Forbes Publishes Blueprints Of NSA's Massive Datacenter In Utah

from the well,-look-at-that dept

Kash Hill, over at Forbes has a very impressive scoop: publishing the blueprints to the giant NSA data center in Bluffdale, Utah. While the NSA had been at least mildly public in admitting that the data center existed, it really started to get attention back when James Bamford wrote about the center for Wired. Hill, who actually tried to do a drop in visit to the as-yet-unopened data center (without much luck) a few months ago, somehow got her hands on the blueprints:

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Hill's article describes in more details what the blueprints show -- including the interesting claim that many of the previous estimations of how much data the center could hold may have been wildly off-base (as in the estimates were way, way too high -- but the center can still hold a ton of data, and that will only increase as tech improves).


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 5:41am

    I do not approve

    All my tax dollars that are getting funneled into this I want back... NOW!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 5:54am

    It's not wildly off base. It's just that no one bothered to read most of those blueprints have access to "TUNNELS".

    That's only the above-ground prints. Wait until someone leaks what's under the building.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:01am

    Re:

    Uh, assuming that they have basic plumbing, I would HATE to be the guy that leaks what they have under the building.

     

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  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:03am

    Exactly how have you verified these?

    Could be totally fabricated for intentional NSA dis-info, just as the alleged Powerpoint slides that Snowden supplied may be. We don't know. When you've no way to verify or falsify info, don't believe it at all! -- I bet the purpose of this "leak" is to excite weenies into believing they're getting a glimpse at secrets.

    In any case, this is completely useless for regaining our lost privacy.


    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

     

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  5.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:08am

    This is quite fascinating. I wonder if the Obama Administration is going to jump on this and make a speech about how important national security is.

     

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  6.  
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    saulgoode (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:10am

    Re: I do not approve

    We should at least be granted access to it. Why should we have to pay for services such as Dropbox or Mega when all those files are being stored in a taxpayer-funded facility? Why should foundations such as Archive.org have to spend millions hosting a few dozen terabytes of data when we've are paying for the government to store hundreds of millions times that amount?

    Also, what law authorizes the government to make copies of all of the copyrighted works that invariably end up being stored on these servers?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:11am

    Not to lower the tone at all

    But doesn't that building look incredibly phallus shaped?

     

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  8.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:15am

    Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

    "I bet the purpose of this "leak" is to excite weenies into believing they're getting a glimpse at secrets."

    Yet you cum over yourself any time someone suggests that your Google conspiracy theories are true, never waiting a second to confirm if any accusation is true (and they're very often not). Double standards again. You must have been doing some serious yoga over the weekend from the stretching you've been doing this week. You could just relax and stop obsessively attacking the site until something defensible appears...

    "In any case, this is completely useless for regaining our lost privacy."

    What lost privacy? You just said yourself that you don't believe that any of the evidence that your privacy has been violated hasn't been fabricated.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:15am

    There comes a point where the public disclosure of government information extends too far. The publication of blueprints associated with a facility is perilously close to the line.

     

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  10.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

    "In any case, this is completely useless for regaining our lost privacy."


    That may be true, but journalists are raising awareness by reporting everything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Wally (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:20am

    Re: Not to lower the tone at all

    Looks like a bean actually....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: Not to lower the tone at all

    More like a bratwurst.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    Nice blueprints. Now ask yourselves: why does the public need to know this? What purpose does releasing this serve?

    I get it that people are pissed with the NSA, but, honestly, this isn't interesting nor relevant. It is a distraction, actually.

    Techdirt should focus and stay on topic. This here is irrelevant headline grabbing garbage, spearheaded by Forbes no less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    Just waiting for the inevitable "journalist declared as enemy of the state" for publishing these.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    DS, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

    They were published on Forbes.com. The article says so in the title. TechDirt is reporting on a story that Forbes.com posted. Anyone who clicked on the link to the story can verify that yes indeed, Forbes did publish said story.

    So not only did TechDirt verify that Forbes.com posted said article, they thoughtfully included the link so a reader can view the original article.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    FM Hilton, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:49am

    What's the use?

    "Nice blueprints. Now ask yourselves: why does the public need to know this? What purpose does releasing this serve?

    I get it that people are pissed with the NSA, but, honestly, this isn't interesting nor relevant. It is a distraction, actually.

    Techdirt should focus and stay on topic. This here is irrelevant headline grabbing garbage, spearheaded by Forbes no less."


    Guess what, you idiot: WE PAID FOR THIS.

    We have the RIGHT as taxpayers to see what we're paying for, even when it's being used against us in so many ways.

    Now go back to your troll cave and shut up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:50am

    Looking at the satellite images I have, at least the outside is correct. I've matched the scale and it lays over top perfectly.

    I'll see what else I can find...

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Jasmine Charter, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 6:54am

    Can the REAL blueprints please stand up...

    What in the world makes anyone think that these are the REAL blueprints?!

    And really... they don't think it can hold that much in a world where I can buy a 4TB for $150?

    Of course... it's the government, so they'll pay $1500 for the same drive.

    Our tax dollars HARD at work!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 7:00am

    Re:

    I agree with your sentiment, but take it a bit further having worked within a government contractor facility wherein missiles and EO systems of all types were developed and manufactured (virtually all of which are at or near the top of the list of critical munitions and avionics). A key security concern was the public disclosure of facility information in order to forestall possible intrusions into the facility by persons bent on the destruction of manufacturing and product support equipment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 7:01am

    Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

    I agree that it is useless for most people. However, if you are planning terror, the blueprints can probably help you quite a bit to maximize damage and casualties... It is a serious security risk and if anything it puts more people working there at risk than the theoretic "people" Snowdens leaks might have risked so far.

    If she gets away with this without severe repercussions, we will know that something fishy is going on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re: What's the use?

    Taxpayers paid in part for the equipment used by the military to provide for national defense. Should we simply publish the complete manufacturing data packages for such equipment in the name of transparency? Of course not, and with good reason.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re: Not to lower the tone at all

    Kind of a dick move from them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    FM Hilton, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Security and that stuff

    Sure, we have the blueprints (or so they claim) and we supposedly know what it looks like from those.

    Have you ever tried to get into a secured area? Not easy, and I don't think that the bad guys would try to. In fact, the article states that they did try to get into it, and it wasn't possible, according to the other linked article:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130305/03134422200/turns-out-nsa-doesnt-really-want-d rop-in-visitors-with-cameras-their-new-utah-spy-facility.shtml

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

    Interesting how any government leak is construed as being a threat to national security, yet these same people don't consider it a threat to our security whenever they breach our privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 7:23am

    Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

    "is to excite weenies" - It worked... look how excited you are.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 7:25am

    Re:

    Being an construction electrical engineer I have had the pleasure of working on power plants, chemical plants, water & sewer, and secure government communication facilities.

    As far as the secure government facilities the civil, mechanical, and electrical plans are completely useless to anyone except for finding ones way around the building and the location of the bathrooms and with guards at the gate that information is utterly useless.

    As far as any other room area designation, besides mechanical rooms for A/C and restrooms which require plumbing connections, the one thing one can be assured of is that after occupation nothing is as shown on the plans which is not because of some super secret but simply because of bureaucratic power elitist changes which screws up all construction and design drawing even to those with a need to know of how to bill the damn thing.

    Bottom under best of bureaucratic conditions all you have here is a basic outline of the building which could be used for any computer related purpose.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    FirstPersonPerspective, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    FPS map, anyone? Someone bust out a level editor.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: I do not approve

    Sweet! The NSA vs the RIAA. (pulls up comfy chair and popcorn)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    McCrea (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: What's the use?

    Sure it should be transparent. Couldn't imagine what your reason to hide it. Weapons are deterrents, no need to hide them, you actually want to claim you have more than you do. Also anyone who has been attached to the military has seen foolish wastes of money than could be mitigated simply by knowing they were extra eyes on them. (My first case, $40,000 to deck out the inside of a small prefab in painted Styrofoam for aesthetics purposes only -- a coat of black paint would have looked the same; $70 would have been more than enough)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    michael, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 9:03am

    "Nice blueprints. Now ask yourselves: why does the public need to know this? What purpose does releasing this serve?"

    This is NEVER a question that should be asked. The question should always be, "Why SHOULDN'T this information be public? Who will die as a result of this information?"

    And if the answer (as in the case here) is no one, release the information. And if the answer is someone, then MAYBE it shouldn't be released.

    This isn't the government's facility, or the NSA'S facility. THIS IS THE U.S. TAXPAYERS' FACILITY.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    McCrea (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    Re:

    LOL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Re:

    'Now ask yourselves: why does the public need to know this? What purpose does releasing this serve?'

    Oh about the same 'need' that scooping up every single call/email they can get their hands on serves I'd imagine, that of satisfying people's endless curiosity, and the same 'purpose' for doing the same, that of 'because they could'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: What's the use?

    Should we simply publish the complete manufacturing data packages for such equipment in the name of transparency?


    If that equipment is being deployed against US citizens, then yes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 9:31am

    Re:

    This is NEVER a question that should be asked. The question should always be, "Why SHOULDN'T this information be public? Who will die as a result of this information?"


    Precisely this. Secrecy culture in government has become so incredibly toxic that the they treat everything as if it should only be revealed on a need-to-know basis.

    That's completely backwards. We are their employers. If they need to keep secrets from us, they need to justify doing that. We don't ever need to justify why we should have access to the information.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Exactly how have you verified these?

    Privacy is wibbly wobbly timey wimey, while national security is the baby that everyone wants to protect to avoid the moniker of traitor. It is simply a lot easier to give politicians hard data on effect of counter-terrorist successes rather than giving data on how much privacy is getting intruded. The main issue is that you need to "breach" privacy to stop terrorism and it will therefore be seen as a collateral for the greater good.

    In this case, the threat is a lot more specific and the leak much less useful for joe citizen than Snowdens. But since bigger american corporations and their international reputation is the primary concern of NSA, they are likely to not care about this potential threat to human life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Chris Brand, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 9:48am

    Press releases about FISA court orders ?

    "the [NSA]... issued a press release on Friday announcing that it got the legal sign-off for a fresh batch of “telephony metadata in bulk” from companies such as Verizon and AT&T"

    Wait a minute - so they are allowed to issue a press report about one of these oh-so-secret orders from the FISA court, but the companies on the receiving end aren't even allowed to admit that these kind of orders exist ? I thought they said that telling people about these things was "aiding the enemy" or something...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 10:19am

    Big Brother is ^

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Look at what we all help fund with our tax money, so that it can be turned around an used against the very people who funded it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    Re:

    I think it is funny actually , the NSA suposedly so secret yet there building blueprints can be accessed, maybe this is why it was done to show how silly the whole process is, and if you look at the site where this building is built there is a nice hill to one side just past the building, with funny looking things all over it, looks like sir vents to me but i may be wrong.... I don't doubt that this building is not massive as people thought it was but where are the plans for the stuff underground, do they seriously think we are that stupid that we do not know there will be many more Rooms underneath this building or next to it under that tiny little hillock.

    And just to show how crazy it is to think only those rooms above ground would be used for data storage, most server farms have vaults underground as they are easier to maintain the humidity and temp when it is a constant a few meters down.

     

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  40.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re:

    They're preparing accommodations for Ms. Hill next to the room they've got reserved for Mr. Greenwald.

     

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  41.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jul 25th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    Would be a good Day to see Millions of Americans all March on their filthy Data Center.Politicians are selling out our Future Freedoms........... Trashing all the parts that gives us Freedom.
    Love to take part in a very serious March on that filth Center.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

    Kash Hill. Sounds like a rap group.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2013 @ 10:20pm

    Oh, look. It's a giant kidney sucking in information and spewing out just enough to piss all over us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2013 @ 1:55am

    Re: Re: Re: What's the use?

    If that equipment is being deployed against US citizens, then yes.

    If they were released they WOULD be deployed against the US, that is why they are not. !!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Re:

    Like I have been saying all along...pick a date. I'll be there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 26th, 2013 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What's the use?

    Well, then, nothing is lost -- as the equipment we're talking about here is being deployed against US citizens anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Hard to drive, Jul 27th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    Re: Can the REAL blueprints please stand up...

    Your PC HD and their redundant RAID systems not equal. Drives in high end blade systems are much more rugged and reliable (in theory). Still; $1500 drive should at least come with a free Coke....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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