Friday, January 15, 2016

Will there be a zombie Wassenaar Rule?

We know from the House Hearing this week on Wassenaar that the rule is dead in the United States. But will its zombie haunt us from Europe? That's the question. Because American companies also need their European offices to not be hamstrung, which is why State needs to go back and renegotiate this whole bad dream away.

If you haven't seen the hearing, it is here:

To give you some background: The State Department is playing massive amounts of defense. For example, they tried to pull Ann Ganzer out from the hearing the day before, and substitute her with Vann Van Diepen, who in theory outranks her, but would allow State to say they don't know the details on how this debacle came about, and otherwise obfuscate the issue.

Congressional Staffers immediately saw through that ruse and subpoenaed her. But even trying it makes State look bad.

Mr Van Diepen loves regulations. That's understating it a bit. His background is in Bio/Chem/Nuclear and he LOVES regulations like they are his grandchildren and thinks they can work everywhere, on everything. Nobody else in the room shared his opinions. It's also telling that while State ran their terrible ideas through their own technical advisory panel, they didn't stop to think that maybe calling a couple companies who would be affected would be a good idea. For some reason it's up to every company to be on every government board and advisory committee to keep them from making mistakes like this.

The fact is: I'm a highly public person in the community who runs one of the three companies most directly affected by this regulation, which State knows because THEY ARE A CUSTOMER. It is gross negligence for Ann Ganzer not to have reached out to me before the original language was finalized - and she has yet to do so even now. She claimed during the hearing that knowing what she knew then, she would have made the same choices, but if she knew then what she knew now, she would not. In other words: she didn't bother to learn enough about what she was regulating to make a wise choice.

So sensing this level of commitment to making a rule that works for industry and is rooted in reality, the House committee told her in no uncertain terms where she would be getting her next step from: Industry.

Her last argument is the same one we've covered before on this blog: "None of the other countries who have put this rule into place are having issues!" But of course, they also don't enforce their rules the way we do and we covered why this argument doesn't fly for many reasons in our previous blogpost here.

"I....have no excuses for what I did. It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"I'm not sure if you're going to be in that chair next year. To be blunt."

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