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Justice Department Creates Cyber-Digital Task Force

On February 20, the Department of Justice announced that Attorney General Sessions had created a new, cross-departmental Cyber-Digital Task Force. He directed the Task Force to advise him on the most effective ways for DOJ to confront cyber threats and keep Americans safe. Specifically, the Task Force is charged with canvassing the work the Department is already doing on cyber, and making recommendations on “how federal law enforcement can more effectively accomplish its [cyber] mission.” He asked for a report from the Task Force by June 30.

The Task Force immediately generated criticism from some quarters, with observers viewing it as nothing more than additional bureaucracy where it was not needed. Other observers maintained more of an open mind, noting that the Task Force appears to have a good combination of policymakers, front line law enforcement and prosecutors, and that getting them together could lead to better coordination on cyber in the Department, as well as more effective law enforcement and prosecution of cyber crimes. These results would certainly benefit the country, and anyone who interacts with DOJ on cyber issues.

Putting It Into Practice: One note of caution – even if the Task Force proves useful to DOJ, recall that the Department is only one of several governmental entities with jurisdiction over aspects of cybersecurity. The White House, DHS, the FTC, the SEC and others also play roles, so in that sense DOJ’s activities will be limited. But, if DOJ’s Task Force can help make law enforcement more unified, better coordinated, and more consistent in its dealings with the private sector, it will have been worth the effort.

Copyright © 2020, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

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About this Author

Jonathan E. Meyer, Sheppard Mullin, International Trade Lawyer, Encryption Technology Attorney
Partner

Jon Meyer is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

Mr. Meyer was most recently Deputy General Counsel at the United States Department of Homeland Security, where he advised the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, General Counsel, Chief of Staff and other senior leaders on law and policy issues, such as cyber security, airline security, high technology, drones, immigration reform, encryption, and intelligence law. He also oversaw all litigation at DHS,...

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Townsend Bourne, Government Affairs Attorney, Sheppard Mullin Law FIrm
Associate

Ms. Bourne's practice focuses on Government Contracts law and litigation. Her experience includes complex litigation in connection with the False Claims Act, bid protest actions both challenging and defending agency decisions on contract awards before the Government Accountability Office and Court of Federal Claims, claims litigation before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals and the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, investigating and preparing contractor claims, and conducting internal investigations. 

Ms. Bourne advises clients on a wide variety of matters relating to government contracts, including contract administration, procurement integrity, the FAR Mandatory Disclosure Rule, and GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program.  In addition to her practice, Ms. Bourne writes frequently on legal and regulatory developments affecting the Government Contracts industry.

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