Bomb Threat at NSA’s Massive Top-Secret Data Center Halts Construction

Photo: Name Withheld; Digital Manipulation: Jesse Lenz

A bomb threat at the NSA’s spanking new massive data center in Utah has led authorities to evacuate workers, according to the Associated Press.

Bomb-sniffing dogs have reportedly been brought in to search for anything suspicious. Workers were evacuated around 11:30 Monday morning.

The facility, being built at Utah’s Camp Williams, was the focus of an extensive recent Wired article written by NSA expert James Bamford.

Under construction by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractors with top-secret clearances since January, the controversial, heavily fortified $2 billion Utah Data Center is slated to be up and running by September 2013. Its purpose will be “to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks,” according to Bamford.

Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.