Langevin Statement on Obama Administration's Decision to Renegotiate Wassenaar Intrusion Software Controls

Feb 29, 2016 Issues: Cybersecurity

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, issued the following statement about the Obama Administration’s decision to renegotiate portions of the Wassenaar Arrangement with respect to controls on intrusion software:

“Today’s announcement represents a major victory for cybersecurity here and around the world. While well-intentioned, the Wassenaar Arrangement’s ‘intrusion software’ control was imprecisely drafted, and it has become evident that there is simply no way to interpret the plain language of the text in a way that does not sweep up a multitude of important security products. By adding the removal of the technology control to the agenda at Wassenaar, the Administration is staking out a clear position that the underlying text must be changed. Furthermore, the Administration leaves open the possibility for further alterations to the control pending additional interagency review.

“The decision to renegotiate was the result of a long process that saw industry, Congress, and the Administration working together to understand the precise implications of the proposed rule implementing the control. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Kevin Wolf and his team at the Bureau of Industry and Security have been open and transparent throughout, and I deeply appreciate their willingness to listen to stakeholders. I applaud the National Security Council’s work on this issue, as well; their efforts to marshal the interagency – which came about in response to the letter I sent with 124 of my colleagues last December – have clearly helped to solidify the Administration’s position.

“Of course, the addition of items to the agenda does not, in itself, ensure a successful resolution. I look forward to working with our Wassenaar partners to advance the dialog, and to supporting the State Department’s team as negotiations progress. International cybersecurity policy is a new domain, and it is vital that we work together in order to protect our networks from the many threats they face.”