CCIA joined today with several other trade associations in sending a letter urging Congressional leadership to support additional funding for processes related to the United States’ many bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties.
It requests that Congress provide additional resources for the DOJ offices that process foreign law enforcement requests for evidence and electronic records, which have significantly increased in recent years. The current backlog has caused many foreign governments to request data directly from U.S. companies, which is often at odds with U.S. law. A better functioning MLAT system can reduce these instances of conflict faced by companies.
In July, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell testified that this problem “has harmed our relationships with foreign law enforcement agencies” and stressed that the Department of
Justice is seeking $24.1 million in dedicated FY 2015 funding to streamline the U.S. processing of MLAT requests. With additional prosecutors, support personnel, and technology, the Department of Justice estimates it would narrow MLAT response times to a matter of weeks by the end of 2015, thereby strengthening international relationships on cyber investigations. We strongly support this request and believe that it is critical to rebuilding trust in the effectiveness of the U.S. MLAT process, while maintaining the rule of law around the world.