A federal jury will hear opening arguments Monday in the case of a retired state trooper who says he faced professional retaliation and is owed financial damages after he reported alleged privacy violations at the state police intelligence center.

Retired Maine State Police Trooper George Loder, of Scarborough, says he was denied a lateral transfer to another detective position after he called out what he said was illegal activity at the Maine Information and Analysis Center in Augusta.

At its core, Loder’s lawsuit is an employment dispute, but his 2020 complaint made an array of allegations that the state police intelligence unit was improperly collecting information on citizens engaged in lawful activity, including protesters opposed to the CMP corridor project and an illegal registry of lawful gun owners who had background checks processed by the FBI.

Attorneys representing the state police have attacked Loder’s claims, and a federal judge agreed to dismiss all but two elements.

Loder’s civil trial beings Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland and is scheduled to last five days. The proposed list of witnesses includes current and former top officials at the Maine State Police, including Col. John Cote, who recently retired to take a position in the private sector, along with agents and employees of the FBI.

Jurors will be asked to determine if Loder suffered an infringement of his First Amendment rights and if he was subject to professional retaliation. The case will not hinge on whether the claims about the alleged illegal practices at the MIAC are true.


From 2013 to 2018, Loder was assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Portland and worked alongside federal agents on terrorism and national security cases.

Around 2017, his supervisors at the state police asked Loder to begin attending state police staff meetings and to share information about the federal cases he was working on. Loder refused and said he was forbidden to do so by Justice Department and FBI policy and reported the request to the FBI and to local federal prosecutors. He also claims to have raised alarms about what he believed were illegal practices that violated citizens’ privacy rights.

When he told his state police supervisors that he had blown the whistle on their request to share FBI investigative information, Loder claims he was removed from the task force and put on a “desk job” overseeing the MIAC database, an assignment Loder resisted, because he said the database was violating the law. Loder then requested a lateral transfer to the Major Crimes Unit as a detective but was denied that position. Loder alleges the denied transfer was one aspect of the retaliation he suffered.

But an attorney for the state said Loder was denied the transfer for legitimate reasons: state police said he lied to an internal affairs investigation in 1998, resulting in a suspension, one of three during his career. The documented case of lying to an investigator undermined Loder’s credibility as a trustworthy investigator, state attorneys said. 

Had he been hired at Major Crimes and allowed to investigate cases, state police said his disciplinary record would have opened him up to attacks by defense attorneys, who have a right to receive information that may call into question the credibility of state witnesses, including police, information known as Giglio material.

He then accepted a demotion to trooper and returned to patrol where he finished out his career and retired in March.

Two months after Loder filed his complaint, a hacking collective called Distributed Denial of Secrets released thousands of documents from the agency, which were being stored with a Houston-based web development firm. Those documents revealed what information the unit is collecting on people, where it comes from and what it’s used for.

The Maine Intelligence Analysis Center was created through a 2006 executive order authorizing the sharing of intelligence between federal, state and local governments. It was one of dozens of similar intelligence and surveillance centers that were established across the country following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, the center’s focus has pivoted away from terrorism toward more mundane domestic crimes, its leaders have said.

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