Monday, April 20, 2015

Texas Bill Would Turn Off Power to Massive NSA Surveillance Facility

AUSTIN, Texas (March 16, 2015) – A Texas legislator introduced a bill that would stop the independent Texas power grid from being used to power mass, warrantless surveillance by the NSA.

Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R) introduced House Bill 3916 (HB3916) on March 13. The legislation would prohibit any political subdivision in Texas from providing water or electricity to any federal agency “involved in the routine surveillance or collection and storage of bulk telephone or e-mail records or related metadata concerning any citizen of the United States and that claims the legal authority to collect and store the bulk telephone or e-mail records or metadata concerning any citizen of the United States without the citizen’s consent or a search warrant that describes the person, place, or thing to be searched or seized.”

“No water and no electricity means no super-computers. That will shut down NSA operations in Texas. If Congress doesn’t want to reform the NSA then we’ll just turn it off,” OffNow founder and associate director Michael Boldin said.


If passed, HB3916 would ultimately turn off water and electric service to the massive Texas Cryptologic Center in San Antonio.

In 2006, the Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA had maxed out capacity of the Baltimore-area power grid via Baltimore Gas and Electric. Insiders reported that “The NSA is already unable to install some costly and sophisticated new equipment. At minimum, the problem could produce disruptions leading to outages and power surges. At worst, it could force a virtual shutdown of the agency.”

This, in part, led the NSA to expand in new locations in states such as Utah and Texas, to ensure that the agency could keep expanding its programs without the risk of shutting down due to lack of resources.

A former Sony warehouse, just down the road from a new Microsoft data center, houses the NSA facility. According to the Houston Chronicle, Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), a publicly traded company based in Maryland, owns the property and leases it to the NSA.