A team of California state senators from both sides of the aisle introduced a bill on Monday that would ban the state and its localities from providing "material support" — access to water and electricity — to National Security Agency (NSA) facilities in a symbolic effort to thwart the agency's surveillance activities.
"State-funded public resources should not be going toward aiding the NSA or any other federal agency from indiscriminate spying on its own citizens and gathering electronic or metadata that violates the Fourth Amendment," the bill's co-author California state Sen. Ted Lieu, said in a statement.
If the bill becomes law, private companies will be sanctioned to provide the NSA with these essential utility services.
Lieu added that the NSA's surveillance programs pose "a clear and present danger to our liberties." He said, "The last time the federal government massively violated the U.S. Constitution, over 100,000 innocent Americans were rounded up and interned," referring to the sordid history of Japanese internment in the U.S.
Republican state Sen. Joel Anderson co-wrote the bill with Lieu. "I support this bill because I support the Constitution, our Fourth Amendment rights, and our freedoms to live in the United States of America," he said.
The senators claim, "The National Security Agency's massive level of spying and indiscriminate collecting of phone and electronic data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a direct threat to our liberty and freedom."
Sen. Ted Lieu
Sen. Joel Anderson
"For all of our political bickering, Americans rally around certain core principles enshrined in our Constitution. It's fitting that Lieu and Anderson are standing together to defend these values," said Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center, which drafted the model legislation on which the Arizona and California bills were based.
Starving an NSA data center of electricity, water, etc. could significantly impact the NSA's data collection efforts domestically. In December, the Tenth Amendment Center first proposed to shut off the NSA's water supply in a video created in response to the NSA's new $1.5 billion Utah Data Center. "There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution which requires your state to help the feds violate your rights," the video's narrator explains. "No water equals no NSA data center."
Offnow activists are also working to turn off the NSA's "Achilles heel." Their website equips activists with a wealth of information and resources to stop the NSA's expansion across the country.
If Utah follows suit along with these other Western states, the NSA and the intelligence community will have to take notice.