Sachs to Review State Police Intelligence Gathering Activities in 2005 and 2006
ANNAPOLIS (July 31, 2008) Governor Martin OMalley announced today that former Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs will head an independent review to look into intelligence gathering activities of the Maryland State Police in 2005 and 2006. Mr. Sachs served as Marylands 40th Attorney General.
Earlier this month, the ACLU revealed government documents that demonstrate the MSP engaged in covert surveillance of local peace and anti-death penalty groups for over a year from 2005-2006. The ACLU said the documents show that no crimes were committed, or even discussed, by the victims of the spying. The ACLU obtained the information through a Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) lawsuit.
The State Police have an obligation to take seriously and investigate all potential threats to public safety consistent with state and federal law, said Governor OMalley. But when those intelligence-gathering operations impact the First Amendment rights of individuals, we have a responsibility to investigate the scope and breadth of these intelligence-gathering activities. I am proud that Attorney General Sachs has agreed to oversee this independent review working with the full cooperation of the Maryland State Police.
Sachs served as Assistant U.S. Attorney (Maryland) from 1961 to 1964. Later that year, he joined the firm of Tydings, Rosenberg & Gallagher. In 1967, he was appointed as U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, a position he held until 1970 when he returned to private practice. In 1979, he became Marylands 40th Attorney General and was re-elected in 1982. Sachs joined Wilmer Cutler Pickering as a partner in 1987. He specialized in criminal and civil litigation, until his retirement on December 31, 1999. He is now of counsel to the firm. He also frequently serves as an arbitrator in domestic and international commercial disputes.
I want to thank the Governor for having confidence in my ability and will do my best to perform the tasks set before me, said Attorney General Sachs. I have no pre-judgment and very little knowledge of the activities that have been reported. I share the goals of the Governor to discover the unvarnished truth of the matter, to ensure that the citizens of Maryland are able to pursue their interests including expression of opinion and the exercise of their constitutional rights and to ensure that law enforcement is able and empowered to perform its legitimate public safety functions, and to guarantee public confidence in the integrity and the probity of the Maryland State Police.
The Maryland State Police will cooperate fully with this review and make certain Mr. Sachs is provided all the information he needs, Colonel Terrence B. Sheridan said. We remain committed to upholding the rights of all the people we serve as we work diligently to reduce violent crime and make Maryland safer.
Maryland State Police Spied on Citizens, Says ACLU, July 18, 2008