TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Economic harm from NSA surveillance probed

AP
Senate Energy Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wants a nationwide standard on hydraulic fracturing that doesn't infringe on states' options.

Daily Photo Galleries

By Bloomberg News
Monday, July 14, 2014, 8:18 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden is investigating the economic harm he said is being caused by the National Security Agency's surveillance methods.

Wyden, a persistent critic of the NSA, is using his perch as the panel's chairman to broaden his attack on the agency's practices, he said on Monday.

“Nobody has looked at it from an economic standpoint, purely economics, dollars and cents,” said Wyden, an Oregon Democrat. “If a foreign enemy had inflicted the damage on the American economy — these cutting-edge, innovative companies — that the overreaching by the NSA surveillance brigade had done, people would be up in arms all over the United States.”

Companies including Yahoo and Microsoft have been waging a public relations battle for more than a year in response to revelations of NSA spying exposed by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

Technology companies may lose as much as $35 billion in the next three years from foreign customers choosing not to buy their products because of concerns they cooperate with spy programs, according to Daniel Castro. He's a senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit group.

The German government has announced it was ending a contract with Verizon Communications Inc. because of NSA spying.

Wyden said his staff has been examining the issue, and he'll make judgments about what to do later.

“If these NSA surveillance practices are not making us any more secure but are threatening our liberty, and now the Finance Committee has documented how it's damaging our ability to grow economically, that too, I think, will be something of a wake-up call in this debate.”

Wyden renewed his intention to seek retroactive tax legislation to stop companies from moving their legal addresses to other countries.

Since Jan. 1, 2012, 12 U.S. companies have completed so-called inversions, and seven are pending, including Medtronic Inc.'s planned purchase of Dublin-based Covidien.

AbbVie is moving closer to buying Shire and moving the legal address to Ireland. Mylan is buying the generic drug business of Abbott Laboratories and forming a new company incorporated in the Netherlands.

Wyden has proposed legislation that would in effect prevent companies from gaining foreign addresses by buying smaller competitors. His proposal would be retroactive to May 8, and he said companies are aware that he's committed to that.

His preference is to make that change as part of a broader revamp of the tax code in the next 15 months. He also said a heightened pace of inversions may prompt Congress to act more quickly on a standalone measure.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Medicare payments to tie doctor, hospital payments to quality rather than volume of care
  2. New York City hunkers down as Nor’easter threatens blizzard conditions
  3. Northeast waits for foot (or 2) of snow to drop
  4. VA plans major structure changes; Pittsburgh’s fate as regional HQ remains unclear
  5. Dems stall Keystone XL legislation
  6. National debt due to sharply escalate
  7. Operator of drone that crashed on White House grounds identifies self to Secret Service
  8. American drone hit kills al-Qaida terror suspects in Yemen
  9. Ex-CIA officer convicted of leaking info about covert Iran mission
  10. 3 Russians charged with spying spoke in code, passed concealed message, sought recruits, federal prosecutor alleges
  11. Wind knocks out power in Los Angeles