Nation’s Biggest Spy Center Settles into Utah

Monday, March 19, 2012
Officially called the Utah Data Center, the enormous facility under construction will eventually house one million square feet of computers. Its mission will be to intercept, decipher, analyze and store large volumes of communications collected by the NSA from around the world.
Everything from private emails to cell phone calls to Google searches and more will be stored at the center, which is scheduled to operational in September 2013. It will also collect the details of financial transactions, big and small, secret communication of foreign governments, suspected terrorists and, perhaps, just about everybody else.
“It is, in some measure, the realization of the ‘total information awareness’ program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy,” according to James Bamford in an excellent article in Wired. Bush went ahead anyway, enlisting the aid of the telecoms, and the Obama administration has moved the strategy forward.
The Utah Data Center will also be a center for cryptanalysis—code breaking—since one of its primary targets will be password-protected and intricately encrypted information.
The Data Center is expected to have at least 200 full-time employees and cost $40 million a year to maintain.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Bluffdale Oks Plans To Annex NSA Data Center (by Donald Meyers, Salt Lake Tribune)
The Fed Who Blew the Whistle (by Michael Isikoff, Newsweek)

NSA Has Massive Database of Americans' Phone Calls (by Leslie Cauley, USA Today) 


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