NSA

NSA data center front and center in debate over liberty, security and privacy

by FOXNews.com  |  published on April 16, 2013

Twenty-five miles due south of Salt Lake City, a massive construction project is nearing completion. The heavily secured site belongs to the National Security Agency.

“The spy center” — that’s what some of the locals like Jasmine Widmer, who works at Bluffdale’s sandwich shop, told our Fox News team as part of an eight month investigation into data collection and privacy rights that will be broadcast Sunday at 9 p.m. ET called “Fox News Reporting: Your Secrets Out.”

The NSA says the Utah Data Center is a facility for the intelligence community that will have a major focus on cyber security. The agency will neither confirm nor deny specifics. 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.

One man we hoped would answer our questions, the current director of the NSA General Keith Alexander, declined Fox News’s requests to sit down for an interview, so we stopped by the offices of a Washington think tank, where Alexander was speaking at a cyber security event last year.

Asked if the Utah Data Center would hold the data of American citizens, Alexander said, “No…we don’t hold data on U.S. citizens,” adding that the NSA staff “take protecting your civil liberties and privacy as the most important thing that they do, and securing this nation.”

But critics, including former NSA employees, say the data center is front and center in the debate over liberty, security and privacy.

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