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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 freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @08:02AM (#28556031) Homepage Journal

    Knowing what NSA does, this Super Data Center would be used to spy, filter and record all the calls redirected it to by AT&T.
    So, now we have an American agency, operating within America, and recording American telephone conversations without oversight of law.
    And we have the galls to say USSR was a spy country...
    Wonders will never cease!

  • In fact, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @08:16AM (#28556131) Journal
    We should be decentralizing a number of federal operations. For example, the Smithsonian should be broken apart and distributed around the nation. It is a JEWEL that must be preserved. Having much of our gov. in one location is a disaster in the making. It is OK to put the HEADS of organizations in DC, but the works should be distributed. Basically, we should get to the point, where all major organizations have no more than 1000 ppl in DC. Some exception should be made such as pentagon, congress, etc, but things like Health, EPA, can and should be spread about.
  • Re:So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @08:17AM (#28556139) Journal

    Well, maybe the true secret datacenter is built somewhere else. The best way to prevent you from searching for it is when you believe you already know where it is.

  • by slashqwerty ( 1099091 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @08:24AM (#28556177)
    Assuming a typical server uses 500W this data center would house 130,000 servers.
  • by LaminatorX ( 410794 ) <sabotage.praecantator@com> on Thursday July 02, 2009 @08:29AM (#28556211) Homepage

    Do I smell some juicy contracts for Novell as well?

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @08:33AM (#28556241)
    Finding it on a map is easy.

    Getting into it surreptitiously will either be:

    a) Extraordinarily difficult, or
    b) a) + life threatening.
  • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @08:51AM (#28556409)
    You don't need supercomputers for handling AT&T's data. You need them for decrypting foreign signals. You know, their mission and stuff.
  • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @08:53AM (#28556423)

    How about some stealth? Paint GOOGLE onto the sides of your cars and be very blatant about taking pics and nobody will think of anything.

    It's like breaking into a warehouse. You don't use flashlights and sneak about. You turn on the store lights and walk around like you belong there and nobody will think of anything ill.

  • Re:In fact, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @08:53AM (#28556425)

    His point is better than that. The federal government basically runs an enormous jobs program in the Washington D.C. area, an area that is pretty much over developed at this point. Placing operations in other cities would have the effect of improving the economy in those cities and (probably) saving the government money (by lowering overhead costs and such).

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arb phd slp ( 1144717 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @09:06AM (#28556535) Homepage Journal

    It's kindof hard to hide the massive power transmission infrastructure, also. You don't just "hide" a facility that has that much electricity coming from civilian sources going into it.

  • Re:Cap and Trade (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 02, 2009 @09:47AM (#28556949)

    Exactly. Notice they're going to the state with the lowest industrial rate for electricity in the country at 4.43 cents/kwh.

    How do they generate electricity so cheaply? 82% of their generation is from coal, 16.4% from natural gas. Renewables only 1.6%.

  • Its amazing to me that even after major legal issues being brought up in the news and by Congress, that even after the president has to pardon phone companies and the like to retroactively avoid further legal issues for domestic spying, people like the anonymous moron above still think it requires a tinfoil hat to believe the American government is spying on perfectly innocent people as part of a huge dragnet scam wasting taxpayer money.

    Imagine spending all that domestic spy money on the health care reforms you supposedly can't afford.

  • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @09:56AM (#28557041) Journal

    Also carry a clipboard. Nobody will question a guy taking notes on a clipboard.

  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @10:32AM (#28557565)

    The U.S. government spends more on surveillance of its citizens than any country in the entire history of the world.

    Care to cite that?

    The U.S. government has invaded or bombed 25 countries since the end of the 2nd world war, all for profit.

    Profit eh? So how much money does the US government earn every time a B1 Bomber drops another bomb? They have to pay for those planes, pilots and bombs, and get no monetary value in return. So where's the profit?

    In Iraq, oil and weapons investors like Bush and Cheney wanted control over the oil, and didn't care how many people they killed. In Afghanistan, oil investors want to build an oil pipeline.

    Care to explain why this mythical oil pipeline STILL hasn't shown up? It has been what, 8 years now since Moore made up this talking point? Also, if we invaded Iraq for the oil, then why do we not have ANY of the oil?

    The U.S. government has a higher percentage of its people in prison than any country ever in the history of the world, over 6 times higher than in Europe, for example. Some U.S. states, such as Oregon, spend more on prisons than on education!

    Perhaps there is a higher percentage of criminals in the US than in Europe, or our law enforcement is more efficient, or, gasp, we have a bunch of dumb laws that put dumb people in jail? So what.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 02, 2009 @12:33PM (#28559217)

    Care to cite that?

    Why should he? There are some things that are questionable and legitimately require a source. Other things are patently self-evident and anyone asking for a citation is just wasting everyone's time. This is in the latter category.

    Why don't you waste YOUR time and try to prove him wrong?

    So where's the profit?

    There are different types of "profit" and rarely does the average American figure into the equation. If you are questioning the monetary kind, look no further than the defense companies.

    Also, if we invaded Iraq for the oil, then why do we not have ANY of the oil?

    Because the Iraqis told the US and Britain to take the sweetheart oil contracts for their companies and piss off. It's well documented and should be no surprise. Everything in Iraq was premised on them rolling over and/or devolving into corruption. They didn't roll over but given the current state of affairs we do get some oil from the corrupt.

    Perhaps there is a higher percentage of criminals in the US than in Europe, or our law enforcement is more efficient,

    Or maybe decisions were made that since we decided to export our entire manufacturing base to China and would never be able to provide livable wage jobs for a significant percentage of the population it was better to pay part of the unemployable to guard the rest than to have any of them agitating for their share of the American dream. Better to stigmatize and lock them up in their prime years, for whatever reason, than have them rocking everyone else's boat.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"