Jan 4, 2018

FCC Chair pulls out of major tech conference due to death threats

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last year. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai canceled his speaking appearance at the widely attended Consumer Electronics Show after receiving death threats, according to an FCC official. Details of the threats to Pai remain unclear.

Why it matters: The debate around FCC's move to reverse net neutrality rules drew sharp criticism from net neutrality supporters, including some threats of violence. A bomb threat was reportedly called into the agency before the commissioners voted on the repeal last month — although its origin was not known.

What they're saying: "We look forward to our next opportunity to host a technology policy discussion with him before a public audience," Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro said in a statement sent out about the cancelation. FCC spokesman Brian Hart declined to comment beyond saying Pai would not attend CES. Digital Music News, an industry blog, and Recode earlier reported the circumstances of Pai's decision to cancel on the annual Las Vegas trade show.

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Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump administration to eliminate nuclear waivers tied to Iran deal

Pompeo testifies on Iran in February. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The U.S. is ending waivers that had allowed foreign companies to work at Iran's civilian nuclear facilities, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday.

Why it matters: This will eliminate most elements of U.S. sanctions relief still in place two years after President Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo said "continued nuclear escalation" made the move necessary, but critics warn it will encourage further Iranian enrichment.

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.