Analysis: NSA emerging as the world’s most powerful spy agency

James Bamford

James Bamford

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Regular readers of this blog know that the US National Security Agency is in the process of renovating its soon-to-be-unveiled Texas Cryptology Center, a 470,000-square-foot facility that will cost “upwards of $130 million” and be used primarily to store intercepted communications data. They also know that the gigantic Agency, which is tasked with worldwide communications surveillance, as well as communications security, is also building a 1 million square foot data center at Utah’s Camp Williams. Finally, as we reported last August, the NSA is currently laying out a 20-year plan to construct 5.8 million square feet of new working and storage space on its Fort George G. Meade headquarters in Maryland, and staff it with 11,000 people. What does all this mean? Read more of this post

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NSA looking to build 5.8 million square feet by 2029

NSA HQ

NSA HQ

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The US National Security Agency filed a notice in last month’s Federal Register, laying out a 20-year plan to construct 5.8 million square feet of new working and storage space on its Fort George G. Meade headquarters, and staff it with 11,000 people. The Baltimore Business Journal and The Baltimore Sun, which first spotted the notice, said the NSA will not say how many of the 11,000 jobs will be new. The Sun asked the gigantic agency, which already employs over 25,000 people around Baltimore alone, for more details on its plans. But the NSA, which is tasked by the US government with worldwide communications surveillance as well as communications security, merely repeated the information contained in the Federal Register, saying it needs new buildings to “meet mission growth requirements” and to “consolidate” its output. Read more of this post

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NSA spying more aggressive than ever, says Bamford

James Bamford

James Bamford

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The US National Security Agency (NSA) has for the first time in its history appointed a “director of compliance”, whose office will supervise the lawfulness of NSA’s communications surveillance and other spy activities. The Agency, America’s largest intelligence organization, which is tasked with worldwide communications surveillance as well as communications security, has appointed John DeLong to the new post. But in a new column for Salon magazine, James Bamford argues that the gigantic agency is still overstepping its legal framework in both domestic and international spying. Read more of this post

Analysis: Speculation rife about NSA’s STELLAR WIND project

Tamm on the cover of Newsweek

Tamm on the cover of Newsweek

The recent voluntary coming forth of Thomas M. Tamm as the whistleblower behind NSA’s warrantless wiretapping scheme has considerably revived speculation about the Agency’s STELLAR WIND project, which appears to have both oral communications and data surveillance components. A superb analysis published in Ars Technica yesterday reasons that the data surveillance component of project STELLAR WIND, which was first revealed in 2006, is in fact far broader and potentially far more controversial than its wireless wiretapping aspect. The article reminds that, in the past, STELLAR WIND has been referred to in public as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, though “that seems to have been invented after the fact to allow officials to testify before Congress on the aspects of STELLAR WIND that had been exposed without admitting to any of the activities that hadn’t yet come to light”. Read more of this post

A rare look at the new NSA center in Texas

Based on revelations in James Bamford’s new book, The Shadow Factory, Greg Schwartz has produced a rare piece on the new National Security Agency (NSA) data mining facility San Antonio, TX. The gigantic Agency, which is tasked with worldwide communications surveillance, as well as communications security, is in the process of renovating its soon-to-be-unveiled Texas Cryptology Center. The 470,000-square-foot facility will cost “upwards of $130 million” and be used primarily to store intercepted communications data. Bamford speculates that “[c]onsidering how much data can now be squeezed onto a small flash drive, the new NSA building may eventually be able to hold all the information in the world”. Read more of this post