The American Legion,
Washington, DC, February 25, 1998.
Hon. Gerald B. Solomon,
U.S. House of Representatives, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC.
Dear Representative Solomon: Thank you for advising me of your concerns with pending encryption legislation. After reviewing the legislation and reading testimony by respected authorities in law enforcement and national security matters, The American Legion concurs that there are some provisions in the original H.R. 695 that can and will be detrimental to our national security and law enforcement efforts.
It is our contention that the Department of Commerce should not be making decisions that impact so strongly on our country's national security. That responsibility should be left to other agencies of the federal government who have more expertise in electronic intelligence technology. The language in the amended version of H.R. 695 (Section 3) that was developed by the House Committees on National Security and Intelligence appears to provide a degree of limitation and control in this sensitive area and is a measure we can support.
The American Legion will be conducting its annual Legislative Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill, March 22-24. I will ask our Legislative staff to invite representatives of the Justice Department to speak on this matter. We shall also voice our concerns to Members of Congress when we make our annual visitation on March 24.
Thank you for alerting us of this situation. We will continue to monitor this matter and will also advise our membership of the pending legislation and its shortcomings.
Anthony G. Jordan,