tv Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Corporations and Cyber Security CSPAN May 7, 2018 11:37am-12:00pm EDT
efficient and get better data and understand we can become more accountable to our own constituents. easternht at 8:00 p.m. on c-span2. next, deputy attorney general about --stein talks this is about 25 minutes. >> thank you. we are extremely honored tonight to have the deputy attorney general for america, mr. rod rosenstein here tonight. it is my distinct pleasure and honor to offer this introduction. i had the pleasure of meeting
attorney general rosenstein last week for a few minutes. it was a pleasure. it was more of a pleasure to have dinner tonight. so thank you. rod rosenstein was sworn in as the 37th deputy attorney general of the united states on april 26, 2017 by attorney general jeff sessions. mr. rosenstein graduated from the wharton school, university of pennsylvania with a bs in economics in 1986. he earned his jd cum laude in 1989 from harvard law school where he was an editor of the harvard law review. upon graduation, he served as a law clerk to judge douglas ginsburg of the court of appeals for the district of columbia. after joining the united states department of justice through the attorney general's honors
program in 1990, mr. rosenstein first prosecuted public corruption cases as a trial lawyer with the public integrity section of the criminal division. he then served as counsel to the deputy attorney general from 1993 and 1994, special assistant to the criminal division's assistant attorney general, 1994 and 1995, and associate independent counsel, 1995 to 1997. in 1997, mr. rosenstein became an assistant u.s. attorney in maryland. he prosecuted cases in the united states district court and briefed and argued appeals in a u.s. court of appeals for the fourth circuit. he also coordinated the credit card fraud and international assistance programs. from 2001 to 2005, mr. rosenstein served as principal deputy assistant attorney general for the tax division of the united states department of justice.
he supervised the division's criminal sections and coordinated the tax enforcement activities of the tax division and the internal revenue service. he also oversaw civil litigation and served as the acting head of the tax division when the assistant attorney general was unavailable. he personally briefed and argued federal civil appeals. mr. rosenstein served as the united states attorney for the district of maryland from 2005 to 2017. he oversaw federal criminal and civil litigation and developed and implemented federal law enforcement strategies in maryland. during his tenure as u.s. attorney, mr. rosenstein served as the washington-baltimore high-intensity drug trafficking area task force. and on the attorney general's advisory committee. he personally litigated cases in the united states district court and the united states court of appeals for the fourth circuit.
the only thing that mr. rosenstein did not do, during his time at harvard, he did not become a fan of the red sox, the patriots, or the celtics. [applause] [booing] because he was too busy. [laughter] despite that, it is my honor to bring up deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. [applause] attorney general rosenstein: thank you for that kind introduction. i enjoyed meeting you and your colleagues in chicago. thank you for coming to my neighborhood for dinner tonight. jim, i admire your commitment to the cause of justice. i am grateful to molly craig, the chairperson for this event,
and to andrea looney and staff of the lawyers for civil justice. your organization works to promote fairness in the civil justice system because your members rely on the rule of law. this is a fitting time to discuss the rule of law because may 1 was law day in the united states. president trump issued a law day proclamation on tuesday as he did one year ago. the president explained that our founders risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in defense of the values of liberty, justice, and equality. they protected those values with a constitution that established a government of limited and separated powers. it enables the rule of law to prevail over the whims of government officials. as the president said, our constitution vests the power to create laws, to execute them, and the power to interpret laws. the separation of powers is a structural safeguard that divides power horizontally
within our federal government. the president's proclamation quoted antonin scalia, who frequently observed that the rule of law was not just about words on paper. in order to preserve our republic, each branch must take care to fulfill its duties without infringing the rights of the people or the responsibilities of the other branches. our system of government is not self executing. it relies on wisdom and self-restraint. in a democratic republic, liberty is protected by cultural norms as well as constitutional texts. lawyers and judges bear great responsibility for implementing and explaining those principles. the farther we get from the founding generation, the less we appreciate how much everything depends on the people and not just the words on paper. abraham lincoln believed that the best way to ensure the survival of what he called our
edifice of liberty and equal rights is to enshrine reverence for the rule of law in the hearts of its citizens. let reverence for the law be breathed by every american, let it be taught in schools, in seminaries and ecologists. let it be written in spelling books and almanacs. let it be preached from the pulpit and proclaimed a legislative halls and enforced in halls of justice. and, lincoln concluded, let it become the political religion of the nation where the old, the young, the rich and the poor and all tongues and conditions, let them all keep the rule of law. when that ethos prevails throughout the nation, lincoln said, efforts to subvert liberty would be fruitless and vain. in shakespeare's play of henry the sixth, the butcher has an
observation about lawyers. many of you know it. he famously proclaims, the first thing we do is kill all the lawyers. that is often misinterpreted. the butcher is not a businessman upset about the circuit of lawyers or the burden of overregulation. he is a criminal, a villain scheming to take over. shakespeare's point is that, without lawyers, nobody would need to follow the law. that would be good for criminals like nick. but it would be bad for honest people and very bad for business. the rule of law is essential to commerce. it allows businesses to enter contracts, make investments, and project revenue with some assurance about the future it establishes a mechanism to resolve disputes, enforce contracts and prevent fraud and provides a degree of protection from arbitrary actions by government officials.
the american revolution of 1776 was not just a political revolution. it was also an economic revolution. the movement included mercantilists, farmers, shopkeepers and other ordinary men and women who banded together essentially to protest excessive regulation. the colonists were upset about burdensome taxes. they were upset about restrictions on their ability to develop the western frontier and they were concerned about unfair trade practices. today, president trump is mindful about the importance of promoting innovation and avoiding unnecessary interference in law-abiding enterprises. under the leadership of jeff sessions, our department of justice is doing its part to promote an environment where businesses can thrive. the department of justice is not a business and its mission differs in key respects. but anyone who works in a larger -- strategize about how to
improve efficiency while meeting our constituents' needs. with focus on recruiting and retaining the best and brightest people, training them and measuring their progress. we constantly strive to do better, to better manage our budget and to do more with less. one of our most important duties is to safeguard our brand, to protect the integrity of the department of justice. we do that by enforcing high standards, defending our people when they are in the right and taking the appropriate action when they are not. we continually adapt to face new challenges. but as we pursue new goals and policies, we are guided by timeless principles. the most significant is our duty to promote a justice system founded on the rule of law and your organization also helps to advance the rule of law through its efforts to achieve fairness and consistency in the justice system and reduce the costs and
burdens of litigation. you seek to streamline complex rules of procedure. you advocate for greater transparency and predictability for existing policies that are outdated or inefficient. at the department of justice, our attorneys face similar challenges. they must identify and apply an array of policies and guidelines articulated in countless memos and manuals. the most can be useful in explaining department policies and initiatives. but they bring several drawbacks. one problem is that became difficult for prosecutors to keep track of all the memos that were issued from headquarters in washington. we are working to consolidate all appropriate guidance into one central manual that will provide clear guidance for our employees around the country. the united states attorneys manual as it is currently called was designed to be a quick and ready reference, reflect internal department policies and
procedures for our 115,000 employees. it is also a public resource, which increases transparency and accountability because it tells people what our rules are. the manual does not create a private right of action. i want to emphasize that point for those of you in the private sector. you cannot use it against us in individual cases. it is also not meant to be an exhaustive list of constitutional rights, laws, or general legal principles. but it promotes consistency and proportionality and predictability in law enforcement. and that in turn enhances public confidence in the justice system. as part of the effort to consolidate and streamline our policies, we ordered a comprehensive review and an update to the manual, for the first time in at least 20 years, we are reviewing the entire manual, a total of approximately 11,000 pages. we are identifying redundancies, clarifying ambiguities,
illuminating surplusage and incorporating constructive additions. i hope these efforts will encourage current and future department leaders to write fewer memo's. instead, to put policy changes directly into the manual. many of my predecessors are known for the manuals that they wrote. the thompson memo, the philips memo. i committed, when i took this job, there would be no rosenstein manual. i will do my best to do it here today. -- to adhere to that. our manual helps to guide us. it helps to guide the exercise prosecutorial discretion. that is important. defense attorneys understand the concept. the job involves representing an unpopular cause. is not always easy, but it is essential to safeguard liberty.
consider the boston massacre. in 1770, 5 colonists died after british soldiers fired on a crowd. there british captain and eight soldiers were charged in a court in america. they were charged with murder. most lawyers were unwilling to represent the soldiers. but future president john adams agreed to do so. adams was just a humble, private attorney at the time. his political position was firmly on the side of the victim colonists. he agreed that the british troops should have withdrawn rather than firing at the crowd. but adams felt obligated to defend the rule of law. he said he had no hesitation in adding that counsel on to be the very last thing that an accused person should want for in a free country. this was before the constitution. they were operating under british law at the time. but adams felt very strongly about the principle.
he went on to secure the acquittal of the british captain. he later represented eight british soldiers. six of them were acquitted. two were convicted of manslaughter but received minor punishment. during his argument for the defense, adams famously observed that facts are stubborn things. whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of the facts and the evidence. defending british soldiers who killed american colonists was not a popular cause. in america, in 1770, it was a different place from what it is today. adams did not merely face criticism. he confronted a real fear in his own words of infamy or even death. in a diary entry about the trial, adams wrote as follows --in the evening, i expressed to mrs. adams all my apprehensions.
that excellent lady who has always encouraged me, burst into tears. but said that she was sensible to all the danger to her and to our children as well as to me, but she thought i had done as i ought. she was very willing to share in all that was to come and place her trust in providence. adams wrote that the experience procured in me anxiety. it was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly, and disinterested actions of my whole life and one of the best pieces of service i ever rendered my country. when the stakes are high, some people are tempted to dispense with the rules and pursue an expedient result. but adams sent america on a separate course. he chose to stand for the rule of law, even in challenging circumstances.
all lawyers share an interest in making sure that our legal system respects due process and pursues the truth. an adversarial system does not require opposing lawyers to be enemies. as a prosecutor, i always appreciated a strong defense counsel on the other side. a good defense attorney forces prosecutors to make better arguments, look for stronger evidence, and refine their reasoning. the book of proverbs says iron sharpens iron. so one person sharpens another. respectful debate can help us clarify our understanding, reveal facts and achieve a just result. speaking of just results, i want to discuss a few of the legal risks that your companies and corporate counsel's face. american corporations are on the cutting edge in many areas of science, technology, research, and development. that makes them a target for hostile individuals, organizations, and governments. they attempt to profit from american ingenuity by
infiltrating our computer systems, stealing our intellectual property, and evading our export controls. two weeks ago, the u.s. attorney's office here in the district of columbia announced a guilty plea that follows this pattern. a foreign defendant and 17 co-conspirators allegedly targeted midsized and large companies in the united states by impersonating executives in email communications with mid-level employees. the mid-level employees were tricked into believing that a corporate transaction was taking place. they transferred more than a million dollars to foreign bank accounts controlled by the co-conspirators. similar risks are posed by hackers who gain unlawful access to company computers. it can take only a few minutes for criminals to steal discoveries that took years of work and millions of dollars of investment for entrepreneurs to produce. that sort of criminal activity is not just harmful to companies and investors.
it damages our economy and threatens national security. law enforcement agencies and prosecutors can achieve deterrence only indirectly after a crime has occurred. by a program to prevent crime or detected early, reducing the need for law enforcement. strong compliance programs are a company's first line of defense. investing in compliance is essential to sustain a healthy marketplace. we know many american companies are very serious about implementing effective compliance programs. they want to do the right thing. they need our support to protect them from criminals who seek unfair advantages, who seek to damage american interests. many corporations choose to work cooperatively with our prosecutors and investigators and with our civil enforcement attorneys. and investigations that involve misconduct by corporate employees. a recent example is our attempt to combat opioid abuse.
last september, we filed a case against a pharmaceutical country that produced a fentanyl-based drug. the suit alleged that the company provided kickbacks to doctors who induce them to provide the drugs. they agreed to pay $45 million to resolve the case. that company had cooperated in a related prosecution of two doctors running a pill clinic. the doctors were sentenced to 20 years and 21 years in federal prison. the settlement with the corporation reflected its decision to accept responsibility and to help us to mitigate the harm. things can go wrong in any organization. i can empathize. i reflect on that every day. my responsibility involves helping to manage an organization with 115,000 employees spread throughout the world. the actions of any individual employee can affect the
reputation of the entire organization. when something does go wrong in a corporation, we should give the greatest consideration to companies that adopt a serious compliance program and timely report wrongful conduct to law enforcement. that frees up your agents or prosecutors to focus on people who commit the most serious crimes. when you assist the department, you help us to uphold the rule of law. that is good for america and that is good for your clients. finally, before i conclude, i want to take a moment to tell you a true story to support the exceptional men and women of law enforcement around the country protect and serve and who combat the deadly opioid epidemic that contributed to a record number of american lives lost to drug overdoses last year. i mentioned i met jim and several of your colleagues in chicago last week.
the deputy attorney general is protected by a security detail of the united states marshals. two of them were chicago a few days before my speech to prepare for the visit. one night, while they were returning to their hotel room, they came across a young woman who was unconscious and near death in a hallway outside the elevator. they did not know it at the time, but she had overdosed on fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid drug imported from china. one of the deputies started performing cpr while the other -- >> just a few moments left in this event. you can see it on our website, c-span.org. gavels. house is about to in. on naming several post offices and work on a bill advancing the federal approl