Harry Clark Discusses New Sanctions Program Targeting Cybercriminals


Harry Clark, chair of Orrick’s International Trade and Compliance Group, recently spoke with Law360 about President Obama’s recent executive order establishing a new sanctions program targeting cybercriminals who threaten the national security of the United States.

According to Clark, the order does not have an immediate impact because the Obama Administration has not yet designated persons to be sanctioned under the order. He noted, however, that the order opens the door to tagging cybersecurity wrongdoers with tough economic sanctions similar to those used to counteract terrorism. “It’s important in the sense that the administration has decided to treat cybersecurity as a policy issue that will be addressed in part through sanctions,” said Clark, adding, “A finite list of policy concerns are addressed through economic sanctions, and now we have one more. It says a lot about the level of importance that the administration attaches to this issue and about the perceived utility of sanctions as a tool.”

In light of this new sanctions program and intensified sanctions enforcement, Clark encouraged companies vigorously to administer an effective sanctions compliance program that includes screening of sanctions against the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of “specially designated nationals” and other sanctioned persons. “We spend a lot of time working with companies on sanctions compliance programs, and I don’t see why any of them would have occasion to change their policy one bit,” Clark said, concluding, “A central element of these compliance policies is making sure you don’t deal with sanctioned persons, so you’ll just keep on doing what you’re doing.”​