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Turning Off the NSA’s Water

Posted on January 29, 2015

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

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. . . .

Roberts is waiting to learn which legislative committee this year will hear his bill, which seeks to shut off the water supply to the NSA’s vast Utah Data Center that’s currently provided through a sweatheart deal with the city of Bluffdale.

Legislators in Alaska, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington, meanwhile, introduced similar bills this month, many called Fourth Amendment protection acts, based on model legislation from the OffNow coalition. More are likely to be introduced as the legislative season unfolds.

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