The Cable

Ros-Lehtinen has an export reform bill too

Yesterday, The Cable brought you the announcement that House Foreign Affairs ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA) was unveiling his new comprehensive legislation to reform the way the U.S. regulates the export of sensitive and dual-use technologies abroad.

Today, we bring you the draft version (PDF) of the competing legislation being circulated by committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The draft was obtained by The Cable but has not been finalized or released. A note from committee staff stated that Ros-Lehtinen plans to introduce this bill as early as next week.

"This bill to revise and amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA), will have a significant positive effect on the protection of U.S. national security," reads a fact sheet (PDF) that Ros-Lehtinen's staff sent around with the draft legislation. "The EAA has been in lapse since 2001. The bill represents a significant step by the Congress to assist the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), U.S. Department of Commerce, in achieving its mission of advancing U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control system and promoting continued U.S. strategic technology leadership."

Read about some of the key provisions after the jump:

  • Reauthorizes the EAA:  the bill extends the Act through 2015, and provides the Department of Commerce with enhanced enforcement tools in the fight against terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction for three years. 
  • Increases penalties: the criminal penalty amounts have been increased to $1,000,000 per violation and/or imprisonment for not more than 20 years, for each violation by an individual, and $5,000,000 or up to 10 times the value of the exports involved, whichever is greater, per corporate violation. The civil penalty amounts have been increased to $250,000 for each violation. The increased penalty amounts are commensurate with those under IEEPA.[1]
  • Strengthens Foreign Policy Controls on State Sponsors of Terrorism: by adding requirements to section 6(j)(4)(B) relating to nonproliferation and requiring that the government of a country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism must not have sponsored acts of international terrorism for thirty-six months prior to its removal from that list.
  • Helps small business and allied interoperability by allowing generic parts and components currently regulated by the Department of State on the United States Munitions List (USML) to be regulated differently than more sensitive defense items while still safeguarding U.S. national security.
  • Enhances Congressional oversight over the regulation and enforcement of controls on dual-use exports by requiring the Department of Commerce to provide appropriate information to the Congress and by strengthening current audit and reporting requirements.
  • Protects against excessive regulation through expanded Congressional oversight provisions and General Accountability Office

The Cable

Briefing Skipper: Mladic, ASEAN, Yemen, Libya, Rafah

In which we scour the transcript of the State Department's daily presser so you don't have to. These are the highlights of Thursday's briefing by spokesman Mark Toner:

  • Toner opened the press briefing by celebrating the arrest of Ratko Mladic by Serbian security services and commending Serbian President Boris Tadic. "This is a great day for justice in the international system," Toner said. "Mladic's arrest serves as a statement to those around the world who would break the law and target innocent civilians. International justice works; if you commit crime, you won't escape judgment and you will not go free." For more on this theory, click here.
  • Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell hosted senior officials from the 10 ASEAN member countries and the ASEAN Secretariat for the 24th ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue and the Lower Mekong Initiative Thursday. The event was held at the United States Institute of Peace, which was also in the news today because the House of Representatives voted to eliminate it (seriously). Yesterday the ASEAN officials met with undersecretary of defense Michele Flournoy and Treasury undersecretary Lael Brainard, who just happens to be Campbell's wife.
  • The State Department has directed all non-essential personnel in the Yemen embassy to get the heck out of there, as the capital of Sanaa descends into chaos and violence. "So our message to American citizens in Yemen is to seek a way out via the airport. There are flights available. And for those planning to travel to Yemen, we'd ask them to defer travel," said Toner. Toner was asked if he thinks American citizen turned terrorist and assassination target Anwar al-Awlaki will take the State Department's advice to leave Yemen. "Yeah. We have a special flight for him," Toner replied. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein has been in constant contact with President Ali Abdullah Saleh and was with him when the government forces temporarily imprisoned several ambassadors at the UAE embassy on Sunday.
  • Toner acknowledged that the Pakistani government has asked the U.S. to scale down its military presence at the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, which peaked at about 300 people after a long buildup over the last couple of years. "We've been recently notified that the Pakistani Government would like to reduce that footprint, and our understanding is that that footprint has been reduced to about 200." The reductions could be continue, Toner said, because "they're there at the invitation of the Pakistani Government and are certainly - we will do our best to accommodate their wishes."
  • State is aware that the Libyan government sent around some letters asking for a ceasefire, but the U.S. didn't get one and anyway, it doesn't change anything, Toner said. "The bottom line... is that our core principles haven't changed. Qaddafi needs to step down from power. He's lost legitimacy as a leader, and he needs to step aside so that a peaceful democratic transition can take place."
  • Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman was in Libya earlier this week, where he asked the Transitional National Council to open an office in Washington (even though they already have one). Feltman is now in Egypt, where he met with Deputy Foreign Minister Wafaa Bassim, Major General Mohammad Al Assar, Major General Murad Muwafi, Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa, and some political activists. Toner said there was no real objection to the news Egypt would open the Rafah border crossing with Israel permanently. "I would imagine that they're well aware of our concerns," Toner said. "We also believe that the Egyptians are fully aware of and capable of providing that kind of security."