States Rising Up against NSA?

We need more states rising up against Federal surveillance.

nsa floor

U.S. News reports, “NSA’s Water, Power Supply under Threat in State Legislatures.”

Congress failed to agree last year on a measure that would reform the practice of mass government surveillance, but privacy-minded state legislators have a back-up plan for shutting down alleged violations of their constituents’ constitutional rights.

In eight states, legislators are pushing bills they hope will either boot National Security Agency facilities or ban the agency from setting up shop.

We need one State to push something like this across the goal line. Hopefully that would be the first little rock down the hill in what would become an avalanche.

The bills would prohibit state and local governments from offering material support to the agency, including use of public utilities that carry water and electricity. Two of the bills would criminalize official cooperation with the NSA and several seek to squeeze contractors out of work with the electronic spy agency.

The state-level push began months after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 the NSA’s bulk collection of U.S. phone records and Internet-mining programs.

Last year, bills in Utah – home of the NSA’s massive Utah Data Center – and Maryland – host of the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters – sought to shut down those operations, winning broad media coverage.

The Utah bill remains active and its sponsor, Republican state Rep. Marc Roberts, is cautiously optimistic about its chances, particularly after a seemingly receptive committee hearing in November.

The Feds will never rein in their unconstitutional meddling themselves. Between the momentum of the Convention of States movement, and efforts such as this, perhaps the People are finally waking up—at least a tiny bit—and cutting the first few links in the chains of creeping tyranny.

[See also, “Does Barack Obama Have NSA Dirt on John Boehner?]

On the other hand, the darker side of me expects to see many of the proposing State legislators taken down by very inconvenient revelations about their personal failings and foibles. Ironically, if the NSA managed such a campaign it would only prove the absolute necessity of passing the bills.

So perhaps that will not occur. We’ll see.