Nullifiers Have A Plan To Stop The NSA: Turn Off Its Water Supply

A screen grab from No Water = No NSA Data Center. #NullifyNSA campaign from
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

A group of activists has a plan to take on the National Security Agency. They’re going to do it nullification-style. They’re going to shut off the water.

The California-based Tenth Amendment Center has teamed up with a few other organizations to promote model legislation that would have states refuse to cooperate with the NSA. There are a few ways this would work, but the flashiest part of the plan is to have Utah cut off the water supply to the NSA’s Utah Data Center. No water means no cooling for the agency’s massive computers. Or so the argument goes.

Here’s the web ad the groups have put together:

The model legislation put together by The Tenth Amendment Center is called the 4th Amendment Protection Act. It would do a number of things. It would prohibit state officials and employees from providing support to the NSA. It would prohibit state resources from being used to support the NSA. It would bar information collected by the NSA from being used in criminal investigation or prosecution. It would bar state universities from working with the NSA. And it would bar corporations that provide services to the NSA from working for or providing services to the state.

In an interview with TPM on Friday, Michael Boldin, the executive director of The Tenth Amendment Center, acknowledged that his group had a long, hard fight ahead. But he believes the issue of NSA mass surveillance — unlike other issues the center has worked on, like federal gun law nullification — crosses partisan lines. And he compared his group’s efforts to those of the Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks.

“We believe when things are bad enough, you have to start looking at the Rosa Parks method of how to deal with it,” Boldin said. “Sooner or later you got to just sit down and say, ‘No, we’re not going to participate in this.'”

Asked about a report that a Utah lawmaker had committed to introducing the 4th Amendment Protection Act in that state, Boldin said the last time his group had spoken with the lawmaker was about two weeks ago, and he cautioned that “sometimes they back out.” In the meantime, Boldin’s group has also put together a website,, to help promote their cause.

“We’re not also trying to talk about the traditional Calhoun-type of nullification which is absolutely insane,” Boldin explained. “The Calhoun thing, which is crazy, is taking the view that one state can say that, ‘Oh, this law doesn’t exist any more.’ And that’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re just trying to, in practice, come up with ways to stop participating — again the Rosa Parks method — stop participating in so many different ways, that it really just makes their attempt to do what they want to do almost impossible.”

Latest Muckraker
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: