February 14, 2017

The Hill interviews Diz Locaria on FBI contract to hack San Bernardino smartphone

2 min

Venable partner Diz Locaria was interviewed in a February 14, 2017, article in The Hill on the contract RFP used by the FBI to solicit companies who could help them crack the encryption on the smartphone of Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack. Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the nearly 100 page and heavily redacted document primarily consists of regulations that are part of normal government contracts. The redacted sections site concerns over national security, trade secrets, and the need to protect techniques and procedures of law enforcement investigations for their exclusion.

"Government contracts can be 100-pages plus," said Locaria. "It's got all the typical sections you see in a government contract." He noted that the formatting within the RFP, redaction of routine information, and summaries of regulation agreements suggests the FBI opted to work with a company that was not currently a government contractor. "It's odd they're redacting requirements that don't identify the contractor specifically," he said.

"There are several clauses that only require offerors to make certain representations," such as certifying the company has an affirmative action plan. "The fact they redact them may indicate that they are not in compliance with these traditional government contract requirements," Locaria added. "They can waive some of the requirements based on national security concerns, so it doesn't surprise me…They may be waiving a lot of requirements because it's not a traditional government contractor, and could be someone new to the space."