EXCLUSIVE: Senior NSA Executive: OF COURSE They’re Collecting Everyone’s Content, As Well As Metadata

The Government’s “Limited Hangout” In Mass Surveillance

The NSA claims that it only collects our “metadata”, and not our content.

Washington’s Blog called senior NSA executive Thomas Drake and asked him whether it’s only metadata we have to worry about, or whether the government is collecting our content as well.

Initially, Drake explained that admitting to metadata collection is simply a “limited hangout” by the NSA: admission of one small piece of the puzzle which Snowden’s documents already reveal, in order to hide the bigger picture of mass spying on all Americans.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: NSA apologists claim that the agency is just collecting metadata and not content.

NSA whistleblowers Bill Binney and Russ Tice – and Tim Clemente from the FBI and a lot of other people – say that they’re recording all content, and that’s why they’re building the massive data storage facility at Bluffdale, Utah. [Background See here, here and here.]

What do you think?

THOMAS DRAKE: Simple response. I’ve been by Bluffdale [and it’s huge.] I call it the “dark cloud on the ground.” It’s the dark digital cloud that’s sited on the ground.

And you don’t build a facility of that size if it’s all about metadata.

I could put the metadata of the world – with current technology – in less than the space of an average size house.

In fact, I could essentially put the metadata of the world in a couple of rooms. But we’ll be fair … with infrastructure and racks and all of that, the size of a house. A regular house, maybe 2,500 to 3,000 square feet.

That type of facility [a giant data storage facility like Bluffdale] was in the planning stages many, many years ago, while I was at NSA … in 2002.

It’s far beyond metadata. The technology gave them the ability to store everything that they collected.

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