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NSA's Utah Spy Supercenter Crippled By Power Surges

Tyler Durden's picture


Long before Edward Snowden's whistleblowing revelations hit the world and the Obama administration's approval ratings like a ton of bricks, we 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.

The facility above is where everyone's back up phone records and emails are stored.

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."

More from the WSJ on this latest example of what even the most organized and efficient of government agencies ends up with when left to its non-private sector resources:

Without a reliable electrical system to run computers and keep them cool, the NSA's global surveillance data systems can't function. The NSA chose Bluffdale, Utah, to house the data center largely because of the abundance of cheap electricity. It continuously uses 65 megawatts, which could power a small city of at least 20,000, at a cost of more than $1 million a month, according to project officials and documents.


Utah is the largest of several new NSA data centers, including a nearly $900 million facility at its Fort Meade, Md., headquarters and a smaller one in San Antonio. The first of four data facilities at the Utah center was originally scheduled to open in October 2012, according to project documents. The data-center delays show that the NSA's ability to use its powerful capabilities is undercut by logistical headaches. Documents and interviews paint a picture of a project that cut corners to speed building.


Backup generators have failed numerous tests, according to project documents, and officials disagree about whether the cause is understood. There are also disagreements among government officials and contractors over the adequacy of the electrical control systems, a project official said, and the cooling systems also remain untested.


The Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the data center's construction. Chief of Construction Operations, Norbert Suter said, "the cause of the electrical issues was identified by the team, and is currently being corrected by the contractor." He said the Corps would ensure the center is "completely reliable" before handing it over to the NSA.


But another government assessment concluded the contractor's proposed solutions fall short and the causes of eight of the failures haven't been conclusively determined. "We did not find any indication that the proposed equipment modification measures will be effective in preventing future incidents," said a report last week by special investigators from the Army Corps of Engineers known as a Tiger Team.


The architectural firm KlingStubbins designed the electrical system. The firm is a subcontractor to a joint venture of three companies: Balfour Beatty Construction, DPR Construction and Big-D Construction Corp. A KlingStubbins official referred questions to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Tsk tsk: this is what happens when you use taxpayer dollars to pay the lowest bidder - you can't even build an efficient totalitarian superstate!

The first arc fault failure at the Utah plant was on Aug. 9, 2012, according to project documents. Since then, the center has had nine more failures, most recently on Sept. 25. Each incident caused as much as $100,000 in damage, according to a project official. It took six months for investigators to determine the causes of two of the failures. In the months that followed, the contractors employed more than 30 independent experts that conducted 160 tests over 50,000 man-hours, according to project documents.


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.


Contractors have started installing devices that insulate the power system from a failure and would reduce damage to the electrical machinery. But the fix wouldn't prevent the failures, according to project documents and current and former officials.


Contractor representatives wrote last month to NSA officials to acknowledge the failures and describe their plan to ensure there is reliable electricity for computers. The representatives said they didn't know the true source of the failures but proposed remedies they believed would work. With those measures and others in place, they said, they had "high confidence that the electrical systems will perform as required by the contract."


A couple of weeks later, 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.

Wait, we know: it's the Syrians.

So for those who have no choice but to live in a totalitarian banana republic, may we suggest at least laughing about it. We present the Domestic Surveillance Directorate.


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Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:12 | 4033433 Debtonation
Debtonation's picture

I thought the government was shutdown?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:19 | 4033444 CH1
CH1's picture

Hope the place burns to the ground.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:21 | 4033451 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



The solar panel farm was a terrible idea.....should have stuck a coal plant next to that place.

Who knew Utah had so many cloulds?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:29 | 4033475 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

"Ruprecht, do you want the genital cuff?"

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:39 | 4033508 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

"The facility above is where everyone's back up phone records and emails are stored."

Super duper.  I can quit wasting money on Carbonite every month.  I love the government.  Always thinking ahead.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:44 | 4033524 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

Gotta be the largest repository of pron also, which begs the question - can the administrators of this be arrested for possession of kiddie?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:56 | 4033567 Overfed
Overfed's picture

You know full well that those rules also don't apply to them.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:05 | 4033592 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris notice Bluffdale Edifice of Liberty is surround by barb wire and guard tower. How nostalgic.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:26 | 4033686 Stackers
Stackers's picture

Hopefully the"unknwon" faults were intentionally installed by an outraged design engineer or Army Corp construction crew ........

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:36 | 4034186 Zymurguy
Zymurguy's picture

Stuxnet strikes us back?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 13:21 | 4034408 old naughty
old naughty's picture

Stellar Wind had nothin to do with it...


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 13:21 | 4034409 CPL
CPL's picture

Build ANY building on the current bidding system that ALL agencies use and guess what's going to happen?  It's going to be built with the same care as the US Health Care portal because money doesn't buy quality if the money offered isn't worth anything.  Stuxnet is a minor annoyance in comparison to 'sort of' met building and electrical standards because the builder squeezing their profit margin by ordering seconds.

When the seconds are pirate parts for things like joists, panels, fuses, millions of miles of copper, even concrete (there's been shortages, so not all that was poured is concrete).  The place is a fire trap.  Good looking fire trap.  So I'll say it again to the NSA, get the fuck out of that building, it's not safe.  Period.  Full Stop.  Leave.  Do not trust the building inspection.  Work from home.  Be anywhere BUT that building.

Can always build another one if it's really that important, it's just stuff.  The occupants inside, not so much.


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 14:55 | 4034905 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

The only way to build this right would be to A naval ship's military specs...


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 14:33 | 4034804 Oracle 911
Oracle 911's picture

Or somebody use psychic powers anyway, this is what I referring them:

Nelson Ha! Ha! 10 hour edition.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 14:43 | 4034861 Freddie
Freddie's picture

A weird web site was saying OabamCare ACA web site was sabotaged.   Probably they spent $150 million and used bad programmers.

NSA Utah reminds me of the govt MIC location that gets it in T3 or T4.  When the drones get linked to SkyNet and kill all the govt workers like Sequestration should do.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 15:11 | 4034980 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Obamacare FUXNET virus.
Lame Cherry rocks.
I actually have you to thank for pointing me in her direction. I dig her style. Hell, I donated. Worth every penny.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 13:30 | 4034441 SilverSavant
SilverSavant's picture

Stop worrying about this place right now.   If a Corp Tiger Team is involved, it will be fucked up for 10 years at the minimum.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:54 | 4033796 Billy Sol Estes
Billy Sol Estes's picture

Home is where the GPU puts you

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 13:22 | 4034414 CPL
CPL's picture

There's no place like

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 14:36 | 4034820 August
August's picture

I lke the arrangement of the buildings in an arc, visually suggesting that one day a vast circle will have been built.

Too bad Albert Speer wasn't available to enhance the esthetics a bit.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:57 | 4033574 Zer0head
Zer0head's picture

Does it actually say

"If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" ?

or is that a Banzai embed


If true, I should think that every voyeur in America will be using that as a defence


why wouldn't they just have the motto "the end of privacy/ the end of freedom"

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:55 | 4033802 Winston Smith 2009
Winston Smith 2009's picture

"Does it actually say "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" ? or is that a Banzai embed"

That hi-res photo and web page snapshot is from a joke site (.info domain) with a good bit of info on that facility:

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:55 | 4034274 CoolBeans
CoolBeans's picture

Your comment reminded me of the YouTube video of the middle eastern gentleman (believe he was in NYC) who took a video of himself calling the NSA for help in retreiving an email -- pretty funny...

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:40 | 4033513 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

You live by Stuxnet you die by Stuxnet.

TPTB have not learned about opening Pandora's box

Pandora's box is an artifact in Greek mythology, taken from the myth of Pandora's creation in Hesiod's Works and Days. The "box" was actually a large jar given to Pandora which contained all the evils of the world.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:38 | 4033479 Manthong
Manthong's picture

"Securing the Citizens"

Think about the real meaning of that.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 11:13 | 4033872 BadDog
BadDog's picture

Kind of like the old twilight zone How To Serve Man.  Run! It's a cookbook.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:27 | 4034145 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:35 | 4033502 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

The solar panels cause power surges on those partly cloudy days.  Cloud, sun, cloud, sun, cloud, sun, 

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:39 | 4033734 Debt-Penitent
Debt-Penitent's picture

The overall design specifications of the power supply grid are highly compartmentised and secret to "protect the integrety" of the secure power supply.  THIS is why no one subcontractor can find the arc-fault issues.

I too hope it burns to the ground.


Imagine the havoc a Citizen Drone could induce.  Hmm.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 11:41 | 4033950 Real Estate Geek
Real Estate Geek's picture

 . . . or a patriotic B-52 pilot.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 15:02 | 4034938 Freddie
Freddie's picture

I hope the place has an earthquake and it gets sucked into the earth.   Evil govt is in a location with the best clean coal in the world but Clinton made in a national park for a kick back from Indonesia for less competition.

There is enough coal there to power America for the next 300 years.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:48 | 4033547 salvadordaly
salvadordaly's picture

yet another gubment project that they can not get right. Bet they will do a better job with healthcare though!

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:18 | 4033642 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

While the idea of a totalitarian state is concerning, this example demonstrates the utter lack of competence of a so-called uber and all-knowing government beaucracy and is a bit comforting.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:33 | 4033702 viahj
viahj's picture

they don't have to be competent to be totalitarian, just forceful

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:50 | 4033551 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

The word 'Schadenfreude' comes to mind.  :-)

You don't get the Captain's Chair that easily.  ;-)

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 11:59 | 4034032 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Aye, aye, Cap'n!  Getting those Captain's bars ain't no piece o' cake!  Schadenfreude is the perfect word that makes me smile when I see the NSA all FUBAR...



Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:09 | 4033610 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

"Hope the place burns to the ground." -- CH1

Maybe one day soon we can all celebrate as tanks roll up and take it out (in the name of 'we the people').

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:34 | 4033709 ATM
ATM's picture

A better irony would be to take it out via drone missiles.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:29 | 4034159 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Drones would be nice. I'd kinda like some of that gigunda CAT mining equipment.

Like monster trucks on steroids crushing it.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 18:19 | 4035612 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

The puppetmasters surely put a nuke in the basement in case of rebellion.  This data center would be quite useful in hunting them down.  Satan forbid the little people ever getting their hands on it!

In the meantime, we will have to rely on occaisonal spiders for sabotage.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:21 | 4033656 petolo
petolo's picture

Need some Joozish lightning ,eh?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:46 | 4033712 firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

The real center is located at Groom Lake with the backup center at Dugway Proving Grounds

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 11:00 | 4033817 SgtShaftoe
SgtShaftoe's picture

Nevada doesn't have to give them grid power or water to mini-Mordor and that place needs lots of both.  The people can force the local government to cut it off. 


On a different note, I'm suprised that Banzai hasn't done a rework of the NSA logo with the all seeing eye of Sauron yet.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 15:21 | 4035014 sushi
sushi's picture

How do they know that a foreign state has not reverse engineeried the NSA Stuxnet virus and has now deloyed it against its originators.

Electrical stuff blowing up in unexplained ways. Sounds pretty Stuxnettey to me.

I guess now NSA will need billions more in appropriations to defend against a technology they unleashed on thw world.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:23 | 4033460 john39
john39's picture


just the show government... the real machine behind the scenes is grinding away.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:33 | 4033495 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Apparently the ATF is still open and working on banning books from being published.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:35 | 4033504 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Yet too busy to "approve" my tax stamps on my fucking GemTechs!

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:16 | 4033632 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:20 | 4033436 Cursive
Cursive's picture who had the vision and fortitude....


Fortitude?  Say what?  Sweet Jesus, yes!  Fry the fucker!


ETA:  CPL or any other IT hardware guys here, is static electricity in the desert a big problem for Steller Wind?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:42 | 4033519 replaceme
replaceme's picture

If there is a static electricity problem in general, I would assume the server areas are completely climate controlled, including humidity... I know our server areas, much less of a big deal, have big units that will call facilities (the people) if the humidity and temp get outside of a preset range.  Wonder what they pay -anyone know the going rate for a soul and a background in data warehousing?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:12 | 4033619 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

If it's static electricity it means they fucked up the bonding and grounding.

I worked on microsoft projects and they were real sticklers on this.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:36 | 4034190 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Same at Telco.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 13:19 | 4034392 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

Ignatius: " If it's static electricity it ... " . .

You're classifying arc-faults with DC breakered power supply/bus systems as static electricity? WAAAAAAAAY off base. . .

This, people, is WHY fiascoes like this affect places like the NSA at it's data center: the self-anointed ex-perts on physics and DC power supply protection/breakering ... . .

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 15:14 | 4034994 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Hey, Fuck you.   I was responding to another and really didn't give a shit about what NSA's electrical problems might be.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 15:22 | 4035027 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

If the building was lined with wool from floor to ceiling, it could indeed be a static problem. Or if the spooks manning the beast wear footy pajamas and scoot across the carpet then touch the server rack, you'll get static arcing.
I've seen it. Big problem...and nearly impossible to get the spooks to give up their footy PJs.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 16:21 | 4035336 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

I had a baby sitter once with a mind as devious as yours.  She never tired of showing us the wonders of static electricity.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:15 | 4033440 mademesmile
mademesmile's picture

Finally, some good news.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:18 | 4033443 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

A collossal waste of capital and resources.  There really isn't anything else to say.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:30 | 4033490 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Not much different than any other government program in that respect.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:36 | 4033503 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

So you're not a big fan of modern medicines or electronics then?  Prove it, turn in all your gadgets and get off the interent.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:39 | 4033517 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Up your butt, Jobu! I'm rootin' for the Luddites from here on out.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:46 | 4033532 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Cognitive dissonance can be a bitch.  Just remember, half of the people you know are "below average".

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:01 | 4033585 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

So you deserve to inherit the earth then, propeller top?
The Man said the meek get it...not the geek. So sorry.
Fuck right off.
Go jerk off to some transhumanist genocide porn and await the day when you control it all.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:03 | 4033591 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Touch a nerve did I?  Welcome to fight club moron.  It's always nice when that lower 50% self-identifies.  Make things much easier for your overlords to get you to the correct FEMA camp.

Nice work Indy!

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:18 | 4033641 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Oh, I'm sure you are convinced that all the people you know are "below average" and deserve to be lampshades.
It's "smartest guy in the room know-it-all" pussy fart central planners like you that got us EXACTLY where we are in this mess. You're really going to take it out on everyone cause those guys in gym class gave you a wedgie, kicked you in the balls and called you a pussy. Yeah, you show em who's boss! You're still a pussy...and a twisted one at that. It's the guys that picked on you that will eventually stomp the wormy guts out of you when they fully understand what your up to.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:20 | 4033660 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

My, what an articulate response.  Again, your banking overlords and FEMA camp directors thank you.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:32 | 4033700 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Looks like I was the one that found the raw nerve, dredging up all those painful memories. Smarts, don't it?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:34 | 4033711 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

My employees and I are doing quite well actually.  Again, your banking and FEMA overlords thank you.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:50 | 4033762 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Good to hear. I'll let you, Leonard, Sheldon and Raj get back to your D&D game. Imma get balls deep in Penny while you do.
Do write and let us know when your Robot Army of Vengeance comes online.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 13:51 | 4034519 Jadr
Jadr's picture

It depends on the company you keep.  Given the stratification of people this statement doesn't really hold true as you normally don't associate with a truly random mix of people.  The closer you are to the low end the more likely that the people you associate with are towards the lower end and the closer you are to the higher end the more likely that people you associate with are towards the high end.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:16 | 4033631 TWSceptic
TWSceptic's picture

LawsofPhysics? You can change that to LawsofIdiocy.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:21 | 4033647 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

No stomach for fight club TWspetic?  Pussy.  If you truly believe in the "no government" model.  Please move to Somalia ASAP, you'll love it.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 16:50 | 4035248 TWSceptic
TWSceptic's picture

Ok I'll fight... The Somalia argument has been debunked by others, to me it's really not that relevant anymore.

You probably didn't know that the best years (obviously relatively speaking) for Somalia were actually the ones without government. You also seem to be ignorant of the fact that the country has a history of authoritarian government including communism. We know the history of a country affects its future, more specifically population behavior. If population is uneducated and violent, that first has to change. You can't say that an ideology is wrong or does not work if the population does not even understand it let alone practice it. This process has to start from birth.

I suggest you look at real statistics instead of flawed arguments and statist fairy tales. You'll find that over the long term, smaller (or no) government, liberty, and (anarcho-)capitalism create the most prosperity and happiness.

BTW I did not junk you, I hope this time you have the decency to do the same.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:05 | 4033594 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I have a friend who is an expert in computer design tell me this was going to happen. He explained there is a critical problem with scalability in projects such as these. Me, as a hobbyist, can buy and build a system with out cooling issue. However, a project such is this CANNOT be cobbled. If you subcontract all components and throw them together this is the result. The design must be done from the ground up using one vendor that has expertise in building such a system. I countered "this is the government. They have infinite resources!" He laughed. " infinite resources cannot change the laws of physics!" So, it appears this will become another infinite government money pit.


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:25 | 4033673 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

"infinite resources cannot change the laws of physics!"  -  Bingo.  Although several nobel prize winning eCONomists would disagree.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 13:12 | 4034364 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture





Miffed Microbio: " I have a friend who is an expert in computer design .. "




And how much time has he had designing hot-swap modules (with all the necessary protections) or designing DC power systems and the breakering?


... what I thought ...the 'self-proclaimed' (ex-perts) are the ones who created this fiasco ... 



Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:19 | 4034115 SillySalesmanQu...
SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

"I've never seen so many men, wasted so badly..."

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:18 | 4033449 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

We need to relocate the NSA data center to Mars - and let the NSA build their own spaceship that will take them there...

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:21 | 4033450 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

Without a reliable electrical system to run computers and keep them cool, the NSA's global surveillance data systems can't function.

Good, may a short circuit burst that Criminal Agency into flames down to the ground with Alexander in it.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:20 | 4033453 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

No worries.  They just need more money to fix it!  End of story.

Oh and we (the NSA) will also require a much larger stipend for spare parts, cause you know we no longer make the chips, motherboards and every other piece of electrical equipment that goes into the gear we run out of our centers. 


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:21 | 4033455 comrade rally monkey
comrade rally monkey's picture

Cramer od'd this am. Had to have done 4-5 bumps

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:22 | 4033457 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

Can you smell this? This smelliness,.. this smelly smell,.. this evil-smelling smelly smelliness? This thing smells!

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:23 | 4033459 YHC-FTSE
YHC-FTSE's picture

Good. Though I suspect that the only reason they're disclosing the power failure information is to squeeze more dough out of the tax payer. Disgusting fucks.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:33 | 4033494 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Then if that's the case they better be looking to those American Corporations that have tax safe havens in the Cayman Islands to pay for it because 'Joe Sixpack' is either working 3 jobs to keep a roof over his head is making less than he did 5 years ago or is out of work.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:49 | 4033546 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

30 independent contractors, Tiger Team, etc. reached a consensus on the cause.  Ah yes, more consensus building always leads to the "best practices" to cover everyone involved's backside and ensure they get regular billable hours for the foreseeable future!

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:37 | 4033727 doctor10
doctor10's picture

Well-we all now know why registration and sign -in for ObamaCare doesn't work

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:45 | 4034238 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

They'll get it fixed. The downstream is to FEMA.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:44 | 4033523 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

$1.4+ billion dollar back door.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:23 | 4033461 DirkDiggler11
DirkDiggler11's picture

If the good Lord above would see fit to deliver a few well placed lightning bolts in the Utah desert, the citizen subjects of the USA would be humbly in acceptance of such a gift to help deliver us from evil ( the NSA that is).

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:16 | 4033633 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Modern 'progressive' education says that sometimes nature needs a push.  Roll out the tanks.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:52 | 4034261 CoolBeans
CoolBeans's picture


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:26 | 4033463 Pig Circus
Pig Circus's picture

What a bunch of fuck ups. Can't even abuse our 14 admendment rights without screwing it up.

Hey NSA I know your reading this...Go fuck yourselves.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:57 | 4033747 ThisIsBob
ThisIsBob's picture

Can't keep things secret, can't keep things running.  Probably need to increase the budget.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:24 | 4033465 ThisIsBob
ThisIsBob's picture

As Sherlock Holmes observed when the priceless pearl was boosted from the British Museum:  "Electricity, the high priest of false security."

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:25 | 4033468 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

The failed components were probably manufactured in China to specifications issued by the People's Liberation Army. Failure wasn't a bug, it was a feature.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:56 | 4033542 LeisureSmith
LeisureSmith's picture

DPR Construction and Tiger teams....It's the Communists for sure. /s

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:28 | 4033469 XitSam
XitSam's picture

Small drones (alternately with incendiaries, corrosives, etc) are hard to defend against says this article.


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:30 | 4033470 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Nuke, orbit, sure.

EDIT: On the failures, it occurs to me that perhaps there were some patriots working on that project.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:33 | 4033499 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Fuckin'A! Nuke em from orbit. Gotta be sure.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:27 | 4033472 mademesmile
mademesmile's picture

Only slightly related - is STILL down 8:25 St. Louis time.

"The system is down at the moment.

We're currently making system improvements. Please try again after this morning."

Totally ridiculous. Has not worked ONCE in 7 days for me, and apparently, 99.999 pf people. 


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:20 | 4034108 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Only slightly related - is STILL down 8:25 St. Louis time. "The system is down at the moment. We're currently making system improvements. Please try again after this morning." Totally ridiculous. Has not worked ONCE in 7 days for me, and apparently, 99.999 pf pe


And you think this is accidental?.LOL

The failure rate of the folks that WERE going to sign up, are going to drop to a level that cannot and will NOT be sustainable,making this a dead duck even before arrival.The Obama-ites that are now receiving their NEW rates are chitting breeks!.A Stillborn program.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 17:46 | 4035725 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

From the beginning, Obamacare was mainly about getting a big tax increase on working people, destroying America, and creating an endless paper-shuffling make-work program for favored cartels.  They don't care whether anyone gets any actual healthcare.  They don't care if anyone can even use the fucking website.  In fact, it's better for the website to remain broken.  That way all the serfs get the tax penalty for not signing up, and the parasitic cubicle monkeys won't even have to shuffle papers.  They will get paid to sit on their asses.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:27 | 4033473 Sid James
Sid James's picture

Paranoia /?pær??n???/ (adjective: paranoid /?pær?n??d/) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. "Everyone is out to get me.") This contrasts with phobias, which also involve irrational fear, but usually no blame. Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:30 | 4033485 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

You've got to be kidding. Sarc tag?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:44 | 4033534 Australian Economist
Australian Economist's picture

It's not paranoia if it's true and actually happening.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:59 | 4033549 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Well, I for one certainly hate it when conspiracy theory becomes conspiracy fact.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:57 | 4033575 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

However - being paranoid does not, repeat: does not mean that you don't have reason for anxiety or fear, and it doesn't rule out that there in fact is a conspiracy or a very real threat!

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:29 | 4033477 DavidC
DavidC's picture

Domestic Surveillance Directorate.
Defending the Nation. Securing the Citizens.

Interesting choice of words for the citizens.


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:32 | 4033496 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Right up there with the "Patriot Act".

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:36 | 4033721 XitSam
XitSam's picture

One reason the Services have trouble operating jointly is that they don't speak the same language. 

For example, if you told Navy personnel to "secure a building," they would turn off the lights and lock the doors.

Army personnel would occupy the building so no one could enter.

Marines would assault the building, capture it, and defend it with suppressive fire and close combat.

The Air Force, on the other hand, would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:30 | 4033478 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

My crack team of trained chipmunks did this. Although I lose a team each time.
Maybe, just maybe the electrical systems designers and the electricians are smart enough to read the writing in the wall.
NSA - you are imbedded with us. Surrounded. It takes very little energy to set Murphy's Laws in motion and it's real easy to make things appear to be accident and oversight. There is also big money to be made in Murphy's wake and this is one time I don't object to the overrun.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:28 | 4033480 CoolBeans
CoolBeans's picture

Those "who had the vision and fortitude" and "for the good of the Nation"...


It reads like something out of "1984".  

What an amazing plundering of the nation's dollars.

Maybe the glitches in this facility's systems and in the ObummerCare systems are signs from Heaven that the Anti-Christ is going to far.  I'm not a shite Christian but have to wonder.  If so, it seems further proof that God has a sense of humor.  Keep glitchin' 'em, Lord!


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:37 | 4033506 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Your opening quotes come from the Domestic Surveillance Directorate illustration, right? Not a government site at all, even if they do state publicly what the real NSA would never admit. We must all hope the real NSA gets this electrical glitch fixed, so they can continue the essential work of their Citizen Recognition And Protection plan.


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 11:03 | 4033822 Disenchanted
Disenchanted's picture

It says right at the bottom of that, that it's a NSA parody site...

But has the links to the real stories on the left sidebar.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:52 | 4034252 CoolBeans
CoolBeans's picture

It is surely their mindset - it is not much of a stretch, this parody.  This surveillence is "1984".

Don't you wonder how big their "file" is on us?  Likely a special red file for Fight Club Members.

I have posted the word "Revolution" and refrains of "Do not Comply" in response to so many sites, blogs, etc. covering this issue, OBummerCare and more -- just waiting for the black SUVs to drive up to my door.  

How long before some serious stories begin circulating that members of the general public are being visited/harassed by NSA spooks and the like?  I suspect not long.

Until then AND after - Be sure to document this in my file, NSA:  I will not comply.


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:31 | 4033484 Racer
Racer's picture

Hope the power surges scramble all the storage discs and cook their computers, after all they are illegally gathering this stuff on everyone

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:30 | 4033487 J Pancreas
J Pancreas's picture

How long would a natural gas lines be operable in a grid failure scenario? I remember hearing that diesel backup generators are a failsafe for the gas lines. Contemplating a whole house generator...

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:45 | 4033536 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Why not do both and add LP to boot.
To answer your question, approx. 1 week on the NG maintaining pressure, although I'm betting less because there will be an increased draw as others resort to it for the same purpose.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 13:06 | 4034330 Fedaykinx
Fedaykinx's picture

bury a thousand gallon propane tank in the yard, imo

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:33 | 4033493 grid-b-gone
grid-b-gone's picture

Most Fortune 500 companies are backed up by Liebert (Emerson) units. When the NE went dark about a decade ago, Liebert-backed systems performed flawlessly. I wonder what back-up system they are using at this facility.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:40 | 4033516 Big Corked Boots
Big Corked Boots's picture

Most Liebert units are small. They support computer rooms that fit in closets or rooms rather than entire complexes... you don't record and store gazintabytes of personal records in a closet.

But yes, they are reliable.


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:10 | 4033557 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Small? The ones I've seen are the size of large shipping containers.
One that size supported a medium sized cell switching data center i worked at.
It was my understanding that the power plant for this facility was built for the facility and is a part of it.
Not sure if one would employ gennys when you own the power plant onsite. With the government cheese involved, the could just build another for redundancy. Why's only our tax dollars and can your really put a price on safety?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 13:07 | 4034345 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture





What do you want to bet these fools put their all their battery plant(s) 500 ft or more from the loads?



Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:33 | 4033501 kralizec
kralizec's picture

Drone it.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:59 | 4033807 Pullmyfinger
Pullmyfinger's picture

Build Your Own Drone:

And voila! --the Zero Hedge Squadron is born.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:38 | 4033510 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

How funny. So what we are saying the Death Star has problems? You idiot NSA asshole goons. Take centralization and shove it up your arrogant asses.


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:39 | 4033515 ACjourneyman
ACjourneyman's picture

I can tell you from the picture they are using YORK chillers to cool the place and they have at least 6000 tons of cooling by chilled water, which seems a little light to me.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:53 | 4033563 quasimodo
quasimodo's picture

I was wondering the same thing? WTF?

No expert but know my fair share about HVAC, perhaps they had "Jim's Plumbing and Heating" as the sub?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:55 | 4033564 quasimodo
quasimodo's picture

I was wondering the same thing? WTF?

No expert but know my fair share about HVAC, perhaps they had "Jim's Plumbing and Heating" as the sub?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:03 | 4033596 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Is a York chiller the same principle as what Ive heard called Swamp coolers in the Sowest?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 12:02 | 4034054 XitSam
XitSam's picture

No. Swamp coolers are evaporative coolers.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 14:25 | 4034743 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture

Wish they'd have used this type then. Get some nice arching effect from that.
I've never seen a swamp cooler, but a friend that lived in NM told me that's what his house had and they work great. Wonder if they still use em.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 19:51 | 4036263 XitSam
XitSam's picture

they only work in areas of low humidity (NM & AZ for example) by adding water to the blown air

still used but a sign you're poor and can't afford A/C, or you're frugal

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 14:24 | 4034744 IndyPat
IndyPat's picture


Tue, 10/08/2013 - 11:28 | 4033914 Cardinal Fang
Cardinal Fang's picture

First, you don't know if the pic has been 're-touched' for public consumption, second, as you can see, the facility design consists of two halves in a mirror image. So you can double your estimate.

Also, as it appears the design is modular, they will just add sections and capabilities as they expand the site.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:42 | 4033521 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

Cue the video of DeNiro laughing maniacally in "Cape Fear."

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:44 | 4033527 the tower
the tower's picture

If there were any REAL terrorists then this would be their target. The fact that this is operational means that "terrorists" are a hoax.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:44 | 4033533 EL INDIO
EL INDIO's picture

That’s what happens when you outsource everything, you don’t know what you get.


I read recently and article about the increasing problem of fake/used electronic chips that are sold as new. Here is the link:


This is one probable cause. 

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:45 | 4033537 spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

Stuxnet variation coming home to roost?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:47 | 4033538 dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

Quite sure Mittens Romney would have shut this place down........yeah right!

Federal employees by state

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:48 | 4033543 rtalcott
rtalcott's picture

uses 65 megawatts of energy


Watts ARE POWER NOT ENERGY  Power = Energy/time  Energy = Kilowatt-Hours (for example)

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:43 | 4033753 shinobi-7
shinobi-7's picture

It is still OK to use it that way if you mean that you need a capacity of 65 Mw to run the facility. (Which is not that much really as any nuclear reactor is in the range of 1,000 Mw of power.)

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:50 | 4033550 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

Oh, I see this is the reason the Crimnal NSA couldn't stop the False Flags of Aurora, Sandy Hoax, Boston & manufactured AL-CIA-dug threats?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:57 | 4033577 halfawake
halfawake's picture

sandy hoax?

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:53 | 4033554 wagthetails
wagthetails's picture

love the pics of these facilities.  really puts it into context a way the words can't do.  can you imagine how many of these project or constantly in the works.  seems like there really are billions and billions we can cut from gov.  the said part is the true cost of these facilities is the ongoing maintenance (employees added to gov payroll). 

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 10:47 | 4033770 minosgal
minosgal's picture

In this economy some people might be willing to sell metadata to NSA for pocket change, then NSA could cut down on overhead paid to third-party contractors, and have enough sheep to fill a fair-sized Farmville of its very own.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:53 | 4033555 MontgomeryScott
MontgomeryScott's picture


We have a great link now to ZH. let's get this on tape...

SHIT! What happened? Popcorn in the microwave? You blew my damned keyboard up! Get the fire extinguisher...

Cut in the backup generator...what do you mean it won't run? Where did you get this piece of crap?

Spare parts from Fukushima Dai-Ichi?

I know, they were the cheapest, but SHIT...

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:52 | 4033556 halfawake
halfawake's picture

no fret i'm sure they're just building an uber-asic miner to corner the bitcoin market

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:56 | 4033568 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

Familiar ambiance...what is it...what is it?

Albreit Macht Frei

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 09:59 | 4033587 Payne
Payne's picture

Stuxnet virus strikes back !

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!