Tuesday, January 6, 2015 | 4 comments

Governor Supports Keeping NSA in Utah

By Connor Boyack

Legislation introduced last year by Representative Marc Roberts sought to prevent material assistance in the state of Utah to the National Security Agency (NSA) for its warrantless surveillance of innocent individuals. Last year’s bill received discussion during an interim session this past fall, and may be re-introduced in the 2015 general session.

Asked about this effort today, Governor Gary Herbert told reporters, “I know people have had some frustration with the NSA,” but that the state’s agreement with the NSA was “something I think we need to continue to honor.”

The Utah Data Center has been the subject of widespread reporting. In our exclusive interview with Bill Binney, a 30-year NSA employee turned whistleblower, he indicated that the storage facility was created to retain every bit of digital information about people possible “in the hopes of retroactively going back and analyzing it sometime in the future to figure out what’s important.”

When the facility was announced, the Governor was reassured that the agency’s work would be done while “observing strict guidelines to preserve civil liberties” and told the public that he had been reassured only “appropriate activity will be conducted, according to constitutional law.”

We now know that this reassurance was a complete fabrication, and that the facility in Bluffdale—being subsidized by Utahns—is the repository for sensitive, private information about innocent people not suspected of any crime. We therefore question any need to abide by any agreement that has been violated by the other party.

We encourage Utah legislators to support efforts to protect our rights, and refuse any material support to federal agencies which are involved, as Rep. Roberts’s legislation states, “in the routine surveillance or involuntary collection and storage of electronic data or metadata on any citizen of the United States.”

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About the Author

Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute. He is the author of several books on politics and religion, including the Tuttle Twins series for children.


3 comments
jroadracer
jroadracer

Connor, love your work and appreciate you taking the time to continually bring these things to light.

-Jason

dave
dave

Why do we need to honor "our agreement with the NSA" when they don't seem to honor the Constitution?


This goes to the real root of the mass-surveilance that the NSA conducts on US citizens and government office-holders. How do we know that they don't have "the goods" on the governor, and that they haven't hinted to him that he should just play nice, or something uncomfortable in his past might get "leaked" to the press?

michael
michael

Just more proof that Governor Herbert is just another statist.  There's no way he'd go head-to-head with the federal government on any issue.

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  1. […] honor” its agreement with the spy agency. But Connor Boyack of the Utah based Libertas Institute said, the NSA assured the governor it would operate “observing strict guidelines to preserve civil […]

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