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January 21, 2009, Alert No. 1,886.
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BIS Issues NOI on Encryption Items

1/6. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published a notice in the Federal Register that announces, describes, and sets the comment deadline for its notice of inquiry (NOI) regarding "the appropriate extent and scope of U.S. export controls on foreign products that are the direct products of U.S.-origin encryption technology or software".

This NOI requests comments on "the potential impact of controlling such foreign made items for Encryption Items (``EI´´) reasons under the EAR (i.e., those that are classified under ECCN 5A002 or 5D002) if the direct product of U.S.-origin ECCN 5E002 technology or ECCN 5D002 software." (Parentheses in original.)

It adds that the BIS seeks comments on "the impact this control would have on both U.S. exporters of encryption technology and software and foreign manufacturers of products that are derived in whole or in part from U.S.-origin encryption technology or software."

The deadline to submit comments is March 9, 2009. See, Federal Register, January 6, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 3, at Pages 413-414.

Allegations of DOJ Misconduct Threaten Conviction of Sen. Stevens

1/16. The U.S. District Court (DC), Judge Sullivan presiding, issued an Opinion and Order [PDF] in US v. Stevens. There have been many pleadings, orders, and hearings since the trial. However, this order reflects that the Judge is angry with the Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys, and lost confidence in their integrity.

Background. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Public Integrity obtained a conviction of former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) on October 27, 2008, on charges of violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 in connection with his alleged failure to disclose receipt of things of value on his annual Senate Financial Disclosure Forms (SFDF) for the years 1999 through 2006. The DOJ did not charge Sen. Stevens with receiving bribes. See, story titled "DOJ Obtains Indictment of Sen. Stevens in DC" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,802, July 29, 2008.

As a result of the prosecution and jury verdict, Sen. Stevens narrowly lost his bid for re-election to the Senate. He had been the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over most communications, internet regulation, and e-commerce issues. Nothing that the District Court or Court of Appeals might do can return Stevens to the Senate.

Prior to, and during trial, the DOJ employed many aggressive, even outlandish, prosecutorial tactics, to which Stevens' counsel objected. However, Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled almost uniformly for the DOJ on all key motions.

First, there was the matter of venue. The DOJ brought this case in Washington DC, rather than Alaska, in order to obtain a more favorable judge and jury. In arguing against moving the case to Alaska, the prosecution argued that the case involved only non-disclosure on financial forms, which were filed in Washington DC. Judge Sullivan allowed the case to proceed in Washington DC. Then, the prosecution built its case largely on Alaska evidence and witnesses. It also introduced irrelevant, but prejudicial, evidence related to non-existent bribery charges. Judge Sullivan allowed all this. The DOJ brought charges that were based on transactions that exceeded the statute of limitations. Judge Sullivan denied a motion to dismiss the oldest charge. At trial, Judge Sullivan learned that the DOJ withheld from Sen. Stevens discoverable evidence. He allowed the case to proceed. See also, story titled "Judge Sullivan Denies Several of Sen. Stevens' Pre-Trial Motions" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,832, September 9, 2008.

The latest round of orders demonstrate that Judge Sullivan has now lost confidence in the integrity of the DOJ lawyers who have been working on this case.

Judge Sullivan is now using language that judges almost never use to characterize federal prosecutors -- "appearance that several attorneys ... may have intentionally withheld important information from the Court", DOJ "attorneys have not been able to provide a cohesive or credible answer", there is a DOJ "pattern of belated revelations followed by unsatisfactory, and possibly false, explanations", and "wholly incredible" explanations by DOJ attorneys.

Judge Sullivan is now engaging in the rare judicial practice of quoting at length from criminal defense lawyers' briefs.

Judge Sullivan, in this just released order, has taken the unusual and offensive action of ordering the Attorney General, and other of the highest DOJ officials, to sign declarations, under penalty of perjury, explaining DOJ's misconduct. The incoming officials have no personal knowledge of this matter. Judge Sullivan has already informed these incoming officials that the DOJ lawyers who have personal knowledge lack credibility. Yet, Judge Sullivan is putting these incoming officials in a very uncomfortable and hazardous position.

No judge would do all of these things if he were not angry and outraged by prosecutorial conduct. This also suggests that the judge may now be favorably disposed to granting defense motions for embarrassing discovery, to dismiss charges, and/or for a new trial.

Post trial proceedings are not going well for the DOJ.

Prosecutorial Misconduct. This just released opinion and order, and recent pleadings, disclose and discuss a complaint [10 pages in PDF, redacted] submitted to the DOJ by FBI Special Agent Chad Joy. It accuses the DOJ and its FBI of misconduct in the investigation and prosecution of Sen. Stevens.

It focuses on the FBI's primary case agent, Mary Beth Kepner, with whom he worked, and the DOJ prosecutors in the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section, who prosecuted Sen. Stevens. He states that he was in charge of electronic surveillance, and co-managed the case.

He alleges that the government intentionally withheld discoverable materials. For example, it improperly redacted material from discovery items, and refused to produce a key witness's bank records, but then introduced one of his checks at trial.

Joy states that Kepner had improper relationships with government witnesses and sources, including exchanging of things of value. This is ironic because the DOJ only charged Stevens with failure to report on Senate disclosure forms the receipt of things of value by himself or relatives.

He also alleges that Kepner met with a government source at a private residence, and in a hotel room.

Joy further alleges that "Kepner lied", Kepner had inappropriate media contacts, and that she is a generally bad agent who fails to keep records, breaks rules, and discloses too much confidential information to people outside of the FBI.

Joy alleges that the DOJ/PIS sent a witness away from Washington, even though he was a defense witness, so that he would be unavailable to testify. He also states that the PIS withheld discoverable material from defense counsel.

However, the just released opinion and order pertains, not to the substance of Special Agent Joy's misconduct allegations, but rather to misconduct by the DOJ in attempting to suppress and redact Special Agent Joy's complaint.

In this order, the Judge Sullivan states that the DOJ attorneys who have been arguing before the Court lack credibility. The Court therefore ordered the Attorney General, or other senior DOJ officials, to submit declarations to the District Court explaining the misconduct of the DOJ.

The Court wrote that the complaint from Joy, received by the DOJ on December 2, 2008, "raised allegations of misconduct by certain government employees involved with the investigation and prosecution of the defendant".

The DOJ promptly moved Court to seal Joy's complaint. The DOJ represented to the Court that it was investigating "a request for whistleblower protection". Protecting whistleblower confidentiality is a grounds for sealing a complaint. However, the DOJ informed Joy by letter on December 4 that it would not "initiate an investigation pursuant to 28 C.F.R. §27.3 into whether you are entitled to relief as an aggrieved whistleblower".

Thus, the Court concluded (at page 2) that there exists the "appearance that several attorneys in this matter -- in multiple departments within the Department of Justice -- may have intentionally withheld important information from the Court".

The Court also found that explanations tendered by the DOJ regarding its whistleblower statements are "wholly incredible" (page 8) or "strains credulity" (page 9).

The Court also pointed out that there is more than misleading the court regarding whistleblower protection. It wrote that there has been "a pattern of belated revelations followed by unsatisfactory, and possibly false, explanations from the government in this case".

The Court concluded that "This case, and this most recent incident, involves numerous attorneys and offices throughout the Department of Justice. Those attorneys have not been able to provide a cohesive or credible answer to this Court's questions regarding the determination of whistleblower status. Therefore, the Court believes it appropriate and necessary to get an answer from with direct oversight over all of the various offices, individuals and divisions involved."

The Court ordered that the Attorney General himself, or a high ranking DOJ official or officials who "have oversight responsibility for the OIG, OPR, OPI and the FBI", must submit a declaration or declarations to the Court.

Michael Mukasey was until recently the Attorney General, but will likely be replaced soon by President Obama's nominee, Eric Holder. Mark Filip, another outgoing Republican, is a caretaker acting Attorney General, waiting for Holder's confirmation.

The Court did not elaborate, but there is only one office, other than the Attorney General, with all of this responsibility. It is the Deputy Attorney General (DAG).

David Ogden is Obama's pick for DAG. See, story titled "Obama Names David Ogden to be Deputy Attorney General" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,878, January 6, 2009.

The DAG oversees the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), and Criminal Division, of which the Public Integrity Section (PIS), or Office of Public Integrity (OPI), is a part. See, DOJ organizational chart.

All of these recent disclosures suggest that whether or not Sen. Stevens' conviction stands or is vacated or reversed, and whether or not the DOJ drops this case, DOJ employees involved in this matter have executed their offices with lower ethics than Sen. Stevens executed his office.

In other recent pleadings, Stevens' defense team seeks a new trial on numerous legal theories. And, the DOJ maintains that the conviction should stand.

Stevens' defense team also seeks very broad post trial discovery from the prosecution, included information regarding FBI agent Kepner's personal relationships. In almost all cases the breadth of this post-trial discovery would be unthinkable. But, not in this case.

Sen. Murkowski Requests Pardon. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), writing before the latest round of pleadings and orders in the District Court, sent a letter to President Bush on January 7, 2009, asking that he pardon former Stevens.

She wrote that "Senator Stevens' motion to be tried in his home state before a jury of his peers was denied. His trial in the US District Court for the District of Columbia was riddled with irregularities that were fully documented in the transcript of the proceedings and by the media. In the face of a strong reprimand from Judge Sullivan the prosecution team was required to report irregularities in the disclosure of potentially exculpatory evidence to the Office of Professional Responsibility of the US Department of Justice. It seems that every week since the District Court proceedings concluded the newspapers identify a new irregularity in the trial or the conduct of the prosecution."

President Bush did not grant a pardon to Stevens before he left office.

Disclosure. David Carney, author of this story, is an ex-Alaskan who voted for Sen. Stevens in the 1984 Senate election.

In This Issue

This issue contains the following items:
 • BIS Issues NOI on Encryption Items
 • Allegations of DOJ Misconduct Threaten Conviction of Sen. Stevens
 • FCC Resumes Its Statutory Obligation to Study Video Competition

FCC Resumes Its Statutory Obligation to Study Video Competition

1/16. Former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin resigned effective January 20, 2009. One of the FCC's final actions under his Chairmanship was the release of the statutorily mandated annual video competition report for 2006 [PDF], and the notice of inquiry (NOI) for its 2007 report.

The FCC engaged in the legal fiction of "adopting" this 2006 report on November 27, 2007. It would have been nearly a year late if it had been actually released at that time. It is now discloses dated and obsolete information.

Chairman Martin dealt with the cable industry with prejudice. This report contains data that is inconsistent with the cable regulation policies that Martin pursued.

The FCC has yet to release the video competition reports for 2007 or 2008.

The FCC also asserted on November 27, 2007, that it "adopted" a notice of inquiry (NOI) to commence the process of writing its 14th annual video competition report. It did not release that NOI at that time.

On January 16, 2009, the FCC belatedly released this NOI [41 pages in PDF]. It also set a deadline for initial comments of February 27, 2009, and a deadline for reply comments of March 27, 2009.

The NOI states that "we request data as of June 30, 2007". The FCC has yet to issue its NOI for its 2008 report.

The just released 2006 report is FCC 07-206 in MB Docket No. 06-189. The just release 2007 NOI is FCC 07-207 in MB Docket No. 07-269.

More FCC News

1/16. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its 13th annual report [190 pages in PDF] on the state of competition in the Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS) market. This report concludes that "consumers continue to reap significant benefits -- including low prices, new technologies, improved service quality, and choice among providers -- from competition in the CMRS marketplace, both terrestrial and satellite CMRS". (Footnote omitted.) This report is DA 09-54 in WT Docket No. 08-27.

1/16. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a report [71 pages in PDF] titled "Moving Forward: Driving Investment and Innovation While Protecting Consumers". It touts the accomplishments of the FCC under the leadership of former Chairman Kevin Martin. It states that the FCC "under Chairman Kevin Martin has tried to make decisions based on a fundamental belief that a robust, competitive marketplace, not regulation, is ultimately the greatest protector of the public interest".

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Wednesday, January 21

The House will meet at 12:00 NOON. It may resume consideration of HR 384 [LOC | WW], the "TARP Reform and Accountability Act". See, Rep. Hoyer's schedule for week of January 19, and schedule for January 21.

The Senate will meet at 12:00 NOON. It is scheduled to consider the nomination of Hilary Clinton to be Secretary of State.

10:00 AM. The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) will hold a hearing on the nomination of Timothy Geithner to be Secretary of the Treasury. See, notice. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.

12:30 - 2:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Diversity and Young Lawyers Committees will host a brown bag lunch titled "Work/Life Balance". For more information, RSVP to Jessica Gonzalez at jg433 at law dot georgetown dot edu or Elizabeth Goldin at EGoldin at wileyrein dot com. Location: Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave., NW.

1:30 PM. The House Commerce Committee will hold a business meeting to mark up HR __ [LOC | WW | PDF], the "Digital Television Transition Extension Act of 2009". Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

Thursday, January 22

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. See, Rep. Hoyer's schedule for week of January 19.

9:30 AM. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) will hold an executive business meeting. See, notice. It will then hold a hearing on the nomination of James Steinberg to be Deputy Secretary of State. See, notice. Location: Room 419, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee (HCC) will hold a business meeting to mark up sections of a spending bill that fall within the jurisdiction of the HCC. Title IV of HR 598 is also titled the "Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act". Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.

10:00 AM. The House Ways and Means Committee (HWMC) will meet to mark up HR 598. Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding creating a new replacement digital television translator service that will permit full service television stations to continue to provide service to viewers within their coverage area who have lost service as a result of those stations' digital transition. The FCC adopted this item on December 22, 2008, and released the text [14 pages in PDF] on December 23, 2009. It is FCC 08-278 in MB Docket No. 08-253. See, notice in the Federal Register, January 2, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 1, at Pages 61-67.

Friday, January 23

Rep. Hoyer's schedule for week of January 19 states that no votes are expected in the House.

12:30 PM. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will give a speech. Location: Ballroom, National Press Club, 13th floor, 529 14th St., NW.

Deadline to submit to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oppositions to the petition for reconsideration [PDF] filed on December 1, 2008 by Cohen Dippell & Everist regarding the FCC's Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [PDF] in its proceeding titled "In the Matter of An Inquiry Into the Commission's Policies and Rules Regarding AM Radio Service Directional Antenna Performance Verification". The FCC adopted this item on September 24, 2008, and released the text on September 26, 2008. It is FCC 08-228 in MM Docket No. 93-177. See, notice in the Federal Register, January 8, 2009, Vol. 74, No. 5, at Page 810.

Monday, January 26

10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The New America Foundation (NAF) will host an event to present communications policy recommendations. The speakers will include Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, Sascha Meinrath (NAF), Gene Kimmelman (Consumers Union), Marvin Ammori (Univ. of Nebraska), Richard Taylor (Penn. State Univ.), Sharon Strover (Univ. of Texas), Heather Hudson (Univ. of San Francisco), Jon Peha (FCC), Rob Frieden (Penn. State Univ.), Ellen Goodman (Rutgers law school), Kathryn Montgomery (American Univ.), and Amit Schejter (Penn. State Univ.). This event is titled "And Communications for All". See, notice. Location: NAF, 7th floor, 1630 Connecticut Ave., NW.

6:00 - 8:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host an event titled "The Copyright Act and Statutory Licensing: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow". The price to attend is $135. See, notice and registration page. Location: Dow Lohnes, 1200 New Hampshire Ave., NW.

Tuesday, January 27

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing titled "Health IT: Protecting Americans' Privacy in the Digital Age". See, notice. The SJC will webcast this event. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 - 11:30 AM. The American Enterprise Institute will host a discussion of the book [Amazon] titled "Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law". The speakers will be Philip Howard (Covington & Burling), Jeffrey Rosen (George Washington University law school), Dick Thornburgh (K&L Gates), Judge Stephen Williams (U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir)), and Chris DeMuth (AEI). See, notice. Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

Wednesday, January 28

12:00 NOON -1:30 PM. The DC Bar Association will host an event titled "Jacobsen v. Katzer and Open Source: Little Trains, Big Consequences". The speakers will be Elaine Laflamme (Akin Gump), Barbara Berschler, and Victoria Hall. The price to attend ranges from $15 to $35. See, notice. Location: DC Bar Conference Center, level B-1, 1250 H St., NW.

12:15 - 2:00 PM. The DC Bar Association will host an event titled "The Divergent Antitrust Enforcement Policies of the USDOJ, FTC, and State Enforcers". The speakers will include Meredyth Andrus (Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission), Don Resnikoff (Finkelstein Thompson), Milton Marquis (Dickstein Shapiro), and Stephen Houck (Menaker & Herrmann). The price to attend ranges from $10 to $35. See, notice. Location: Mayer Brown, 1909 K St., NW.

12:30 - 2:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Diversity and Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "Work/Life Balance". RSVP to Jessica Gonzalez at jg433 at law dot georgetown dot edu or Elizabeth Goldin at EGoldin at wileyrein dot com. Location: Georgetown University Law Center, McDonough Building, Room 164, 600 New Jersey Ave., NW.

3:00 - 4:00 PM. The New America Foundation (NAF) will host a panel discussion titled "Broadband Transparency: Network Research, Empowered Users, and Sound Policy". The speakers will be Vint Cerf (Google), Sascha Meinrath (NAF), Larry Peterson (Princeton Univ.) and Ed Felton (Princeton Univ.). See, notice. Location: NAF, 7th floor, 1630 Connecticut Ave., NW.

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