Hindering the National Security Agency's scarily awesome high-tech prowess is a rather mundane difficulty — explosive electrical meltdowns delaying its new Utah facility for storing vast U.S. spying data.
Ten times in the past 14 months, electrical surges at the classified, cumbersomely named National Security Agency Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center have caused nearly $1 million in damage, according to a United Press International account based largely on Wall Street Journal reporting.
Overseeing construction, the Army Corps of Engineers says contractors don't understand these “arc-fault failures” well enough to explain or fix them. Contractors say they do. Project officials say the contractors' fix won't prevent more such failures. The NSA maintains the failures “have been mitigated.” But The Journal found evidence of corners being cut to “fast-track” construction.
Continuously using enough electricity for a city of 20,000, the center reportedly will store trillions of gigabytes of data drawn from emails, cell phone calls, online searches, parking receipts, travel itineraries, even bookstore purchases. The NSA maintains the data center won't be used illegally — but once open, it will only deepen concerns about government tracking millions of innocent Americans.
This project does not engender confidence that the NSA is any better at avoiding violations of Americans' constitutional rights than it is at avoiding electrical meltdowns.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.