With the publication Monday of a report about U.S.-made Internet monitoring devices discovered in Iran and Sudan, McDermott Will & Emery lobbyists could find themselves called on to defend the manufacturer.
Blue Coat Systems Inc., which made the devices that were found in the countries in apparent violation of U.S. sanctions, has used the firm to lobby for it since 2011 on unspecified "[i]ssues relating to export controls," according to congressional records. The firm has focused its lobbying on Congress, typically receiving less than $5,000 per quarter from the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company.
McDermott partners Edward "Teddy" Eynon, David Ransom and Stephen Ryan are handling the Blue Coat account.
None of the lobbyists were immediately available for comment.
U.S. officials, according to The Washington Post, are investigating how the Internet monitoring products entered Syria, which is subject to U.S. trade sanctions. Countries can use the technology to limit access to information and spy on their citizens, according to the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which authored the Blue Coat report that the Post published.
David Murphy, Blue Coat's chief operating officer and president, told the newspaper that his company doesn't allow countries that are subject to U.S. sanctions to buy its monitoring devices. Murphy said the company is cooperating with U.S. investigators.
In a National Law Journal Q&A last month, Ryan, speaking generally, said clients facing congressional investigations have to be prepared for anything.
"You want to cooperate with the committees but you also have to take into account what is today’s issue may not be tomorrow's issue and that may benefit you. Or hurt you, depending on where the issue goes," he said. "It’s very volatile."