronic
commerce. On January 7, he introduced legislation to make the ban permanent.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the
companion bill in the Senate. Rep. Cox opposed what he saw as efforts to expand
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
regulation from telecommunications to the Internet during former Chairman
William Kennard's tenure.
In 1998 he was selected to chair a select committee to investigate China's
acquisition of U.S. nuclear and military technology. It was officially titled
the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with
the People’s Republic of China. However, it was known as the "Cox Committee", and its
final report in 1999 was known as the
He was also active in securing passage of the Securities Litigation Uniform
Standards Act in the
105th Congress. See also, Cox bio.
Before his election to the House, Cox worked in the White House Counsel's
office in the Reagan administration. He was previously an attorney with the law
firm of Latham & Watkins.
The Democrats have yet to name the ranking Democrat on the new committee.
|FCC to Hold Meeting on
|1/8. The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) released a
titled "Commission Meeting Agenda" that pertains to the FCC's Wednesday
January 15 meeting.
The notice states as follows: "Presentations will be made in four panels:
Panel One consisting of the Managing Director.
Panel Two consisting of the Chiefs of the Enforcement Bureau and the
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
Panel Three consisting of the Chiefs of the Office of Engineering and
Technology, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and the International
Panel Four consisting of the Chiefs of the Wireline Competition Bureau and
the Media Bureau."
As usual, the meeting will take place at 9:30 AM Room TW-C305 (Commission
Meeting Room) of the FCC headquarters, at 445 12th Street, SW.
|Friday, January 10
|12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar
Association's (FCBA) Wireless Telecommunications Committee will host a
luncheon. The topic will be "What's Up for the Coming Year in the Auctions &
Industry Analysis, Public Safety & Private Wireless, Commercial Wireless &
Policy Divisions". The speakers will be Division Chiefs at the FCC's Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau Division. The price to attend is $15. RSVP to Wendy
Parish at firstname.lastname@example.org. Location:
Austin, 1501 K St., NW, Confr. Rm. 6E.
|Monday, January 13
|The Supreme Court will return from the recess that it began on December
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The Heritage
Foundation will host a panel discussion
titled "Harnessing Information Technology to Improve Homeland Security".
The speakers include James Gilmore (Chairman, Advisory Panel to Assess
Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass
Destruction), Lee Holcomb (Office of Homeland Security), Tom Richey (Director
of Homeland Security, Microsoft), Tom Gann (VP & GM, Siebel Systems), and
Peter Brookes (Heritage). See,
Heritage, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE.
|Tuesday, January 14
|9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce
Committee will hold a hearing titled the "State of the Competition in
the Telecom Industry". Media contact: Andy Davis (Hollings) at 202
224-6654. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir)
will hear oral argument in Peninsula Communications v. FCC, No.
01-1273. Petitioner is a radio broadcaster operating on the Kenai Peninsula in
south central Alaska. Judges Henderson, Randolph and Garland will preside.
Location: 333 Constitution Ave., NW.
Deadline to submit comments to the USPTO
to assist it in writing a report to the Congress regarding technological
protection systems for digitized copyrighted works and to prevent
infringement. This report is required by the Technology, Education and
Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002 (TEACH). See,
notice in the Federal Register, December 9, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 236, at
Pages 72920 - 72921. For more information, contact Michael Shapiro at 703
305-9300 or email@example.com.
|Wednesday, January 15
|9:30 AM. The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) will hold a meeting. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW,
Room TW-C05 (Commission Meeting Room).
Deadline to submit comments to the NIST
regarding it plans to disseminate new data regarding condensed phase infrared
spectra through the Internet. See,
notice in the Federal Register, December 16, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 241, at
|People and Appointments
|1/8. The Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) designated Charles Niemeier to be the Acting Chairman of the Public
Company Accounting Oversight Board, which was established by the Sarbanes Oxley
Act of 2002. This Board oversees the audits of the financial statements of
public companies through registration, standard setting, inspection and
disciplinary programs. The SEC had previously selected William Webster
for the position. Prior to this designation, Niemeier was the Chief Accountant
in the SEC's Division of Enforcement and co-chairman of the SEC's Financial
Fraud Task Force. See, SEC
1/7. Jonathan Solomon was name Special Assistant to FBI Director
1/8. Brian Dietz was named Senior Director, Communications, for the
National Cable &
Telecommunications Association (NCTA), effective January 20, 2003. See,
|1/8. On Wednesday night, January 8, the House passed by voice vote
making further continuing appropriations through January 31 for fiscal year
2003. On January 7, Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH), a
member of the House Republican leadership,
stated that the "Congress will complete its
work on the remaining spending bills quickly in January."
1/8. The House Commerce
Committee held a hearing on the national "Do Not Call" telemarketing
list. Timothy Muris, Chairman of the Federal
Trade Commission, testified. See, Muris statement.
1/8. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its
opinion [MS Word] in
Re Peterson, an appeal from the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences,
which is directed to a nickel-base single-crystal superalloy used in the
manufacture of industrial gas turbine engines exposed to high temperatures.
The USPTO rejected Lance Peterson's and Ioannis Vasatis's claims 1-7 of U.S.
Patent Application 08/365,392. The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences
affirmed the rejection on the grounds of obviousness, pursuant to
35 U.S.C. § 103.
The Court of Appeals affirmed.
1/8. The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) released a
report [10 pages in PDF]
titled "Contracts and Electronic Commerce: The Uniform Computer Information
Transactions Act (UCITA)". The report, which was written by the PFF's Kent
Lassman, urges widespread adoption of the UCITA. Currently, only the states of
Virginia and Maryland have adopted it.
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