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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/26/2013 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Utah site is world's largest SPY facility in both size and power.

The new NSA facilities are monstrously huge, a full seven times larger than the Pentagon. Shrouded in secrecy, the facility is being constructed by a crew of workers that includes special needs employees -with security clearance.

The NSA facility is larger than most people realize.

The NSA facility is larger than most people realize.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/26/2013 (8 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: NSA, emails, search, freedom, spying, size, Utah, facility


SALT LAKE CITY, UT (Catholic Online) - In the desert expanse of Utah, an army of workers has been toiling for years to construct a secret NSA facility that will process so much data that there is not yet any broadly accepted term coined to quantify it.

The project suggests the NSA is planning to expand, not restrict, its data gathering operations. Since most of the data in the world happens to pass through the United States, it is likely that the NSA will easily be able to capture and harvest this data for whatever purposes they desire.

The workforce on the project is estimated to be somewhere under 7,000 laborers, including 150 from the Army Corps of Engineers and hundreds of individuals with disabilities and special needs.

According to insiders, everyone working on the project, including special needs persons, has security clearance. Workers have been thoroughly vetted, even run through lie detectors. Deaf persons were questioned in sign language, and others learned sign language to facilitate communication between one another on the worksite.

The facility itself is massive and is larger than multiple mega-stadiums combines. The facility is 200 acres in size, seven times the size of the Pentagon. Nobody will say why the facility is so large, other than it simply has to be.

The facility in Utah will simply aggregate data, but the data will be processed at a complimentary facility in Maryland. The Maryland facility, also under construction, is 28 acres and will probably do most of the work of processing the data.

Yet nobody on the outside knows for sure. Even the contractors themselves and the workers are given just the minimum of information required to complete their tasks.

An article in Wired magazine says that once complete, the data center in Utah will be able to hold a yottabyte of information. "A yottabyte is a septillion bytes-so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude," the article said. "Should the agency ever fill the Utah center with a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text."

According to The Register, the NSA and FBI have combined, one yottabyte of data already aggregated from their work to date. The next highest level of data storage will be the brontobyte at 10^27 bytes of data.

Regardless of the actual values involved, they're widely understood to be massive which gives those overseeing them tremendous power. Large quantities of information, even in the form of anonymous metadata, are incredibly useful.

With this holy grail of data within reach, many in Congress as well as watchdogs, are alarmed and are calling for a transparent national discussion on what data will be collected and how it will be used. However, no discussion appears to be forthcoming.
Allegedly, current programs have thwarted at least 50 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 2001.

This may be well and good, but what happens if someday the mass aggregation of data provides the basis for a weapon of even greater terror, perpetrated by the government against the people themselves?

It's impossible to say much because nobody really knows what the power and capability of the facilities will be, or what exactly will be done in those facilities. Yet given human nature, and the tendency of power to corrupt, we can be reasonably assured the functions of this spy facility won't always remain benevolent.    

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