Chuck Spinney: $2 Billion NSA Spy Center is Going Up in Flames Kafka Meets Keystone Cops in Utah

Corruption, Idiocy, Ineptitude, Military
Chuck Spinney
Chuck Spinney

Brianna Ehley

The Fiscal Times, October 8, 2013

The National Security Agency’s $2 billion mega spy center is going up in flames.

Technical glitches have sparked fiery explosions within the NSA’s newest and largest data storage facility in Utah, destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and delaying the facility’s opening by one year.

And no one seems to know how to fix it.

For a country that prides itself on being a technology leader, not knowing the electrical capacity requirements for a system as large as this is inexcusable.

Within the last 13 months, at least 10 electric surges have each cost about $100,000 in damages, according to documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal. Experts agree that the system, which requires about 64 megawatts of electricity—that’s about a $1 million a month energy bill–isn’t able to run all of its computers and servers while keeping them cool, which is likely triggering the meltdowns.
The contractor that designed the flawed system—Pennsylvania-based Klingstubbins–said in a statement that it has “uncovered the issue” and is working on “implementing a permanent fix.”

But that’s not the case, according to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), which is in charge of overseeing the data center’s construction. ACE disagreed with the contractor and said the meltdowns are “not yet sufficiently understood.”

A report by ACE in the Wall Street Journal 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 also said regular quality controls in design and construction were bypassed in an effort to “fast track” the project.

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See Also:

Mini-Me: NSA’s Utah Center Will Use 1.7 Million Gallons of Water Every 24 Hours — Meanwhile, Widespread Water Shortages in Utah