Storyboard Podcast: James Bamford on How the NSA’s New Spy Center Might Know Everything

Photo: Name Withheld; Digital Manipulation: Jesse Lenz

Big Brother is watching. And when we say “big,” we mean big―the National Security Agency is building a surveillance center in the Utah desert that’s five times larger than the U.S. Capitol building. It’s costing the American government $2 billion, and the finished, secret-brimming product will sprawl 1 million square feet.

Storyboard Podcast:
Episode 81

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If the new center’s sheer size isn’t intimidating enough, consider the fact that it could potentially store enough data that would equal 500 quintillion pages of information. Where
does this information come from? From us. Satellites and hidden monitoring rooms funnel email addresses, Twitter accounts, and phone conversations from everyday people to government agents. This massive amount of data will be sent to the Utah center, which starts operations next September, for storage and analysis.

Why is such an invasive data hub necessary, and who’s to blame for this threat to privacy? A probing government, terrorists that prompted higher security, or apathetic citizens? Author James Bamford talks to Senior Editor Adam Rogers about the new center’s technology, and how he managed to penetrate the ultra secretive agency for his story in the April issue of Wired.

Read Bamford’s story here.