| Opinion/The Review

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Meltdowns metaphor

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. EPA diktats: Pushing back
  2. Sunday pops
  3. The Box
  4. Regional growth
  5. Kittanning Laurels & Lances
  6. Saturday essay: Garden chances
  7. Jamestown revealed: History comes alive
  8. Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
  9. The Connellsville Redevelopment Authority: Facts & findings
  10. So, where’s the I-70 ‘Welcome to Pennsylvania’ sign on the Pa.-W.Va. border?
  11. Intrepid salute