In advance of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee hearing, the ACLU of Maine called for a complete legislative investigation of the Maine Information and Analysis Center (MIAC). MIAC is one in a network of so-called fusion centers, a clearinghouse for federal, state and local law enforcement to collect and share intelligence. The following statement can be attributed to Zachary Heiden, legal director, ACLU of Maine:
“From the beginning, MIAC has operated with little oversight, yet it has the power to collect and store massive amounts of information on private citizens. A recent whistleblower lawsuit alleges MIAC procedures violated even the minimum federal safeguards, by illegally surveilling and storing information about protesters, gun owners and even camp counselors.
Mainers have a right to know fully about MIAC’s budget, staffing, its relationship with federal law enforcement, its procedures and the adequacy of oversight. As popular momentum moves to divest from law enforcement and invest in communities, Mainers have a right to know whether their tax dollars are supporting illegal government surveillance. With more information, Mainers can make an informed decision about whether that is how they want their money spent.”