Tennessee Lawmakers Look For Ways To Take NSA Down A Peg

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in East Tennessee is one possible location of an NSA facility, though it isn't known for certain if there is one there or anywhere in the state. Image: unh.edu

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in East Tennessee is one possible location of an NSA facility, though it isn’t known for certain if there is one there or anywhere in the state. Image: unh.edu

Some Tennessee lawmakers are considering a push to cut off water and electricity to facilities run by entities like the National Security Agency, which they see as spying unconstitutionally.

It’s not even clear Tennessee has an NSA facility.  Some claim there’s one at the federal complex in Oak Ridge, but a spokesman there couldn’t say for sure.

Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) concedes there’s not a ton his proposal can do about federal surveillance.

“If the federal government does it, we can’t stop them.  But we’re not going to subsidize it.  We’re not going to fund, we’re not going to be supportive of things that are doing those activities.”

Several other states have eyed similar bills pushed by a group called OffNow.

Mouth Swabs

One other privacy-protection bill lawmakers are working on would ensure Tennessee police don’t help operate a kind of checkpoint reported in other states. In such cases, federal contractors ask stopped drivers for DNA samples–for instance, a mouth swab. (Click here for video of Tennessee senators discussing the matter.)

There again, the state can’t stop such efforts altogether, but the measure on its way to the Senate floor would try to make sure Tennessee police play no part.

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