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NSA To Build 20-Acre Data Center In Utah 226

Hugh Pickens writes "The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that the National Security Agency will be building a one million square foot data center at Utah's Camp Williams. The NSA's heavily automated computerized operations have for years been based at Fort Meade, Maryland, but the agency began looking to decentralize its efforts following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and accelerated their search after the Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA — Baltimore Gas & Electric's biggest customer — had maxed out the local grid and could not bring online several supercomputers it needed to expand its operations. The agency got a taste of the potential for trouble January 24, 2000, when an information overload, rather than a power shortage, caused the NSA's first-ever network crash, taking the agency 3 1/2 days to resume operations. The new data center in Utah will require at least 65 megawatts of power — about the same amount used by every home in Salt Lake City — so a separate power substation will have to be built at Camp Williams to sustain that demand. 'They were looking at secure sites, where there could be a natural nexus between organizations and where space was available,' says Col. Scott Olson, the Utah National Guard's legislative liaison. NSA officials, who have a long-standing relationship with Utah based on the state Guard's unique linguist units, approached state officials about finding land in the state on which to build an additional data center. 'The stars just kind of came into alignment. We could provide them everything they need.'"
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NSA To Build 20-Acre Data Center In Utah

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  • by thedonger ( 1317951 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @09:19AM (#28556657)

    First of all, without a security clearance and need-to-know you will never know what the NSA does. And then forget what MSNBC has convinced you is true about the agency; there are very strict rules as to how any "signals" involving US citizens are handled. There is more foreign collection than you could possibly imagine, and that is where they expend most of their power.

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @09:20AM (#28556669) Homepage Journal

    The NSA does signal intelligence. This includes functions such as breaking codes through cryptoanalysis, etc. The CIA is in the 'old-fashioned' spy business. Neither are directly responsible for "stopping nut jobs from blowing up buildings" on home soil: that job, at the time, would have fallen to the FBI, the Federal Marshals, the ATF, and state and local law enforcement. Currently, the agency tasked with this job is the Department of Homeland Security.

    Besides, we know from media accounts that the CIA and NSA both informed the White House and the FBI about Al Qaeda's plans, but they were roundly ignored.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @10:08AM (#28557199) Journal
    Wikipedia lists three figures for the population of Salt Lake City, with 'City' 'Urban' and 'Metro' as titles. Dividing 65MW by the smallest of these numbers gives a little more than the average per-capita electricity usage for the USA. It seems like the distinction between the city, the urban area, and the metropolitan area is quite arbitrary; most people seem to refer to the entire metro area as the city. By this metric, the 65W would be under 20% of the domestic electricity supply. Note that this figure also didn't include industrial use. If you've ever looked across SLC and seen the brown haze then you'll have noticed that there is a lot more than just homes consuming power.
  • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @10:15AM (#28557309)
    If you bothered to read past the first couple of words on the link you posted, you might have noticed it ALSO said, "and to produce foreign signals intelligence information." And the first bullet says, "Collect (including through clandestine means), process, analyze, produce, and disseminate signals intelligence information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes to support national and departmental missions."

    Which is what I said. Your sig is pathetically ironic. Fucking retard.
  • by BumbaCLot ( 472046 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @10:29AM (#28557527)

    Apparently you are unaware of the writings of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson? Or his impact on the elections in the 1970s?

  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @10:45AM (#28557725)

    Are we supposed to believe they do not monitor and listen in any domestic conversations ?

    Yes you are. And you should read USSID 18 while you are at it and see for yourself that their are specific restrictions against listening in on domestic conversations. You will also learn that it requires a warrant granted by the Attorney General (not the Director of the NSA, not the President, not a mythical National Security Czar, Not Your Mom).

  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @10:52AM (#28557827)
    Well said. There are enough open source sources out their for even the most intellectually challenged to figure out what the NSA does. These fools on here who think they know what the NSA does are simply that--fools.

    Here's a declassified version of the restrictions against collecting on US Persons, for example. This alone debunks 99% of the stupid comments that always pop-up in any NSA related thread. []

  • by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @10:53AM (#28557845) Homepage
    ...or: Utah and Mormonism are almost synonymous. Mormons go on their "missions" from age 19 to 20 to convert more mormons. MANY of them must learn a foreign language to do it. So Utah ends up with the best linguist pool in the nation. So they get a couple NG linguist units to utilize the pool. Their "moral" lifestyle makes them more likely to get TS clearances than most Americans....and bingo. Linguists + TS clearance = NSA ties.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev