Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

NSA's Utah Spy Supercenter Crippled By Power Surges
ZeroHedge ^ | 10/8/2013 | Tyler Durden

Posted on 10/08/2013 10:19:57 AM PDT by mojito

...[W]e ran a story in March 2012 which exposed the NSA's unprecedented domestic espionage project, codenamed Stellar Wind, and specifically the $1.4+ billion data center spy facility located in Bluffdale, Utah, which spans more than one million square feet, uses 65 megawatts of energy (enough to power a city of more than 20,000), and can store exabytes or even zettabytes of data (a zettabyte is 100 million times larger than all the printed material in the Library of Congress), consisting of every single electronic communication in the world, whether captured with a warrant or not. Yet despite all signs to the contrary, Uber-general Keith Alexander and his spy army are only human, and as the WSJ reports, the NSA's Bluffdale data center - whose interior may not be modeled for the bridge of the Starship Enterprise - has been hobbled by chronic electrical surges as a result of at least 10 electrical meltdowns in the past 13 months.

Such meltdowns have prevented the NSA from using computers at its new Utah data-storage center which then supposedly means that not every single US conversation using electronic media or airwaves in the past year has been saved for posterity and the amusement of the NSA's superspooks.

This being the NSA, of course, not even a blown fuse is quite the same as it would be in the normal world: "One project official described the electrical troubles—so-called arc fault failures—as "a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box." These failures create fiery explosions, melt metal and cause circuits to fail, the official said. The causes remain under investigation, and there is disagreement whether proposed fixes will work, according to officials and project documents. One Utah project official said the NSA planned this week to turn on some of its computers there."

(Excerpt) Read more at zerohedge.com ...


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; US: Utah
KEYWORDS: bigbrother; bigfail; energy; nsa; policestate; surveillancestate; tyranny
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-67 next last
NSA: 0bmamCare + spooks = fail.
1 posted on 10/08/2013 10:19:57 AM PDT by mojito
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: mojito

Power design in datacenters is pretty much settled science. Sounds like incompetence to me.


2 posted on 10/08/2013 10:22:19 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Um...

Good.


3 posted on 10/08/2013 10:23:18 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: driftdiver

Probably their Wind Generators are bad!!!


4 posted on 10/08/2013 10:23:43 AM PDT by tallyhoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: driftdiver

FedGov? Check.

Incompetent engineering... Check.


5 posted on 10/08/2013 10:24:07 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (I will not comply.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mojito
Dare I say it....


6 posted on 10/08/2013 10:24:17 AM PDT by MarineBrat (Better dead than red!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: driftdiver
Power design in datacenters is pretty much settled science. Sounds like incompetence to me.

Or deniability. If any authority demands to know what data they are storing they can just say "the power surge ate it".

7 posted on 10/08/2013 10:24:37 AM PDT by 6ppc (It's torch and pitchfork time)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Apache Indian burial ground. Uh Oh!

Just kidding (Maybe)


8 posted on 10/08/2013 10:24:43 AM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Maybe we had some patriot electricians involved.


9 posted on 10/08/2013 10:27:31 AM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito
I wonder how much of the electrical infrastructure came from Chinese companies?
10 posted on 10/08/2013 10:27:52 AM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito; Dead Corpse; driftdiver; MarineBrat

11 posted on 10/08/2013 10:29:22 AM PDT by Old Sarge (And Good Evening, Agent Smith, wherever you are...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Brad from Tennessee
I wonder how much of the electrical infrastructure came from Chinese companies?

Likeliest scenario!

12 posted on 10/08/2013 10:29:29 AM PDT by Albion Wilde ("Remember... the first revolutionary was Satan."--Russian Orthodox Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: mojito
"Pull the plug! Pull the plug!"


13 posted on 10/08/2013 10:33:44 AM PDT by Paine in the Neck (Is John's moustache long enough YET?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Love those Electrical Engineers out there in the West! Did they do it? To tell the truth ... impossible to know ... lol.


14 posted on 10/08/2013 10:34:50 AM PDT by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: driftdiver
or dare one say ... sabotage.
15 posted on 10/08/2013 10:36:15 AM PDT by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: driftdiver
...or maybe the State of Utah is having second thoughts about hosting the spawn of Satan? I hope the whole place burns up.

Oh and, "Hi , NSA!!!!"

16 posted on 10/08/2013 10:36:19 AM PDT by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America (If Americans were as concerned for their country as Egyptians are, Obama would be ousted!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Albion Wilde

that’s why you don’t hire illegals to build stuff LOL


17 posted on 10/08/2013 10:39:37 AM PDT by max americana (fired liberals in our company last election, and I laughed while they cried (true story))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: max americana

Bttt


18 posted on 10/08/2013 10:40:29 AM PDT by ConservativeMan55 (In America, we don't do pin pricks. But sometimes we elect them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Somehow tied into the Obamacare’s new website.


19 posted on 10/08/2013 10:43:50 AM PDT by BulletBobCo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Hope the damn thing has a total meltdown - along with the idiots who designed it.


20 posted on 10/08/2013 10:45:04 AM PDT by ZULU (Impeach that Bastard Barrack Hussein Obama)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Crying semi-real tears here. May this spy facility be forever cursed.


21 posted on 10/08/2013 10:47:07 AM PDT by ChocChipCookie ("Demons run when a good man goes to war.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Another failure in Oblabbas’ attempt to suck up all the power in the nation, OOPS


22 posted on 10/08/2013 10:47:14 AM PDT by JayAr36 (When an American dies Obama lies. And lies, and lies and lies forever.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MarineBrat

23 posted on 10/08/2013 10:47:50 AM PDT by Ken H (First rule of gun safety - have a gun)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: driftdiver

Total incompetence. Arc faults?! Those are COLOSSAL electrical failures. If you’ve never had the pleasure of being in a room when an arc fault occurs, count yourself lucky. The sound is deafening and you can feel the heat from 20 feet away. These are either deliberate sabotage events or complete incompetence on the part of the contractor. With automatic transfer switches, you have to wrench down the connectors with such torque that they make special wrenches to do just that. Any air gaps in a system carrying that much juice means instant death for anyone unlucky enough to be around when it arcs.

This is a poorly designed system all around, according to the WSJ article. They’re having cooling and generator systems issues? Having stood up 3 datacenters in my professional career, I can tell you that those sort of oversights would NOT be tolerated in the private sector. Those are career ending engineering oversights.

And I can personally tell you that if you can’t provide adequate cooling to a data center, you’re just asking for a hardware meltdown, esp. on the systems the NSA is purportedly using.


24 posted on 10/08/2013 10:48:23 AM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: rarestia
I'm not sure if I prefer total and utter incompetence, or sabotage.

It's one or the other.

25 posted on 10/08/2013 10:59:45 AM PDT by mojito (Zero, our Nero.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: mojito

NSA gets the bug-ZAP!


26 posted on 10/08/2013 11:00:02 AM PDT by shego
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

Maybe somebody sprinkled holy water on the computers.


27 posted on 10/08/2013 11:00:02 AM PDT by shego
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Payback for Stuxnet?


28 posted on 10/08/2013 11:06:17 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Never fear, the one in San Antonio took up the slack.


29 posted on 10/08/2013 11:06:40 AM PDT by bgill (This reply was mined before it was posted.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Good! Let’s pump enough power surge in there to have the whole place self destruct!


30 posted on 10/08/2013 11:08:03 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog
“This summer, the Army Corps of Engineers dispatched its Tiger Team, officials said. In an initial report, the team said the cause of the failures remained unknown in all but two instances. The team said the government has incomplete information about the design of the electrical system that could pose new problems if settings need to change on circuit breakers. The report concluded that efforts to “fast track” the Utah project bypassed regular quality controls in design and construction.”

“....on Sept. 23, the contractors reported they had uncovered the “root cause” of the electrical failures, citing a “consensus” among 30 investigators, which didn’t include government officials. Their proposed solution was the same device they had already begun installing.”

Hmmm, you’ve found the “root cause” of the problem but the cause of the failures remain “unknown”?

Most curious.

31 posted on 10/08/2013 11:15:28 AM PDT by mojito (Zero, our Nero.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Utah is also subject to dirty rains, where windstorms pick up tons of salt off of the west desert and then drop it against the mountains in rainstorms. The amount of salt in the rain causes substations to arc and shut down.

No doubt there are many in the NSA who love this country and its people, but let’s face it, government is no longer the friend or the servant of the American people.


32 posted on 10/08/2013 11:18:39 AM PDT by lurk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: driftdiver

Sounds like prayers answered. Too stupid to build a working data center that holds all our data.
Even 1984 used a meritocracy via exams so that the top 2% were the smartest.


33 posted on 10/08/2013 11:27:45 AM PDT by tbw2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: driftdiver

Exactly. They are just incompetent or hired the people who designed Amazon’s VA data center.


34 posted on 10/08/2013 11:37:10 AM PDT by matt04
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mojito
"consisting of every single electronic communication in the world, whether captured with a warrant or not"

THE FOURTH AMENDMENT MAKES THIS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!!

35 posted on 10/08/2013 11:38:04 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Need health care? Dial 1-800-F1UCK-YO to reach Obama's hotline)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

Easy fix:
Shut it down, turn it off forever.


36 posted on 10/08/2013 11:38:08 AM PDT by Huskerfan44 (Huskerfan44)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

This is a lie.

This is a problem that is solved by throwing money at it.

There is no shortage of money in the BlackOps program.

This article is some weird, thinly veiled (if it is veiled at all) propaganda planted story, though I don’t know for what purpose.

Appropriations Bill lobbying?

NSA attempting to buy the civilian regional electric company and power grid to maintain operational control?

False cover story to “replace” equipment that isn’t broken so they can use the old equipment for even blacker ops?

At this point in the decline in the democratic republic, why bother making any publicity, if not a false cover story for some nefarious deeds? No one would dare call the NSA out on it anyway, heck no one but a few thousand leeches in DC and the DoD/NSA power structure would even know it existed.

This is akin to the Iranians claiming to have only 300 centrifuges hidden in the Fordow mountain tunnels, while the satellite activity indicated well over 3000 centrifuge deliveries.

No one believed Tehran either.


37 posted on 10/08/2013 11:41:31 AM PDT by JerseyHighlander
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

38 posted on 10/08/2013 11:42:34 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Need health care? Dial 1-800-F1UCK-YO to reach Obama's hotline)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito
One project official described the electrical troubles—so-called arc fault failures—as "a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box.

Umm...arc faults in a data center? Suddenly carrying a cup of coffee into a raised-floor facility sort of pales into insignificance. I'd love to know how much gear was on line when it happened. I don't have to wonder what happened to that gear. Crispy critters.

39 posted on 10/08/2013 11:44:23 AM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito

I can only hope the NSA system was developed by the same nincompoops that designed and developed healthcare.gov. In that case, we are all home free.


40 posted on 10/08/2013 11:50:28 AM PDT by informavoracious (Of course I want people to have healthcare, I just didn't know I was the one who would be paying...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: informavoracious

Failures like this only bring on the fix to every govt problem:

more employees
more budget
more contractors
more consultants


41 posted on 10/08/2013 11:52:12 AM PDT by nascarnation (Frequently wrong but rarely in doubt....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: rarestia

42 posted on 10/08/2013 12:27:58 PM PDT by SnuffaBolshevik
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: mojito

I love this story.

For me the whole concept of digital privacy is a little like a keyhole, and this story fits PERFECTLY like a key into that keyhole.

Ya know what THAT means? This story is a LIE.

It’s a great post, but sorry, when it comes to news about this stuff and there are allegations of some kind of technical set-back, well, my feeling is that it’s a lie.

Especially with looming budget cuts they want our ire and concern to go away, and that is what this story does.

All people having anything to do with this topic on the government side lie, lie, lie.

Then they stack up more Bibles, swear on THAT stack, and you know what? They instantly go back to LYING.

“Oh man, those idiot dufuses —dufii?— had that huge mountain of cash and they STILL can’t get it right, yuck, yuck, yuck..!!!!”

Sorry, it’s just too perfect. So it’s a lie and the machine is humming along just fine. They’re robbing you of your digital privacy as you wait for red lights to turn green, and while you brew coffee, and while you sleep.

They’re doing FINE out there.


43 posted on 10/08/2013 12:28:48 PM PDT by gaijin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mojito; rarestia
900MW is a lot of power. If I were designing a plant of that scale and import, it would have twin nuclear reactors with redundant substations, which would of course have required that this be a project with full public review (which would never happen).

Hence, this looks like they brought in the power and then cheaped out on the distribution. It's stupid, reflecting directly the existence of mal-intent.

44 posted on 10/08/2013 12:28:59 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (ZeroCare: Make them pay; do not delay.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: JerseyHighlander

Exactly correct..!

They’re LYING.


45 posted on 10/08/2013 12:30:24 PM PDT by gaijin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Brad from Tennessee

My thot exactly: chinese made lithium batteries. what could go wrong? The electric car charging stations are blowing?


46 posted on 10/08/2013 1:02:15 PM PDT by cherokee1 (skip the names---just kick the buttz)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: gaijin
They’re LYING.

Of course they're lying - they're the NSA.

The question is, what are they really lying about?

I'm aware of the gross levels government incompetence can take. But on a project like this, concerning such crucial fundamental design issues, that incompetence didn't happen over such a long-established engineering issue.

So what's left? Sabotage.

But by whom? It's not in the parts or design, because of the partial checking that takes place during construction. It's not a one-off 007, or that would be noted, too.

That leaves...


47 posted on 10/08/2013 1:10:31 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: rarestia

Yea, I was thinking the same thing.

The way they write it, it sounds so blase’. “Oh, the lights went off again. What a bother.”

To someone who has seen an arc fault in a three phase system... heh. It’s a whole ‘nuther level of incompetence. For the kind of power they’ve got plumbed into that outfit, I’m sure it is an experience that could make someone lose bladder control.

We had what is (to guys like you) a very minor arc-over in an irrigation pump panel (480V, 200amps) that vaporized about a cubic centimeter of copper from the contactor points - and it blew the door off the panel and out into the field.

I used to wonder “Why did they put all the controls on the edge of the cabinet instead of on the face?” If I’d been standing in front of that panel door to bump the start switch, I’d likely have been killed by that flying door. It tore out the locks, the safety interlock on the main switch and the four hinges. 12 gauge steel. Just torn apart, no problem, no hesitation.

BTW, post-shutdown examination of the panel interior showed a rattlesnake had crawled into the cabinet and gotten across the pump-side terminals on the 200A contactor. Hit the “go” switch, the snake’s middle section vaporized, but left a plasma arc in place that vaporized the copper. He must have come in from the other end of the conduit where it went to the pump motor, and came up alongside the 4-conductor 00 aluminum cables.

As for the cooling issues - whatcha wanna bet they’re the result of some environmental push in federal regs? Remember the good ol’ days when we had mainframes on raised floors, and the air pressure under the floor helped you pick up the floor tiles? Oh, that felt good on a hot day.


48 posted on 10/08/2013 1:18:00 PM PDT by NVDave
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: mojito

I read that as their initial report from summer could not identify any cause yet, but later by Sept they had and had already begun steps to fix it.


49 posted on 10/08/2013 1:20:24 PM PDT by wrencher
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: nascarnation
I worked there for two decades and retired 20 years ago. The revelations of their behavior are heartbreaking to me.

Shut them down.

We can find a more American and more patriotic way, I assure you.

Do not listen to those who say otherwise. They have become Fascists, one and all.

50 posted on 10/08/2013 1:23:26 PM PDT by Rapscallion (Vlad the Impaler proposed no path to citizenship. Consider that.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-67 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson