Progressives Demand House GOP Committee Chairs Investigate Hunton & Williams

When I first posted on Hank Johnson’s letter demanding an investigation into Hunton & Williams’ appropriation of counterterrorist techniques to attack citizen speech, I was a bit skeptical. Without a way to get some coverage of the demand, such a letter risks being yet one more angry letter into the void.

But I will say the letter is well-constructed.

That’s because it’s addressed to the Chairmen of the Oversight, Judiciary, Intelligence, and Armed Services Committees: Darrell Issa, Lamar Smith, Mike Rogers, and Buck McKeon. So in addition to someone, like Smith, who can address the legal issues involved–notably, why DOJ was recommending H&W to Bank of America–Johnson and others have included Rogers and McKeon, who presumably know a good deal about how DOD has funded campaigns like the one H&W was going to launch against citizens.

Which brings us to the DOD tie-in:

The techniques may have been developed at U.S. government expense to target terrorists and other security threats. The emails indicated that these defense contractors planned to mine social network sites for information on Chamber critics; planned to plant “false documents” and “fake insider personas” that would be used to discredit the groups; and discussed the use of malicious and intrusive software (“malware”) to steal private information from the groups and disrupt their internal electronic communications.

[snip]

It is deeply troubling to think that tactics developed for use against terrorists may have been unleashed against American citizens.

[snip]

Possible proof the defense and security contractors may have traded on their government work is inferred by a November 3, 2010, sales proposal from Team Themis to Hunton & Williams: “Who better to develop a corporate information reconnaissance capability than companies that have been market leaders within the [Defense Department] and Intelligence Community?

The focus, in other words, is not just on how such a campaign violates the law, but also how it represents the application of DOD-developed programs to private citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.

Sure, the GOP Chairs will ignore this.

But it’ll make them complicit in protecting the Chamber’s and H&W’s misappropriation of DOD technology.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @daveweigel Yes and its awful.
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emptywheel So apparently the Producer on this reality show kicked out the girl to make room for the blowhard to come back.
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bmaz @maxicat12 @jayrosen_nyu Never on Facebook, can't stand it. And not crazy about most changes to Twitter, but its still quite usable for now
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emptywheel @Atrios And you figured that out bc of your analytical genius? Or spent just enough time in London and Spain?
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emptywheel @Atrios I know. But what cured your neoliberalism? Getting out of grad school, or getting out of Econ altogether?
35mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel And because Rick Snyder handpicked EM made a fuckup that has cost MI ~$40M + $30M more, he blames Barack Obama. https://t.co/GecPIQhxmN
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bmaz @maxicat12 @jayrosen_nyu I assume it would be a preference, similar to location on or off. But who knows?
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emptywheel According to Snyder he has had to spend $67.35M (tho $30M hasn't been approved) to make up for his fuckup in Flint. https://t.co/ZjpFLQrMn3
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emptywheel @Atrios What cured you?
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emptywheel This is hearing where Clapper usu tells a lie (where he said USG doesn't wittingly collect on millions of USPs) https://t.co/UWCQYlDb0H
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emptywheel @RossleRed Pretty sure I was told by admin people at UM those two buildings were built to deter protestors, assume 3rd is the same.
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