LAW OFFICE

OF

DANIEL SKOLNIK

DANIEL SKOLNIK, ESQ. 432 FORE STREET, SUITE 3C50 8 PORTLAND, MAINE 04101 (207) 831-7343
MAINE BAR #9558

January 29, 2007 Ms. Karen Geraghty, Administrative Director Maine Public Utilities Commission 242 State Street, State House Station 18 Augusta, ME 04333-0018 RE: MAINE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION Request for Commission Investigation Into Whether Verizon is Cooperating in Maine With the National Security Agency’s Warrantless Domestic Wiretapping Program; Docket No. 2006-274

Dear Ms. Geraghty: The Lead Complainant and the Public Advocate have asked that the Commission take action on this Complaint prior to the expiration of the nine-month deadline (February 7, 2007) as prescribed by Section 1302. At the Conference of Counsel on January 19, 2007, the Presiding Officer invited additional written comments. I write to provide additional support for the Lead Complainant’s request that the Commission act prior to the statutory deadline. Rather than allowing this process to unfold, the United States Department of Justice has sought to obstruct it. The Public Utilities Commission’s request that Verizon confirm the truth of its prior statement regarding involvement with information gathering by the National Security Agency was benign. Yet the DOJ asserts extremely attenuated threats to national security in an effort to stop the people of Maine and other states from inquiring into the lawfulness of government activities. The PUC is in a position to stand upon the laws of the United States and of Maine to demand either substantiation of such claims, or a serious effort to address the Complainants’ concerns. If the PUC chooses not to take action on this Complaint within the nine-month deadline, the effect may be detrimental to the principle that civil liberties must be balanced against national security. By extension, it may undermine the fundamental democratic tenet that no one is above the law, including the President of the United States. The current president has claimed for himself the power to ignore the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act due to what he deems overriding national security concerns. Should the Maine PUC fail to exercise its authority to challenge actions taken under this claimed authority, the legal grounds for challenging executive

excesses in the future may shrink: the DOJ will be able to point to this instance and argue that no court ruled against its actions. Such a precedent must be avoided. I urge the PUC to rise to its charge and to its power to give voice to the people of Maine through legal process. Thank you, Daniel Skolnik, Esq.