Thursday, June 13, 2013
Are Hawaii’s spy contractors in violation of the state constitution?
by Larry Geller
Booz Allen Hamilton is likely not the only government contractor operating in the state that is participating in the eavesdropping activities revealed this past week by one of its employees, Edward Snowden. Booze is reported to employ 350 people on the island, and there are numerous smaller companies involved in intelligence work. Indeed, in Hawaii, military intelligence contracting appears to be a bit of a cottage industry.
Booz Allen Hamilton's Hawaii office is not on a military base or US Government facility. Although many of their employees may work in a US Government location, such as the large NSA facility on Navy property near Wahiawa, they are located in downtown Honolulu. As such, it would appear that the company is governed by Hawaii law.
Hawaii is one of a handful of states that has a strong right of privacy guaranteed by its state constitution. Here are the sections relating to privacy. I have added my own emphasis:
Section 6: Right To Privacy
The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest. The legislature shall take affirmative steps to implement this right. [Add Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]
Section 7: Searches, Seizures and Invasion of Privacy
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches, seizures and invasions of privacy shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized or the communications sought to be intercepted. [Am Const Con 1968 and election Nov 5, 1968; ren and am Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]
The state constitution seems clear—without probable cause, no communications may be intercepted.
So I ask this question: Are Booz or other contractors operating within the state collecting data or intercepting communications of Hawaii citizens, and if so, is that in violation of the state constitution?
The loophole the government is using to spy on American citizens is to outsource this activity. The CIA recognized private firm do not have to play by the same rules and began setting up starter companies to collect personal data. The scary thing is Booz Allen Hamilton is owned by the The Carlyle Group an international investment firm. Some may remember The Carlyle Group's connection to the Bush family and Saudi's. Many of the intelligence gathering private firms were financed by Wall Street leaving some to wonder if there is a connection between this and the Obama administrations relationship with Wall Street.