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Congressman Ted Lieu

Representing the 33rd District of California


February 25, 2016
Press Release


WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County)  issued the following statement regarding Apple’s Motion to Vacate.  This is the latest development in Apple’s standoff with the Department of Justice.

“Apple’s legal brief makes persuasive arguments for why the Government should withdraw its Motion compelling the company to create new software to weaken its smartphone encryption system.  As a Member of Congress, I can confirm that last year the FBI tried and failed to get Congress to enact proposals that would provide a ‘back door’ way to access data on smartphones.  As a Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and its Information Technology Subcommittee, we held hearings on this exact issue.  During the hearing, the government witnesses admitted that it was impossible to create a back door just for the FBI without risking that back door from being exploited by hackers and foreign adversaries.”

“It is wrong for the FBI and Department of Justice to now use the court system and a disingenuous interpretation of a law passed in 1789 to circumvent Congress, stakeholders and the American people.  Having served on active duty in the military and as a current reserve officer, I strongly believe that when it comes to terrorists we need to hunt them down and kill them.  Strong encryption, however, is also a critical national security priority.  The massive hack of security clearance records at the Office of Personnel Management, for example, has put American lives at risk.”

“Addressing the delicate balance of the national security interests of strong encryption, safety, privacy and civil liberties should be done by the American people in the people’s house, Congress, not through an unelected judge’s interpretation of an 18th century law.  I urge the FBI Director to follow the advice of his own open letter, which calls on us to take a deep breath and talk to each other.”