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Public Statements

Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Unknown

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

First of all, I want to thank Judiciary Committee Chairman-elect Bob Goodlatte, Ranking Member John Conyers, and IP Subcommittee Ranking Member Mel Watt for their work on this bill.

Mr. Speaker, the Foreign and Economic Espionage Penalty Enhancement Act of 2012 deters and pushes criminals who target U.S. economic and security interests on behalf of foreign interests.

In a dynamic and globally connected information economy, the protection of intangible assets is vital, not only to the success of individual enterprises, but also to the future of entire industries.

In recent years, cybercriminals have shifted from the theft of personal information such as credit cards and Social Security numbers to the theft of corporate intellectual capital.

Our intelligence community has warned us that foreign interests place a high priority on acquiring sensitive U.S. economic information and technologies. In the U.S., the Economic Espionage Act serves as a primary tool the Federal Government uses to protect secret, valuable commercial information from theft.

Our intelligence community declares that there is a ``significant and growing threat to our Nation's prosperity and security'' posed by criminals both inside and outside our borders who commit espionage. Congress should also recognize and confront this increasing threat by adjusting our penalties so that we can enhance deterrents and provide appropriate punishments for those criminals who knowingly target our companies for espionage.

I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 6029 as it was amended by the Senate. The original bill was developed in a bipartisan manner and was unanimously reported by both the Judiciary Committee and this House. This is a commonsense and much-needed measure that deserves our full support.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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