The US Government wasn’t the only federal asset melting down this week.
In between stories on the larger federal failures, the “main stream media” reported that hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment had literally flamed out and melted down at the so-classified-it-makes-your teeth-hurt-to-even-think-about-it NSA facility under construction in Utah. The Wall StreetJournal headlined: Meltdowns Hobble NSA Data Center.
Chronic electrical surges at the massive new data-storage facility central to the NationalSecurity Agency’s spying operation have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery and delayed the center’s opening for a year.
There have been 10 meltdowns in the past 13 months that have prevented the NSA from using computers at its new Utah data-storage center, slated to be the spy agency’s largest.
Think about this. When’s the last time we heard about physical breakdowns at a deeply secret government technology project? Remember Stuxnet, the cyberattack, reportedly conducted by US and Israeli agencies to cause “electrical surges and meltdowns” at top secret Iranian nuclear weapons development facilities?
Call me paranoid, but the first thing that came to mind when I read about the electrical arcing and fires at the NSA was “blowback”, i.e., the costs and consequences of a covert operation suffered by the initiator.
It’s hard to find hard information on the NSA Utah facility. Some reports say that it has capacity for a yottabyte of data. That means Google GOOG +0.55%,Facebook FB +0.12%, Yahoo YHOO +0.83% and Microsoft would fit in the closet. A yottabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. An incomprehensible number, really. A kilobyte, 1000 bytes, is easily digestible, then, growing by a factor of 1000 at each step we have megabytes (kid stuff, MP3 files), gigabytes (fit on your keychain, a DVD worth of data), terabytes (what people meant when they started the “big data” talk – more than you could jam in a spreadsheet, about 5% of the Library of Congress), then peta, exa, zetta, yotta. The world’s largest unclassified databases are in the hundreds of terabytes neighborhood.
So beyond all the “Gee Whiz, That is One Honkin’ Big Data Pile o’ Data“, the NSA’s baby is an irresistible target for anyone who might think it could be used to keep an eye on them. Round up the usual suspects, Chinese, Russian, Middle-eastern, and that weird kid from the math club.
Just like the Iran uranium enrichment centrifuges presented an irresistible target for the Stuxnet crowd, the NSA “Bumblehive” Data Center (spoiler – the site linked is a parody, but it takes a while to tell) is going to be a magnet for the crowd Ronald Reagan and G.W. Bush (who we know know were a pair of liberal RINOs), described as “evil-doers”.
The parody NSA site posted the announcement below, which is not far from the truth, as near as we can tell.
What I find most amazing about all of this is that a search for “Was the NSA hacked?” turns up NOTHING on the subject. Lots about the hacking the NSA is doing, but little or no speculation on what might have been done to them, despite the seemingly obvious questions raised when the largest most secret intelligence facility in history is acting like a fireworks show for reasons no one seems to be able to explain.
I sure hope I don’t become a “person of interest” for asking the question. If I get a full body cavity search on my next trip from SF to LA, I’ll let you know. No pictures.