Surveillance state: Fox News watched by NSA, questioned by FBI

Utah Data Center
New NSA data mining facility in Bluffdale, Utah.

The National Security Agency’s massive, big brother-on-steroids, data mining spy facility in Bluffdale, Utah is almost complete, bringing new concerns over the “liberty, security, and privacy” of American citizens.

And a Fox News team experienced, first hand, a run in with our growing surveillance state during its report on the new spy center.

The enormous facility south of Salt Lake City is “designed to support the Intelligence Community’s efforts to further strengthen and protect the nation,” the NSA told Fox News.

Just how big is this super-secret facility going to be? “Some published reports suggest it could hold 5 zettabytes of data. (Just one zettabyte is the equivalent of about 62 billion stacked iPhones 5’s– that stretches past the moon,” the article described.

While the NSA has said it will not store data on American citizens at the Utah Data Center facility, NSA whistleblowers aren’t so sure, Fox News reported.

Two former NSA employees questioned the potential for abuse that goes along with the “government’s stunning new capacity to collect, store and analyze data.”

The facility “raises the most serious questions about the vast amount of data that could be kept in one place for many, many different sources,” NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake told Fox News.

BizPac Review reported in December on NSA whistleblower William Binney’s concerns with the Utah spy center :

[Binney] said if a U.S. citizen “becomes a target for whatever reason – they are targeted by the government, the government can go in, or the FBI, or other agencies of the government, they can go into their database, pull all that data collected on them over the years, and we analyze it all.” Binney said it was this — the government engaging in data mining, turning the United States into a “surveillance state” — that led to his resignation.

Validating Binney’s concerns on the “capability of the U.S. government to use information to trace people, their relationship to others and to raise suspicions about their activities and intentions,” was the Fox News incident with the FBI after flying a helicopter over the top-secret Utah facility:

Two weeks after our filming, the helicopter pilot reported to our Fox News team that he had been visited by the FBI on a “national security matter.”

The pilot said, according to the FBI agents, that the NSA had taken photos of the helicopter once it made several flyovers. These photos allowed the NSA to identify the make and manufacturer of the helicopter in California who, in turn, told the NSA who operates it in the Salt Lake City area.

The FBI wanted to know if we had the proper air space clearances to flyover the site, which the Fox News team did. Satisfied that the pilot was not flying “terrorists” over the site, the questioning concluded. While the pilot passed along the Fox News contact information, there was no further inquiries.

Watch Catherine Herridge’s report on the Utah spy facility with exclusive aerial footage from Fox News:


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