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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Inside the "Star Trek" Inspired HQ of the NSA

In case you wonder how the Surveillance State spends the money which they take from us:

Inside the mind of NSA chief Gen Keith Alexander

A lavish Star Trek room he had built as part of his 'Information Dominance Center' is endlessly revealing
Glenn Greenwald, Sunday 15 September 2013 08.14 EDT

It has been previously reported that the mentality of NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander is captured by his motto "Collect it All". It's a get-everything approach he pioneered first when aimed at an enemy population in the middle of a war zone in Iraq, one he has now imported onto US soil, aimed at the domestic population and everyone else.

But a perhaps even more disturbing and revealing vignette into the spy chief's mind comes from a new Foreign Policy article describing what the journal calls his "all-out, barely-legal drive to build the ultimate spy machine". The article describes how even his NSA peers see him as a "cowboy" willing to play fast and loose with legal limits in order to construct a system of ubiquitous surveillance. But the personality driving all of this - not just Alexander's but much of Washington's - is perhaps best captured by this one passage, highlighted by PBS' News Hour in a post entitled: "NSA director modeled war room after Star Trek's Enterprise". The room was christened as part of the "Information Dominance Center":

"When he was running the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the Information Dominance Center. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a 'whoosh' sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather 'captain's chair' in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen.

"'Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,' says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits." ...

The Verge
...The data visualized and shown off at the Information Dominance Center seems to have been of varying usefulness. At one point, a former official recalls Alexander giving a briefing on how closely terrorists were connected via communications networks. "Later, we had a chance to review the information," he says. "It turns out that all [that] those guys were connected to were pizza shops." ...

Eisenhower was the last President to have the sense of self-assurance and knowledge to stand up to the Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex.

Let us take back the country before it is too late.

photos:  The Guardian

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