Amid spying scandal, billion-dollar NSA data center may secretly open

The new National Security Agency building in Bluffdale, Utah will be the most expensive facility in the NSA’s history, but don’t expect any sort of grand unveiling when it’s finally functioning.

The $1.5 billion NSA data center is scheduled to officially
open up this fall, but the Salt Lake City Tribune is now
reporting that the facility may already be up and running.

Thomas Burr of the Tribune wrote Thursday that the
administrators of the state-of-the-art facility are staying
silent when it comes to announcing information about the
building, even though knowledge of its construction has been
widely reported, and the NSA has become a mainstay in mainstream
headlines since top-secret security documents were leaked to the
media earlier this year.

NSA officials declined to say whether the center is already
online, but the secret agency isn’t known for celebrating the
opening of classified buildings
,” Burr wrote.

Vanee’ Vines, a spokesperson for the NSA, told National Public
Radio previously, “We turn each machine on as it is installed,
and the facility is ready for that installation to begin

Once the entire facility is fully operational, the United States’
spy agency will be able to, by some estimates, store the
equivalent of 250 trillion DVDs worth of data.

It’ll function as sort of a hard drive, in essence. You know,
you might be able to picture this as NSA’s external hard
,” writer James Bamford told NPR recently.

Even before its doors were opened to government employees,
though, the facility was already being protected by security
mechanisms that one might not expect on any other construction
site. When Fox News flew a helicopter over the data center
earlier this year, the aircraft’s pilot was visited by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation days later to discus a
“national security matter.”

William Binney, a retired NSA analyst who has spoken
critically of the agency since his tenure expired, told Fox that
the incident “
showed the capability of the US
government to use information to trace people, their relationship
to others and to raise suspicions about their activities and

Meanwhile, top brass from the US intelligence community answered
questions in Washington on Thursday afternoon about the
government-run surveillance programs that were exposed in recent
weeks by Edward Snowden, a 30-year-old former contractor. The
event marked the first open hearing of the Senate Intelligence
Committee since March 2013, when Director of National
Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers that the NSA has not
wittingly collected information on American citizens. He later
apologized for his “clearly erroneous” statement after
Snowden’s disclosures.

Copyright: RT