Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Doubts Remain in the US over NSA Data Centre in Utah

Drive by the National Guard base in Bluffdale, Washington - just south of Salt Lake City - and you will notice a group of nondescript buildings that seem anything but out of place at a US military installation. However, among those buildings is a $1.7 billion data centre operated by the National Security Agency (NSA). Its location, combined with revelations about NSA spying back in 2013, have plenty of Americans suspicious about what goes on at Bluffdale. Doubts remain despite assurances by government officials that the facility is not being used to spy on citizens.

In an effort to present a cohesive message and unified communications, the government recently sponsored a national security conference at the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City. The conference included NSA Utah director Dave Winberg and Utah Congressman Rep. Chris Stewart. Both attempted to assuage American fears by explaining that the data centre was not used for any domestic spying.

Stewart claims that the data centre only provides support services for NASA activities relating to foreign cyber security threats. He told conference attendees that the centre was used to provide development services to several other NSA operations as well as language translation, description, analysis and reporting. He did not explicitly say any part of the data centre’s activities were not used for domestic spying efforts, merely saying that domestic spying was ‘not the purpose’ of the data centre.

The purposely evasive language used by both Stewart and Winberg was allegedly necessary because of the secure nature of the facility's mission, infrastructure and actual work. But such evasiveness only leads to further speculation among US citizens who still believe, by and large, that the NSA is spying on them. The conference did little to reassure the American public about the nature of the data centre.

Nothing to See Here

As far as data centre news is concerned, the NSA would likely prefer that the world take a 'nothing to see here' approach to operations in Bluffdale. They certainly don't want their own citizens continuing to be suspicious. But how can they not be, given the information made public by whistle-blower Edward Snowden? Mr Snowden confirmed the fears of millions of Americans when he revealed just how much data is being collected by the US government.

Interestingly enough, Rep. Stewart blasted Snowden, calling him one of the "most destructive traitors America has ever seen." He went on to say that those who support Snowden do so only because they do not understand the damage he did to the country. However, that may be only half of the equation. Snowden's supporters also don't understand why the US government is spying on its citizens despite a constitutional obligation not to do so. And until the US government comes clean, their citizens will continue to be suspicious. As for the NSA, it has no plans to abandon the facility in light of its mission to protect the US government and its people.

Source:  News Factor  http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtml?story_id=10200CF6ZSG0

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