Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications.-James Bamford
So a story broke this past week confirming everything reported in a story from the spring of 2012. Nothing in Greenwald’s NSA article is news to anyone who had read Bamford’s incredible piece in Wired. The Utah Data Center will be up-and-humming sometime this fall. I don’t think then that it’s much of a coincidence the Verizon story came out this summer, nor to whom it was leaked. They didn’t really mind him piddling around at Salon, but I’m guessing the Guardian promotion was a step or three too far.*
Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.-Greenwald
The “contents of…conversation[s]” aren’t covered by the court orders, but don’t worry, they are listening to your calls and reading your chats and emails, despite what this guy says. The Utah Data Center will have the capacity to store everything. You think they’re spending $2 billion dollars out in the Utah desert to store a copy of your phone bill? No. All your Googling, skyping, chatting, phone calls, texting, sexting, credit card purchases, ATM withdrawals and meal-time status updates along with everything else will be kept there. Some speculate that so much information will drown the authorities and therefore they won’t be able to sift through it all let alone actually thwart any terror attacks. Well, of course that’s true, but all those yottabytes of information will prove incredibly useful for many other things. Not least of which is prosecuting individuals in the court of public opinion after the government has already murdered them.
Beyond on all that though, the elected in Washington continue doing these horrible things because they can and it’s profitable on a scale your middle-class mind can’t even begin to comprehend. It’s even easy. Did you see the mess over healthcare? Bothersome. How can you move money to certain groups with less hassle? They spend trillions in ways that cannot be questioned and on threats that have a probability of occurring at near zero. The whole security state apparatus then is the apotheosis of American work-life. It’s our finest creation to date. In the absence of having anything productive to do, it’s an entire industry pretending to be busy. And sadly, the only metrics they have to impress their boss at the quarterly meetings are lives invaded or destroyed.