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National Security Leaders Oppose Obama's Oct. 1 Internet Handover

Military and cybersecurity experts send letter to top Pentagon officials urging intervention in irreversible transition

September 27, 2016

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a broad coalition of 77 national security, cybersecurity, and industry leaders sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford calling on the top military officials to intervene in opposition to President Obama’s radical proposal to relinquish American guardianship of the Internet and give it to foreign corporations and countries, including Russia, China, and Iran. This letter follows a joint statement issued by 10 Republican senators urging Democratic senators to oppose the Obama administration’s proposed Internet handover set to take place on October 1.

“As individuals with extensive, first-hand experience with protecting our national security, we write to urge you to intervene in opposition to an imminent action that would, in our judgment, cause profound and irreversible damage to the United States’ vital interests,” the letter reads. “…Indeed, there is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time. In light of the looming deadline, we feel compelled to urge you to impress upon President Obama that the contract between NTIA and ICANN cannot be safely terminated at this point.” 

The distinguished group of signers includes former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney, Jr., former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin (Ret.), former Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, former Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency Vice Adm. Robert Monroe (Ret.), and former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew McCarthy, among others. 

Congress must act by September 30 in order to stop this Internet handover, which poses the risk of increased censorship and loss of free speech online, possible legal repercussions, and national security vulnerabilities. 

Read the defense experts’ letter in its entirety here.

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