When it opens this fall, the facility will be the NSA’s largest data storage center in the U.S. Just don’t ask Utah officials, and certainly not the residents of tiny Bluffdale, just north of the new center, to tell you exactly what will go on inside. They either don’t know, or aren’t saying. And the NSA is famously tight-lipped.
“We know it’s a spy center. But who are they spying on?” said Connie Robbins, an upholstery shop owner who lives in Bluffdale, a community of 8,000 some 25 miles south of Salt Lake City that is known for its rodeo and annual Old West Days.
The dearth of information has perpetuated a mystery that has spawned dozens of theories and a spoof website that even includes a phony code name for the facility: “Bumblehive,” a play on Utah’s nickname of the “Beehive State.”
Last month’s revelation that the NSA is collecting millions of U.S. phone records along with digital communications stored by nine major Internet providers illustrates how aggressively personal information is being congregated and analyzed – and shines a brighter light on what will be going on in secret at the Utah facility, scheduled to open in October.
NSA officials say the center will play a key role in the nation’s effort to protect national security networks, and allow U.S. authorities to monitor for potential cyberthreats. In an email, agency spokeswoman Vanee Vines said that “many unfounded allegations have been made about the planned activities” of the center.
“NSA would like to confirm, on the record, that the Utah Data Center is a state-of-the-art data facility designed to support the U.S. intelligence community’s efforts to further strengthen and protect the nation. Its operations will be lawfully conducted in accordance with U.S. laws and policies,” Vines wrote.
She provided no additional details, however.<< previous 1 2 3 4 5 next >>
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