Rob Margetta

Court Battle May Follow Open Internet Rule-Making

While lawmakers have proved to be more than willing to weigh in on the Federal Communications Commission’s open Internet rule-making, and some have threatened legislation, the legislative branch likely isn’t the area of government that worries the FCC most.

FCC, Congress Gear Up for Net Neutrality Next Steps

After months of speculation about how the Federal Communications Commission would act on its new open Internet rule, the agency is beginning to show its cards, and lawmakers watching the net neutrality issue are starting to put plans of their own into play in reaction.

CIA Director: 'Unknowable' if Torture Program Led to Useful Intelligence

CIA Director John O. Brennan maintained his objections about a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the agency's post-9/11 interrogation program during a rare news conference Thursday, saying the use of enhanced techniques produced useful intelligence while adding it is impossible to know if that was because of those techniques.

Commercial Space Industry Regroups After Accidents

Two accidents in the commercial space industry this year — an unmanned rocket that exploded shortly after launch in the fall and an experimental suborbital craft that broke apart during flight shortly after — are almost sure to come up the next time a congressional committee discusses the private spacecraft market. But, experts say the incidents won’t have much of an effect on the sector’s increasing expansion.

CIA Report Leaves Open Questions About White House Knowledge

The blockbuster report on CIA interrogation practices after 9/11 from the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed reports and answered scores of lingering questions about the Bush-era policies. But the report doesn’t provide a definitive accounting of exactly what detail White House staff knew about the program, and when they knew it.

Clinton Library Papers Show Kagan Dropping an F-Bomb

Papers from the Clinton White House released Friday detail much of the behind-the-scenes legal work of the White House as President Bill Clinton dealt with multiple scandals and controversies in his second term.

Leahy to Introduce Bill Scaling Back Government Surveillance

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy on Tuesday introduced a new surveillance overhaul bill that has the backing of civil liberties groups, but leaves an open question about what a House and Senate compromise on intelligence might look like.

Legislation to Allow Third Party Decryption of Cable Signals Met With Hostility by Some in Congress

Lawmakers from both parties regard with something close to hostility a congressionally mandated ban affecting the contents of the cable boxes that sit atop millions of Americans’ television sets. Texas Democratic Rep. Gene Green said the ban has “cost consumers and business over a billion dollars since 2007 in impeding innovation and efficiency,” and he has already tried to kill it with stand-alone legislation.

CableCARD Integration Bill Would Have a Chilling Effect on Third-Party Devices, Interest Groups Say

Most of the language in a complex satellite and cable broadcast bill working its way through Congress deals with issues the average pay-TV viewer won’t see up close, ranging from retransmission negotiations to media ownership. But one section of the measure would affect a piece of hardware that sits in the TV tuner of every viewer’s cable box — and the makers of third-party units like TiVo say the bill is about to make those consumers’ lives much harder.

Data Breach Response May Be Limited to Notification

In the aftermath of major hacking attacks at retail giants Target and Neiman Marcus, lawmakers have been searching for a way to move forward on data security legislation and seem to have arrived on one area of limited bipartisan consensus — creating a federal standard requiring companies to disclose data breaches.

Security Secrets Create Hurdles for Lawmakers

While lawmakers this week were looking to get to the bottom of the recent data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus and possibly craft legislation to respond to those attacks, they were faced with a stark reality from the investigations: They and the public won’t be getting solid answers anytime soon.

Representatives from both companies appeared before congressional committees, as did William Noonan, deputy special agent in charge at the Secret Service, which is investigating the breaches under its jurisdiction over financial crimes.

Retailers Push Back on Proposed Banking Legislation Following Massive Data Security Breaches

Retailers including Target and Neiman Marcus made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, testifying at three days’ worth of hearings with the dual mission of apologizing for recent large-scale data breaches and discouraging any new regulatory legislation.

But while Republicans would likely try to block any new laws, the retail industry may have lost another key ally: some representatives from the financial sector who now say they would have no problem with new regulatory proposals.

Congress Considers the Balancing Act Between Security and Privacy

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the agency’s surveillance programs have left Congress stuck between two hugely influential groups: a technology industry that’s long been unhappy about forced cooperation with intelligence operations and an intelligence community that says the work is vital to national security.

For years, technology companies and communications providers have waged a quiet legal campaign for more permission to publish information about the requests for data they receive from the NSA and the FBI. Gag orders often kept them from publicly discussing details of the cases.

Telecoms Will Publish Online Privacy Reports

Thanks to federal restrictions, technology companies and communications providers largely have their hands tied when it comes to providing the public with information about how much customer data they turn over to intelligence agencies.

But over the past year, they’ve been finding ways to push back on those gag orders.

Napolitano Departure in Fall Likely to Add Wrinkle to Immigration Overhaul Efforts

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s decision to leave the Cabinet this fall means President Barack Obama will have to find a replacement just as deliberations over an immigration overhaul may reach their peak.

Many Republicans have faulted Napolitano and Obama for moving administratively to remove the threat of deportation from over the heads of many young immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents rather than wait for Congress to pass legislation.

Clash Over NSA Spy Programs on Capitol Hill

Top law enforcement and intelligence officials fiercely defended the Obama administration’s sweeping surveillance programs on Capitol Hill Thursday, emphasizing their legality, their record of success in thwarting terrorist attacks and the many opportunities lawmakers have had over the years to alter the programs that some are now criticizing as too intrusive.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, stood up to both Republican and Democratic critics in separate hearings about the programs, whose broad monitoring of telephone calls and Internet use around the world was exposed last week by a former NSA contract employee, setting off a national debate about the delicate balance between security and privacy in the post-9/11 United States. Meanwhile, intelligence officials briefed senators on the programs.

Smaller Crowds May Ease Security Problems

Organizers of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration say they’ve made changes in security and logistics that should prevent some of the problems seen in 2008, but the size of the crowd, expected to be vastly smaller than four years ago, could be the biggest factor that determines how smoothly things run.

The president’s first inauguration saw an estimated 1.8 million people descend on the city, but this year’s projections are much lower — 800,000 at the top end. While that’s a relief to some organizers and security overseers, it’s not good news for everyone.

Rogers Insists Cybersecurity Bill Not Dead Yet

Lawmakers concluded weeks ago that the possibility of passing a cybersecurity bill this session is gone, finished, dead and buried. Except it might not be, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Friday.

The Michigan Republican said that fiscal cliff negotiations will have Congress working late this year, and that lawmakers could fit in cybersecurity negotiations during that extra time.

David Petraeus Resigns From CIA Amid Affair

Updated, 6:25 p.m.

CIA Director David Petraeus resigned Friday, citing an extramarital affair, ending a tenure at the agency that lasted just more than a year.