Maine Takes another Step to Opposing the NSA

The Maine legislature may pass a law designed for opposing the NSA.

While Jeb Bush may think that opposing the NSA is wrong, many disagree. In the state of Maine, another hurdle has been passed in a move to obstruct the NSA and other Federal spying from depriving state residents of their Fourth Amendment rights.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center, “Maine Bill Taking on NSA Spying Passes Out of Committee 9-4.”

A Maine bill that would turn off support and resources to the NSA in the Pine Tree State passed out of committee by a surprisingly comfortable margin yesterday, despite intense opposition form the state attorney general.

Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) introduced LD531 On Feb. 26. His seven cosponsors literally span the political spectrum, including Republicans, Democrats and an Independent.

The Maine Fourth Amendment Protection Act would ban “material support or resources” from the state to any federal agency collecting electronic data without meeting one of four conditions.

  1. That person’s informed consent;
  2. A warrant based upon probable cause that particularly describes the person, place or thing to be searched or seized;
  3. Acting in accordance with a legally recognized exception to the warrant requirements; or
  4. Information that is in the possession of the state or its political subdivisions that is otherwise legally obtained under state law.

LD531 received a favorable report from the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee by a 9-4 vote. With intense opposition coming from the AG and other law enforcement interests, supporters expected a closer vote.

“It was a bipartisan report, and it puts it in a really good place to potentially pass in the House and Senate,” Brakey said.

So, if this bill becomes law, it will be illegal for law enforcement agencies in Maine to receive any information from Federal agencies that was obtained through domestic surveillance.

Naturally, those involved in law enforcement played hardball, claiming that anyone who supported respect for the Fourth Amendment would be aiding and abetting the abuse of children:

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and some law enforcement lobbyists claim the bill could hinder police from catching child pornographers and other dangerous criminals. Their assertions mirror fear-mongering by law enforcement interests in other states.

There is no doubt that, if all our rights were stripped away and we were all subjected to 24-hour monitoring, it would be easier to detect and punish crime. But that isn’t the way human beings should be treated by our government. We are supposed to be citizens, not suspects. Furthermore, it would enable all sorts of crimes on the part of those who are watching us.

Remember, Federal agencies have been slipping information to prosecutors and keeping their sources secret from the defense and even judges. It is basically a way of secretly nullifying the Fourth Amendment. Maine is right to stop it. Every other state should do so also.