Turns Out The NSA Doesn't Really Want Drop-In Visitors (With Cameras) At Their New Utah Spy Facility

from the though-they're-a-bit-confused-about-it-all dept

The NSA’s new super digital spying facility in Bluffdale, Utah got plenty of attention about a year ago, thanks to a detailed article in Wired Magazine by James Bamford that revealed many details of the center’s existence. Last week, on something of a whim, Forbes reporter Kash Hill, who was nearby for another reason, decided to just drive up to the facility to see what she could see. It turns out that it was surprisingly easy to drive right up to the parking lot (though she later realized she had missed two small signs, saying that the road was private and that trespassing was not allowed). Still, you’d think that the place, even while (or perhaps especially while) under construction, wouldn’t be that easy to access. Amusingly, it appears that whoever the NSA hired to program their entrance sign has a sense of humor:

However, the guards who eventually came to see what Hill was doing didn’t have quite the same sense of humor, asking her repeatedly to delete all the photos she had taken, and taking her ID (and that of the other person in the car who, thankfully, happened to be a knowledgeable lawyer who was able to speak up for their rights). You can read the entire harrowing tale at that link above, but Hill is eventually allowed to leave, though she did agree to delete a couple images that showed the license plate on a guard SUV, realizing that she just wanted to get out of there. The whole story is a bit surreal.

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Comments on “Turns Out The NSA Doesn't Really Want Drop-In Visitors (With Cameras) At Their New Utah Spy Facility”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Off Topic - Kind Of - Watch the Skies

Dear Senator Paul,

On February 20, 2013, you write to John Brennan requesting additional information concerning the administration’s views about whether “the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.”

As members of this Administration have previously indicated, the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and have no intention of doing so. As a policy matter, moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat. We have a long history of using the criminal justice system to incapacitate individuals located in our country who pose a threat to the United States and its interests abroad. Hundreds of individual have been arrested and convicted of terrorism-related offenses in our federal courts.

The question you have posed is entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur and we hope no president will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on Dec. 7, 1941 and Sept. 11, 2001.

Were such an emergency to arise, I would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the President on the scope of his authority.


Eric Holder,
Attorney General

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Off Topic - Kind Of - Watch the Skies

actaully, that response is more useful
than it first appears- it says that yes,
the president has the authority to, however,
it would require a truly serious threat

Makes sense, too. I mean, it doesn’t take much imagination to conceive of a scenario where the president might need to consider the ‘needs of the many over the needs of the few’.

Another hijacked plane on a suicide run toward a crowded football stadium or skyscraper… it would be legitimate to shoot it down even though there are innocent citizens on board, because the cost of not doing so would be far greater. Due process and time would not be an available luxury in such a situation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Seems like “missing” two signs on your way to a location you know to be a sensitive government intelligence facility strains believability. More likely the reporter, coincidently accompanied by a lawyer was there hoping for a confrontation, resulting in a “harrowing” story of their own deliberate manufacture.

I didn’t bother with reading her riveting account as sorting my sock drawer seems like a better use of my time than indulging her concocted story telling.

Anonymous Coward says:

I knew a guy who worked at one of these centers back in the 50’s. “This is only the half that you can see” sure aint far from the truth. The NSA has been monitoring every single electronic communication possible since people started sending them. To think this practice, and for that matter this type of facility, is anything new would be foolish.

If you think this can’t possibly be true, go out and buy a brand new laptop / phone / tablet (wont matter) and pay in cash – better even if you don’t buy retail – better even if you “happen upon one”. Do nothing to input any sort of identifiable information indicating the device is owned / seen / acknowledge / known to exist to your persons. Then spend the next few weeks doing nothing but researching terrorist related content, use all the good keywords like BOMB, CELL, SLEEPER, ACTIVATE, DETONATORS, etc.. Jump around towns, use free wifi, travel to neighboring states and even after all that effort to remain anonymous before long a nice man in a black suit will come to visit your home to “ask some questions.” (Only recommend doing this if you want quick access to the NO FLY LIST)

Anyway.. it’s always nice seeing your non-ratified tax dollars being used to further trample whatever microscopic shreds of freedom and rights are left (probably none).


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