Arizona senator to NSA: 'You're not welcome here'

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- If an Arizona state senator has her way, Arizona will be the first state to try to keep the National Security Agency out of its residents' business.

Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, says the way the NSA is run violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures" and requires probable cause for warrants to be issued.

Ward plans to introduce legislation that would ban state and local officials from providing material support to the NSA. It also would make information gathered by the NSA without a warrant inadmissible in state and local courts.

"I believe the number one priority for national security is defending and protecting the Constitution," Ward said in a statement. "Without that, the rest becomes irrelevant. There is no question that the NSA program, as it is now being run, violates the Fourth Amendment. This is a way to stop it."

Ward's Arizona Fourth Amendment Protection Act, which is based on model legislation drafted by an anti-surveillance group called the OffNow Coalition, also prevents public universities from serving as NSA research facilities and recruiting grounds.

Both Arizona State University and University of Arizona have connections to the government intelligence agency as NSA Centers of Academic Excellence.

The fourth prong of the soon-to-be-proposed legislation levies sanctions against companies that assist the NSA where the state does not.

The NSA does not have a data center in Arizona. Ward says her legislation is a preemptive strike to keep it that way.

" … I want them to know the NSA isn’t welcome in Arizona unless it follows the Constitution," she said in a statement.

While Arizona would be the first state to consider a Fourth Amendment Protection Act, a spokesman for Tenth Amendment Center, a national think tank that is part of the OffNow Coalition, says he expected at least four other states to look at the issue in 2014.

Ward said she will present the Arizona Fourth Amendment Protection Act when the new legislative session begins on Jan. 13.