Long ago there was a program called “Total Information Awareness” supported by Adm John Poindexter. Schematically it was conceived as the ultimate intelligence program that would unite all intelligence sources (telephone, video, wire transfer, fingerprint, income tax, and more) in one central location.
It became controversial because of its scope and intrusiveness. Although the NSA is limited in its power to collect domestic information, anyone who has tried to find out if they do run into the wall of national security. I’m for national security. Back in the day (Bush administration) many were shocked at the potential for abuse citing “1984,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and other books that aren’t read much these days where Facebook has stripped millions of their sense of privacy.
“Nineteen Eighty-Four (first published in 1949) by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by theoligarchical dictatorship of the Party. Life in the Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control, accomplished with a political system euphemistically namedEnglish Socialism (Ingsoc), which is administered by a privileged Inner Party elite. Yet they too are subordinated to the totalitarian cult of personality of Big Brother, the deified Party leader who rules with a philosophy that decries individuality and reason as thoughtcrimes; thus the people of Oceania are subordinated to a supposed collective greater good. The protagonist, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record is congruent with the current party ideology. Because of the childhood trauma of the destruction of his family — the disappearances of his parents and sister — Winston Smith secretly hates the Party, and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four
Does the above paragraph sound familiar? It might if we consider our cell phones track us constantly, our Facebook entries look more and more like a dossier. I leave the exposition of the current situation in Utah to the professional staff of Democracy Now!
Exposed: Massive New Spy Center Built to Track Your Emails and Phone Calls
An investigative reporter reveals that the NSA has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: A new exposé in Wired Magazine has revealed new details about how the National Security Agency is quietly building the largest spy center in the country in Bluffdale, Utah, as part of a secret NSA surveillance program codenamed “Stellar Wind.” According to investigative reporter James Bamford, the NSA has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. The Utah spy center will contain near-bottomless databases to store all forms of communication collected by the agency. This includes 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.”
AMY GOODMAN: In addition, the NSA has also created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. James Bamford writes the secret surveillance program “is, in some measure, the realization of the ‘total information awareness’ program created during the first term of the Bush administration,” but later killed by Congress in 2003 due to privacy concerns and public outcry.
James Bamford joins us now from London, England. His article in Wired is called “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say).” Jim Bamford is an investigative journalist who’s been covering the National Security Agency for the last three decades. He came close to standing trial after revealing the NSA’s operations in an explosive 1982 book called The Puzzle Palace. His latest book is the last in his trilogy on the NSA; it’s called The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America.
James Bamford, welcome to Democracy Now! Your piece is so dramatic. I was wondering if you might read the first few paragraphs as we begin.
JAMES BAMFORD: I’ll give it a try.
“The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as ‘the principle,’ marriage to multiple wives.
“Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. The brethren’s complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978—and the number of plural marriages has tripled—so the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.
“But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive, a massive complex so large that it necessitated expanding the town’s boundaries. Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol.
For more of this seven page article go to: http://www.alternet.org/story/154641/exposed%3A_massive_new_spy_center_built_to_track_your_emails_and_phone_calls?akid=8448.901764.ql0dHf&rd=1&t=6