Letter from House Republican leaders to Clinton.
Re: encryption export policy.

Date: November 8, 1999.
Source: Office of Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

November 8, 1999

The Honorable William J. Clinton
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

On September 16, the Administration announced a new encryption  policy, with the goal of modernizing the current export controls on U.S. encryption products. As we stated at that time, we are pleased that the Administration is following the lead of Congress in seeking to implement a balanced and reasonable encryption policy.

As you know, encryption is essential to fighting crime and  protecting our national security in the Information Age. For years, U.S. industry has been severely disadvantaged by overly restrictive export controls on encryption products, allowing foreign competitors to gain a significant foothold in this growing market. Since a marketplace dominated by foreign encryption products undermines the national and economic security of the United States, the Administration's proposed encryption policy changes are long overdue.

When the new proposal was announced, the Administration stated that regulations implementing the new encryption policy would be issued by  December 15. As the September 16 announcement was long on potential but short on detail, we are watching closely to make sure that the regulations issued appropriately implement the new policy.

To that end, we are concerned about recent reports that the Administration may be considering regulations that are inconsistent with the new stated policy. If the regulations in December fail to meet the rhetoric from September, the confidence of U.S. industry, American computer users, or Congress in the Administration's ability to establish a balanced and reasonable encryption policy would be severely shaken. We sincerely hope that this does not prove to be the case.

Mr. President, Congress remains committed to enacting an encryption policy that prevents economic crime, promotes electronic commerce, protects personal privacy, and preserves our national and economic security. We look forward to seeing the upcoming encryption regulations, and hope that they will embrace these principles.



Richard K. Armey
Tom DeLay

J.C. Watts


Tom Davis


Christopher Cox


Bob Goodlatte