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Rep. Brad Sherman insists Facebook’s Libra will be worse than 9/11



At a House of Representatives hearing on Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman from California compared Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency to the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

“Now, we’re told by some that innovation is always good. The most innovative thing that happened this century is when Osama Bin Laden came up with the innovative idea of flying two airplanes into towers,” he said on Wednesday. “That’s the most consequential innovation, although this may do more to endanger innovation than even that.”

On Thursday, when asked about his controversial remarks during an interview with Bloomberg, Sherman double down on his comparison, saying “the number of deaths that will occur in America, if this is successful in playing the role it’s intended, will exceed what was lost on 9/11.”

Here’s what Sherman said on Bloomberg:

“Look, Zuckerberg is not as evil as Osama bin Laden, because the harm that Zuckerberg will do is a mere unintended by-product of his effort to make hundreds of millions of dollars more. But the fact is, in creating a tool for drug dealers, that’s going to result in deaths on the streets of America every day. By creating a tool for tax evaders, that’s going to mean the federal government can’t fund cancer research, or can’t fund the defense of the United States to the degree that we’d like to. And by providing a method for sanctions evaders, we’re going to make it much more difficult for the federal government to prevent Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.”

Sherman said the key to the United States economy is the government’s ability to control the banking system, but since all Libra transactions would be private, it would offer “financial privacy” to “tax evaders, terrorists, sanctions evaders, and drug dealers.”

At the House hearing on Wednesday, Sherman didn’t ask Facebook’s cryptocurrency chief David Marcus any questions about Libra; instead, he spent five straight minutes describing the dangers of Libra, and how it could be used to finance “the next horrific terrorist attack against Americans.”

Bloomberg anchor Emily Chang asked Sherman if he went too far with his comparison to 9/11, but the 64-year-old congressman stood by his statement.

“The number of deaths that will occur in America, if this is successful in playing the role it’s intended, will exceed what was lost on 9/11. The additional heroin deaths, the inability to fund cancer research, the lack of success of our sanctions, will be very important. But it won’t be all of a sudden. It won’t be one big day. I had to be asked by a reporter, ‘does that make Zuckerberg as evil as Osama bin Laden?’ Clearly not. Bin Laden was trying to cause American deaths, Zuckerberg is just disinterested in whether they occur.”

You can watch Sherman’s entire interview on Bloomberg TV below.

For what it’s worth, Sherman isn’t the only politician coming down on Libra.

On Tuesday, during a Senate hearing on Libra, Sen. Chris Van Hollen from Maryland compared the Libra Association, the non-profit that will oversee Libra, to “Spectre,” the evil organization from the James Bond films. And on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that the financial assets that would set the value for the Libra currency would be “controlled by an undemocratically selected coalition of largely massive corporations” like Facebook, Uber, eBay, Spotify, Visa, and others.

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