From: ri...@pencil.cs.missouri.edu (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Zimmermann interrogated without counsel
Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 1994 23:02:40 GMT
The following is a letter from Ken Bass, who is one of the lawyers on
my legal defense team, to US Customs. It is mostly self-explanatory.
It concerns the PGP investigation.
For those of you unfamiliar with the PGP case, PGP is an email
encryption program that is widely used around the world, and was
published domestically in the USA as freeware in 1991. As the creator
of PGP, I am under investigation by US Customs. They tell my lawyers
that they suspect that I violated laws that prohibit the export of
encryption software from the USA.
If anyone wants to ask questions about this case, contact my lead
defense attorney, Phil Dubois, at 303 444-3885, or dub...@csn.org.
Kenneth C. Bass, III
Venable, Baetjer, Howard & Civiletti
1201 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005-3917
(202) 962-4800, Fax (202) 962-8300
November 23, 1994
Mr. Homer Williams
Acting Assistant Commissioner
Office of Internal Affairs
United States Customs Service
1301 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20229
Dear Mr. Williams:
I write on behalf of our client, Philip R. Zimmermann, of Boulder,
Colorado, to register a strong objection to the treatment given Mr.
Zimmermann at Dulles International Airport on November 9, 1994, when he
returned from a trip to Europe.
Mr. Zimmermann was invited to Europe to speak on issues of public
policy. When Mr. Zimmermann returned to the United States, he was
diverted from the normal Customs processing, subjected to an
individualized luggage search, and then interviewed extensively by
Customs Special Agent Michael Winters. The questions posed to Mr.
Zimmermann make it very clear that this encounter was not a routine,
random interview, but was a pre-planned encounter. The interview was
not restricted to matters relating to Mr. Zimmermann's re-entry into
the United States and any proper subjects of inquiry regarding the
personal effects he was bringing back with him, but ranged extensively
over Mr. Zimmermann's European itinerary and public-speaking
activities, as well as prior overseas trips he had taken. Of
particular concern to us is the fact that Agent Winters questioned Mr.
Zimmermann about possible exportation of PGP, a cryptography program
developed by Mr. Zimmermann.
This interview was conducted in the absence of Mr. Zimmermann's
counsel, despite the fact that Agent Winters was very much aware of a
pending criminal investigation involving Mr. Zimmermann who was advised
in 1993 by an Assistant United States Attorney in the San Jose,
California office that he was a target of a grand jury investigation
concerning possible violations of the Arms Export Control Act related
to PGP. Agent Winters made specific reference to this investigation in
the course of his interrogation.
This encounter is deeply troubling for two reasons. First, having such
an interview in the absence of counsel when Customs is fully aware of
the pending criminal investigation and the fact that Mr. Zimmermann is
represented by counsel raises fundamental concerns about Government
insensitivity to the constitutional rights of citizens, particularly
citizens who are a target of an ongoing criminal investigation. The
second major concern is the fact that Agent Winters told Mr. Zimmermann
that he should expect to be subjected to the same search and
interrogation upon every re-entry into the United States, at least
until the criminal investigation is concluded. It is difficult enough
for any individual to be the target of an open-ended criminal
investigation that seems to have no clear direction, goal or
foreseeable conclusion. It is quite another thing to be subjected to
official interrogation, in the absence of counsel, about these
On behalf of Mr. Zimmermann, we ask that you make appropriate inquiries
to determine who authorized this interrogation and why it was continued
after Mr. Zimmermann expressed objection to being interrogated in the
absence of counsel. With respect to Mr. Zimmermann's future re-entry
into the United States, we would expect the Customs Service to strictly
limit its contact with him to the conduct of such interviews,
declarations and inspections as may be appropriate under 19 CFR Part
148 to determine whether he is subject to payment of any import duties
upon his re-entry. As an American citizen he has a constitutional
right to return to the United States and it is most improper to use
such occasions as an excuse for conducting interviews that would not
otherwise be undertaken in the absence of counsel or appropriate
I am sending copies of this letter to Agent Winters, the Assistant
United States Attorney in charge of the criminal investigation, and Mr.
Philip Dubois, Mr. Zimmermann's lead counsel in the investigation. If
you require any additional information in order to respond to this
request, please contact me directly. We would hope to resolve this
Kenneth C. Bass, III
cc: Mr. Philip R. Zimmermann
Mr. Michael B. Winters
Philip Dubois, Esq.
William Keane, Esq.
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