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Inside the matrix. James Bamford on the vast new National Security Agency surveillance center going up in the Utah desert.
These days you can store a terabyte of data on a flash drive the size of a pinky finger. Right now outside Salt Lake City, Utah, the National Security Agency is building a top-secret, state-of-the-art data center of one million square feet.
It will move what they’re calling “yottabytes” of data. Oceans. Including, maybe, yours. E-mails, phone calls, Google searches, parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases. Investigative reporter James Bamford says watch out.
This hour, On Point: Surveillance, domestic surveillance, and the super spy center going up in the desert.
James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. His recent article in Wired magazine on the NSA's new facility in Utah is here.
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Wired "Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks."
Forbes "The story adds confirmation to what the New York Times revealed in 2005: that the NSA has engaged in widespread wiretapping of Americans with the consent of firms like AT&T and Verizon. But more interestingly–and more troubling in the eyes of many who value their privacy–it details the Agency’s plans to crack AES encryption, the cryptographic standard certified by the NSA itself in 2009 for military and government use and until now considered uncrackable in any amount of time relevant to mortals."
Computer World "Yet when Congressman Hank Johnson asked NSA chief General Keith Alexander if the NSA could hunt down every email bashing Dick Cheney for waterboarding, Alexander testified, "No." Alexander spoke in front of the House Armed Services subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. The "NSA does not have the ability to do that in the United States.""
Video: NSA Chief Denies Bamford Report
Here is a satellite view of the NSA facility under construction in Utah. [googlemap url="http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&t=k&ll=40.427218,-111.932702&z=16"]
NSA Facility Details
This presentation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows some schematics of the NSA facility.
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This program aired on March 22, 2012.
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