MCLU and Maine Residents Call on State Officials to Investigate NSA Spying

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
June 12, 2006 12:00 am


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PORTLAND, ME — The Maine Civil Liberties Union today delivered petitions from more than 360 residents to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, urging it to investigate Verizon’s role in the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance and data-mining of Americans.

“Today, the people of Maine have stepped forward to demand that their government investigate this massive, illegal and fundamentally un-American invasion of our privacy,” said Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the MCLU. “We join with tens of thousands of concerned citizens in calling upon state officials across the nation to urge investigations into this breach of trust. The people of Maine – and all Americans – want the truth.”

The MCLU also submitted comments today on a complaint filed by 40 Maine residents on May 9 with the Public Utilities Commission. The MCLU insists that the commission has both the authority and the responsibility to investigate whether telecommunications companies are violating the privacy of their customers.

Today’s actions follow a nationwide call by ACLU affiliates demanding investigations into whether local telecommunications companies allowed the NSA to illegally spy on their customers. Tens of thousands of petitions have been delivered to attorneys general and public utilities commissions in 20 states. If investigations reveal that laws have been violated, the ACLU is urging that officials issue “cease-and-desist” orders to the telecommunications companies operating in their state.

The national ACLU has also urged the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider its refusal to investigate reports that at least three major telecommunications companies — AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon — cooperated with the NSA in an effort to collect calling information and call patterns on every American.

The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit in Detroit charging that the NSA’s spying program is unconstitutional and violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The court will hear arguments in the case today.

“The rule of law has been broken, and it must be restored,” said Bellows. “The people of the great state of Maine are proud to stand against this abuse of power. We urge our state officials to bring the truth to light.”

The MCLU’s comments are online at: www.mclu.org/MCLU_Comments%2006%2012%2006.pdf.

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