Saturday, June 15, 2013

NSA's Desert Home for Eavesdropping

Welcome to Utah, the NSA's desert home for eavesdropping on America
The NSA's new $1.7bn facility in the heart of Mormon country has the potential to snoop on US citizens for decades to come

14 June 2013 - Drive south down Camp Williams Road, a highway outside Salt Lake City, and your eye is drawn to the left. A gun-mounted helicopter and other military hardware marks the entrance of the Utah army national guard base. The ice-capped Rockies soar in the distance.

To the right there is little to see: featureless scrubland, a metal fence, some warehouses. A small exit – not marked on ordinary maps – takes you up a curving road. A yellow sign says this is military property closed to unauthorised personnel.

Further up the hill, invisible from the highway, you encounter concrete walls, a security boom and checkpoint with guards, sniffer dogs and cameras. Two plaques with official seals announce the presence of the office of the director of national intelligence and the National Security Agency.

A spokesperson at NSA headquarters in Maryland did not welcome a Guardian request to visit its western outpost. "That is a secure facility. If you trespass on federal property security guards will be obliged to do their jobs." An interview was out of the question.

Welcome to the Utah Data Center, a new home for the NSA's exponentially expanding information trove. The NSA's new $1.7bn facility in the heart of Mormon country has the potential to snoop on US citizens for decades to come read more>>>

In Utah, hummm, first thought to come to mind, after the bushco started all this and with their rubber stamping congresses, and rewrote the meanings of the laws that existed to justify what they were doing leading to the congress need to write law to justify in this age of failed policy leading to blowback, was just think if the Romney had been elected. Still wondering how much information is being parsed by those at the top of the chain in the private government contractors on our dime that could be used to blackmail the government reps, government employee's or anyone else, business leaders or other governments etc., they felt the need would benefit them and their bottom lines or whatever!

This is a cut from the transcript of the PBS Newhour discussion aired last night, 14 June 2013, that should add to the thoughts about this information gathering especially by extremely costly private government contractors:

ANALYSIS AIR DATE: June 14, 2013 Shields and Brooks on Syria, Snowden and Surveillance
MARK SHIELDS: I don't think he's a traitor, to the best of my knowledge.

He is -- he didn't sell secrets. He didn't provide secrets to an enemy or to an unfriendly entity. He didn't put at risk Americans, to the best of our knowledge. He didn't reveal projects of plans or programs that were going.

Is he a hero? I wouldn't certainly categorize him as a hero. The president says, I welcome this debate. That's healthy for democracy. There wouldn't be a debate, Judy, if we didn't have this disclosure. I mean, that's a little bit disingenuous, to say that we welcome this debate.

What we have had is, we have had no debate. What we have had since 9/11 on all the security measures that we have taken, the debate has been overseas. It's been rendition. It's been Guantanamo. It's been Abu Ghraib. Now, for the first time, it's a question of, what is the trade-off? What are Americans willing to do to give up their own privacy without court orders, to let the government? And the appetite for secrecy for every administration is absolutely limitless.


MARK SHIELDS: But, I mean, let's be honest about it. He did sacrifice and surrender his own job, quite conceivably his own freedom. I mean, this is not without cost, what he did. And I have to tell you, what I find the most offensive of all the criticisms of the guy, whom I don't know and probably will never meet, and that is that he was a high school dropout.

We have had Ph.D.s named Wolfowitz and an MBA named Bush and a Ph.D. student named Cheney take us to war, and a terrible war for this country that's cost division and cost lives and caused suffering. And we have had a lot of high school dropouts in this country named Washington and Lincoln and Mark Twain and Will Rogers and Rosa Parks who've made great contributions to this country.

And there's something terribly snobbish about Washington's credentials, if he just had gone to an Ivy League, if he had a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago like Paul Wolfowitz or been like Doug Feith or Richard Perle. I mean, it's just -- that really is ...

DAVID BROOKS: He had to attack Chicago.

No, I don't attack him for being a high school dropout. I do attack him for being a grandiose narcissist. When you work for an institution ...

MARK SHIELDS: Is that a felony?


MARK SHIELDS: Thank goodness. rest of transcript and view discussion>>>

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