Press Releases

Himes Statement on Executive Order Limiting U.S. Government Use of Spyware

Washington, DC — Today, the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Jim Himes (CT-04), issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s Executive Order prohibiting U.S. Government use of commercial spyware that poses risks to national security or has been misused by a foreign government or foreign persons to enable human rights abuses.

“For some time, the Intelligence Committee has been tracking disturbing instances of powerful commercial spyware technologies used around the world to target U.S. government employees, human rights advocates, journalists, and more.” said Ranking Member Himes. “Left unchecked, the indiscriminate proliferation of these invasive technologies threatens our national security and the privacy and security of Americans.

“Today, I am encouraged to see President Biden take this critical step towards limiting the federal use of commercial spyware – one that builds on the provisions enacted by the Intelligence Committee last year as part of the Intelligence Authorization Act. This is an issue of protecting democracy and human rights, and the President’s Executive Order makes it abundantly clear: companies will be held accountable for violating those values.

“There is still more to be done, and I urge the Administration to use all tools at their disposal to deter the misuse of this technology—including strong consideration of sanctioning rogue spyware companies, where authorities exist. I hope that the United States’ firm leadership on this issue will inspire fellow democracies across the globe to take similar measures to protect their citizens’ safety, privacy, and civil liberties.”

On March 12, 2023, Congressman Himes led a bipartisan, bicameral group of 15 lawmakers in a letter to Secretary Blinken, asking for “an international coalition to control the proliferation of [commercial spyware] and its misuse to abuse human rights and undermine democratic values.” You can view the full letter here.