California Bill Would Prohibit State Cooperation With NSA

By:  Warren Mass
05/22/2014
       
California Bill Would Prohibit State Cooperation With NSA

On May 19 the California state Senate voted 29-1 to approve SB 828, the California Fourth Amendment Protection Act, which would prohibit the state from helping any federal agency that attempts the “illegal and unconstitutional collection of electronic data.”

Though the bill does not specifically mention the National Security Agency (NSA), its sponsors, Senators Ted Lieu (D) and Joel Anderson (R), said the legislation does target the spy agency.

Anderson was quoted by U.S. News as saying that he doubts the NSA would even want to operate in California:

I can’t imagine they would want to locate here in California; we have not given them a warm welcome … [and] we’re trying to draw a bright blue line for all state employees. We’re trying to use the 10th Amendment to enforce the Fourth Amendment.

The 10th Amendment explains the concept of federalism and is a keystone of states’ rights, reading: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Fourth Amendment, which protects the citizens’ right to privacy, is cherished by civil libertarians as much as strict constitutionalists. It states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The practice of a warrantless search — a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment — has become a major issue since the federal government increased its surveillance activities following the 9/11 attacks.

In an article posted by The New American, Thomas R. Eddlem cited a report in the Washington Post last August 15 stating that its audit of the NSA “dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications.”

The information on NSA abuse, the Post reported, had been “provided earlier this summer to the Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.”

“What no country has been able to take from us through force the NSA is taking in the dark of night,” Senator Anderson continued.

The bill’s other sponsor, Ted Lieu, told the press,

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