Will Hurd is eminently qualified to address the cybersecurity conference known as “Black Hat.” He graduated from Texas A&M with a major in Computer Science and a minor in International Relations. He worked for the CIA for 9 years, including time as a field officer in Afghanistan. He speaks Urdu, which was useful when he operated undercover in Pakistan.
After the CIA, Hurd went on to be a senior adviser for cybersecurity firm FusionX. Others from FusionX have been speakers at Black Hat. including Tom Parker, the firm’s CTO.
But unlike Parker, Will Hurd has another problem: he is a U.S. Representative from Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. He is a Republican. And most of all, Rep. Hurd is pro-life.
Citing specifically Rep. Hurd’s politics on the issue of abortion, the Black Hat conference rescinded its invitation to him as their 2019 keynote speaker.
“Black Hat has chosen to remove U.S. Representative Will Hurd as our 2019 Black Hat USA Keynote. We misjudged the separation of technology and politics,” said a statement. “We will continue to focus on technology and research, however we recognize that Black Hat USA is not the appropriate platform for the polarizing political debate resulting from our choice of speaker.”TechCrunch, June 14, 2019
This should be terrifying in its endorsement of the heckler’s veto.
Whatever topic on which Rep. Hurd was going to speak from the podium at Black Hat, I think it’s a safe bet that it wasn’t going to come within a thousand miles of abortion. In fact, it’s hard to imagine two fields of discussion further separated than cybersecurity and abortion.
But apparently, it’s not too far away for Black Hat to give in to liberal media. This is what I mean: The writer at TechCrunch who covered this story is also one of the activists responsible for the story happening. Zack Whittaker literally quoted himself.
The only link between cybersecurity and abortion is the fact that some activists in the media want there to be a link.
It’s the same with many liberal causes. Anything that the left deems “hate” or “theocracy” or “fascist”–all codewords for thoughtcrimes of conservative beliefs–becomes a reason to deplatform, defenestrate, or bar those who hold such beliefs from the public square.
It means that Black Hat will deprive itself from hearing from one of the few in Congress who “gets cyber,” as Whittaker tweeted. But they’d rather do without his experience, and his influence on Capitol Hill because a few activists in the media don’t like how he votes on abortion.
As Erick Erickson continually notes, you will be made to care. But this is a much larger canvas on which the heckler’s veto is being painted. It should terrify you.