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NSA Chief Built Star Trek Like Command Center

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the make-it-so dept.

The Almighty Buck 372

Bruce66423 writes "As the NSA scandal moves from appalling to laughable, the latest report in the Guardian indicates that the current NSA chief spent US taxpayers' money to create a command center for his intelligence operations that was styled just like Star Trek. From the PBS News Hour report: 'When he was running the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the Information Dominance Center. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a 'whoosh' sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather 'captain's chair' in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen. "Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard," says a retired officer in charge of VIP visit '"

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372 comments

That's awesome (0)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 10 months ago | (#44858041)

Probably the closest you can get to living in the future.

Re:That's awesome (5, Insightful)

spacefight (577141) | about 10 months ago | (#44858043)

Awesome? It's creepy at best.

Re:That's awesome (4, Funny)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about 10 months ago | (#44858085)

Only if you wear a red shirt.

Re:That's awesome (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44858173)

We ALL wear red shirts.

Re:That's awesome (-1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#44858431)

We ALL wear red shirts.

That's an interesting insight. In Star Trek the "red shirts" are members of the same crew as the rest of the people wearing other shirt colors. I'm not sure that I can think of many cases where the "red shirts" were killed by their own crew, I believe it was almost entirely killing done by the enemy. That enemy was often unseen until it killed a red shirt, and then threatened or attempted to kill the rest.

Well, just a reminder that there really is an enemy out there (not the NSA), and now they are activating their cloaks [nationalpost.com] . Is it solely to escape, or to strike by surprise? I guess as red shirts we'll eventually find out.

Re:That's awesome (5, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 10 months ago | (#44858451)

Yes, there are terrorist threats to the US, and they are less of a threat than bathtubs.

Re:That's awesome (0, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#44858495)

Re:That's awesome (5, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 10 months ago | (#44858591)

In other words, Terrorism is not actually a real threat, but it's designed to make you act irrationally out of fear, The answer is not act irrationally out of fear, but be careful about using your budget, but to not act irrationally out of fear. Also, to quit being dicks on the international stage and stop being involved in political coups.

Re:That's awesome (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 10 months ago | (#44858783)

That is an excellent point. Nobody has thrown away the principles of the constitution and totally undermined our reputation with the rest of the world over bathtub threats. Somebody mod ^this idiot^ up!

Re:That's awesome (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858487)

That's right, be scared now.

Let's ignore the fact that the recent tapes by Ayman al-Zawahiri implicitly accept that al-Qaeda are incapable of launching any significant attacks by calling for "Lone wolf" attacks and, get this, not buying stuff made in America. Surely that's just a deception and they're going to drop a 10Mt nuclear warhead on you, personally, tomorrow.

I hope you've checked for monsters/Communists/Terrorists under you bed.

Re:That's awesome (4, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 10 months ago | (#44858765)

Flaw 1: Assumption that NSA and US citizens are members of the same crew
Flaw 2: Not recognizing that freedom is the crew, we are all the red shirts, and NSA is the enemy.
Flaw 3: Saying we'll eventually find out, when Snowden ... the original red shirt ... has already been taken out (i.e lost his freedom)
Flaw 4: Extending any Star Trek analogy

Re:That's awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858103)

Sounds like they took the one installed at DARPA 15+ years ago as a demo center for the future of the Internet out of storage.

Re:That's awesome (5, Insightful)

Alef (605149) | about 10 months ago | (#44858115)

For a DIY hobby project maybe. Somehow, I don't find it very comforting that this is the mindset of people who are entrusted with everyone's private information (things like banking data, medical records, private correspondence, news interests, political leanings, whereabouts etc.). It kind of gives the impression that it's just a game to them.

Re:That's awesome (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 10 months ago | (#44858225)

Also, what about the name "Information Dominance Center"? Creepy and pathetic at the same time; it sounds like BDSM-style slash-fic based on TRON. Bring in the Logic Probe!

Re:That's awesome (3, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 10 months ago | (#44858795)

Actually, the whole damn story reminds me of an old film about an American military coup: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_days_in_may [wikipedia.org]

All we need now, is a new Senator Joe McCarthy at the helm . . .

Re:That's awesome (4, Insightful)

edumacator (910819) | about 10 months ago | (#44858699)

I don't find it very comforting that this is the mindset of people who are entrusted with everyone's private information

I'd be alright with it if they also treated the Bill of Rights like the Prime Directive.

Re: That's awesome (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 10 months ago | (#44858133)

Kristen Vaughness' "office in the basement" is much closer to how serious hacking is done.

Unfortunately REAL cyber-security is more like being a dreaded SOX Auditor.... Lots of checking and double checking that somebody "locked the gates" every night like they're supposed to.

Re: That's awesome (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#44858343)

Kristen Vaughness' "office in the basement" is much closer to how serious hacking is done.

Any link to that? I'm not having much luck with Google.

Re:That's awesome (3, Insightful)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 10 months ago | (#44858507)

Holy crap.

What is awesome about this is how much you have lost control of your country and how flagrantly your leaders are rubbing your noses in their anooses.

Awesome in the horrible, black hole like way and not the good way.

Re:That's awesome (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#44858739)

> That's awesome (Score:2) Probably the closest you can get to living in the future.

You've already been living in this all your life. Government officials misusing money is both the future and the ancient past. And everything in-between.

Set course for accountability... (5, Funny)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about 10 months ago | (#44858045)

Engage!

Re:Set course for accountability... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858123)

Who cares? They had to build a center, they did it in a nutty way. If they had a command center full of American flags decorated like an old ironside, would that be so much better?

Re:Set course for accountability... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858137)

Set course for spending millions to account for wasted pennies while quarters roll out the door.

Re:Set course for accountability... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#44858147)

Computer: Beep Beep! Warning! A Level 1 Data Breach is currently in progress. Failure to resolve data breach could result in loss of all hands by space dock.

Re:Set course for accountability... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858255)

*Boom boom CLUNK ZAP ZAP*

Sir, sheilds are at zero percent. Their charging their antimatter weapons. What do we do??

Re:Set course for accountability... (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 10 months ago | (#44858375)

Engage!

Well, I'll be down-modded again for this, but the bridge of the Enterprise has been modelled for use in many types of command centers; NOCs, military headquarters, etc. As it turns out, the layout of the bridge actually has a functional effect. Submarines as well borrow elements of the Enterprise layout -- our nuclear submarines, for example. As it turns out, science fiction often leads to realworld advancements. Tricorders. Comm badges. Phasers. All of these were science fiction, and now they're science fact. Why should the bridge layout somehow be a cry for "accountability" ?

The bridge serves a real purpose for the NSA, but even if it didn't, there's plenty of data centers that have fancy-looking NOCs that are only there to look fancy for the big wigs. The 'real' NOC is usually on the other side of the wall, and it's just a room with some tables and cubes along the sides... and maybe a ping pong table in the corner. But showing them the geeks instead of the sexy but non-functional "bridge" of their data center doesn't sell as well.

Why would the government be in any way immune to these things? Why do we scream "accountability" when they do the exact same thing private companies do? Oh, your taxpayer dollars, blah blah? That's your argument? Before you bitch about the NSA's star trek bridge to show off to congressional dignitaries... think about how much more you're paying for patent lawsuits clogging up the courts, or overzealous police officers writing tickets, or about ten thousand items above it that are costing more of your precious taxpayer tears, er, I mean, dollars...

Let the NSA geek feel like he's Captain Picard. You know you would too if given the chance.

Re:Set course for accountability... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858447)

ROFLMAO at girlintraining defending the NSA chief.

Too fucking funny. You the NSA Chief? Got your sex change yet?

Re:Set course for accountability... (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 10 months ago | (#44858467)

The bridge serves a real purpose for the NSA,

And what purpose is that other than to satisfy the delusions of grandeur of the people running the place and the people holding the purse strings?

even if it didn't, there's plenty of data centers that have fancy-looking NOCs that are only there to look fancy for the big wigs

That might be tolerable in a corporate environment, but not a government one. This is pure, unadulterated waste. "Selling" isn't part of the mission.

Re: Set course for accountability... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858669)

It is waste but then again it isn't. If they didn't build it that way they still would've built a fancy command center in some other layout. But you can be assured they still would have spent a fortune. Does it matter if it was designed by a set designer, an architect, or an IT consulting firm?

Re:Set course for accountability... (5, Insightful)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 10 months ago | (#44858733)

You're missing the point. Spending taxpayer dollars for a fancy NOC that is not even supposed to exist is just shitting on the citizens. His motto is "Collect it All". He ran an "all-out, barely-legal drive to build the ultimate spy machine" (quotes from the article)

The reflections off the metal would be impractical, based on the pictures. For a room whose "primary function is to enable 24-hour worldwide visualization, planning, and execution of coordinated information operations for the US Army and other federal agencies" it would be better off using a dark matte paint.

I think the article said it best:

Any casual review of human history proves how deeply irrational it is to believe that powerful factions can be trusted to exercise vast surveillance power with little accountability or transparency. But the more they proudly flaunt their warped imperial hubris, the more irrational it becomes.

And yes, I am concerned about all of those other wastes of dollars too. They just don't happen to stem from a clearly illegal surveillance program. That is what puts this in a completely different ballpark of outrage. The glass and openness and conference table make sense. The giant projector makes sense. But having a single chair positioned to look at the 22 foot projector is ridiculous. It seems that there are two seats on either side, but they are behind a completely unnecessary bulky chrome something or other. A simple wall structure on the front side, with table/desk on the back would have been far more functional. And less reflective. And depending on the purpose of those seats you could have room for more people, more equipment, or just more space.

I'm not sure what the crap on the ceiling is - functional or decorative - but from the images the lighting is spotty. I would have preferred either track lighting or something consistent, but this design seems to work against the light rather than with it. The opposite of what you want in a data visualization room. If you make the argument that a projector requires darker conditions, there are a completely new pile of objections to the design, with the metal and parts of the glass reflecting light right back at where the projector is supposed to be.

This is a terrible, purposeless design which just shows off how disconnected the people driving the train really are. Done right, this would have been an expensive but obvious solution to the problem of data visualization. The extra bling, and hollywood set design work, way outstepped any reason.

Re:Set course for accountability... (2)

craigminah (1885846) | about 10 months ago | (#44858465)

It'd be nice to see people in high government office actually treat our tax dollars with the respect they deserve and realize they are limited.

The things you can do (4, Insightful)

ozduo (2043408) | about 10 months ago | (#44858049)

with other people's money

please tell me this is out of the onion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858053)

it is, right?

Re:please tell me this is out of the onion (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#44858087)

PBS isn't known for having a sense of humor.

Re:please tell me this is out of the onion (1)

WallaceAndGromit (910755) | about 10 months ago | (#44858349)

Your comment reminded me of this classic SNL skit...

http://www.hulu.com/watch/4156 [hulu.com]

Too bad its fake. (4, Funny)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 10 months ago | (#44858063)

If it were a real bridge of a real starship, they could leave.. and leave us ALONE!

Re:Too bad its fake. (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 10 months ago | (#44858273)

The Federation never leaves "its" people alone, and it gets to decide who they are at the business end of charged phasers arrays and loaded torpedo tubes. Kidnapping, robbing, and generally oppressing independent human civilizations, some that even preexist the Federation, was fine. Exploiting the "wrong" or conspiring with the "right" aliens was fine. Arresting criminals of the violent corrupt regimes despite their criminality being primarily predicated on NOT being Federation citizens was fine. The Prime Directive is merely a sanctomonious political tool. Need I mention Section 31? (Politically mandated) technological dominance is precisely the problem.

Better than cubes (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 10 months ago | (#44858065)

It's still a better design than rows of generic gray or beige cubes.

Re:Better than cubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858201)

Yes, a command center designed as a Borg cube would be rather frightening to work in.

Re:Better than cubes (3)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44858205)

And why is that? I would be more comforted in the head of the NSA was overlooking a sea of cubes. That would mean that they have some reason to try to increase efficiency, to economize, to avoid wasting money and acting like giant imbeciles.

Hell, if he was spending on hookers and blow I could give him some wiggle room.

But Star Trek, come on. He doesn't even have photon torpedoes. How lame is that?

Re:Better than cubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858369)

He doesn't even have photon torpedoes.

That's what they want you to think...

Re:Better than cubes (4, Funny)

Bert64 (520050) | about 10 months ago | (#44858207)

Cubes worked just fine for the Borg...

Re:Better than cubes (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 months ago | (#44858417)

But he wanted to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard. That alone should be enough to lose his job. Kirk all the way or your fired should be a law somewhere.

That's nice, now send him the bill (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858081)

I, for one, will be deducting my share of the cost of this from my next Income Tax bill.

Re:That's nice, now send him the bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858571)

I thought most US creditors didn't pay US income tax

I prefer the Big Board (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858105)

The design of the War Room in Dr. Strangelove looked a lot less cheesy.

Needs More Replicators (0)

conner_bw (120497) | about 10 months ago | (#44858107)

This command centre is clearly modelled after the old, shittier, Stark Trek and not the far superior TNG; blatantly ignoring the prime directive as they fulfill their mandate of interfering with everything all the time. /me puts on flame retardant suit

Re:Needs More Replicators (0)

BSAtHome (455370) | about 10 months ago | (#44858151)

Yes, time to leave...

Scott me up Beamy.

Megastreisand (3)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858119)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalomania

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858125)

More stuff they can't even justify as "war on terror" like this reaches the masses, the better.

taxpayers money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858157)

doing miracles

That's the best they could do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858159)

...with public funds? I guess they kept the majority of the budget for cleaning supplies for the remainder of the year.

Taxpayer money? (5, Insightful)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 10 months ago | (#44858163)

And how much taxpayer money was burnt on this nutjobs sci-fi wet dream? Its like watching any one of those films depicting a dystopian future, those in power playing out their fantasies while those who actually fund their antics (either through taxes or illicit corporate profits) live in squalor. I suppose the latter part has yet to completely come to pass but at the rate things are going ($17 trillion in debt & federal spending increasing at $200 a second)its not going to take long.

How much? Not enough to matter IN THE LEAST! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858361)

You seriously don't have the slightest clue how much things actually cost. The entire place probably cost a fraction of, say, one Tomahawk missile launch into Syria. They had to build the place anyway, and they needed a control center of some kind, so my guess is Star-Trekifing it probably cost less than 1% of the total budget, and that's just for construction. It costs millions to keep a place like that running. I say, either let them have their fun, or demand that they cut costs in a much bigger way, but don't complain about what amounts to pin-striping on the side of a fighter jet as though it would even make the tiniest pit of difference to the big picture.
It doesn't, it won't, and it can't. PBS is just looking for something to whine about.

Re:How much? Not enough to matter IN THE LEAST! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858599)

It's ok to throw away other people's money as we shred the constitution and march towards fascism as long as we do it in relatively small increments!

Oh wait, this isn't acceptable and neither is most of the other government bullshit.

Re:How much? Not enough to matter IN THE LEAST! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858799)

The poster didn't say the whole thing was acceptable, just that the amount is so insignificant that it doesn't matter in the least and should NOT be the focus of such complaints. It's true. The same goes for an individual household's budget. If you go deeply into debt to buy the big luxury SUV, and the thing your wife complains about is that you "wasted" the extra $200 on the upgraded stereo, she's complaining about the wrong thing entirely!

On the other hand, a cool control center might actually help attract better talent. Extra perks to help attract and retain the best people can sometimes be, and often are, worth it, as proven by companies like Google and Facebook, etc. There is also a very real, and important reason why these government agencies exist. You can argue that they've deviated beyond those reasons, but it doesn't negate that they basically must exist and are, in some cases, essential. I would much rather have the best people working there (and maybe those folks can even help effect positive change from within if there are enough of them). If spending a comparative few pennies extra on this sort of thing on rare occasions helps there, I'd actually be OK with it.

Re:How much? Not enough to matter IN THE LEAST! (4, Insightful)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 10 months ago | (#44858791)

Yes, in the grand scheme of military/intelligence spending its a drop in the bucket. Problem is we have millions of them, and they're adding up fast. That command facility that was built in Afghanistan and never used/wanted, $34 Million. GAO audits have classified nearly half of purchases on government charge cards as improper. The SEC spent nearly $3.9 million rearranging desks at its DC HQ. Congress members have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money on cars, popcorn machines, cameras, TV's and other amenities. And the list goes on, and on, and on. I'm all for going after the big ticket waste as well, but you can die from a thousand small cuts just as easily as you can die from a meat cleaver to the head.

The mindset is worse than money (5, Insightful)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 10 months ago | (#44858441)

The money's bad but I don't find it the most disturbing part of this. The place doesn't look that much more expensive than any office the senior management of a large organization would work in.

It's the mindset that would want such an Information Dominance Center that is disturbing. It bespeaks a person willing to use his position to live out a fantasy. In this fantasy, the fate of the galaxy country rests in his singular hands. Far from being a functionary who answers to civilian authorities, he's the protagonist in some grand drama.

And as much as I love Star Trek, a Star Trek fantasy is the last one I'd see in such a man. Star Trek captains righteously flout all the rules. When superiors order them to stand down, when their fundamental laws (the Prime Directive) deny them the power, when the lives of entire worlds are at stake, they do what they think best, damn the torpedoes, warp 9, engage. A man with such delusions of grandeur ought not be put in charge of HUD, much less a secretive organization known for its willingness to spy on citizens.

Re:The mindset is worse than money (1)

srichard25 (221590) | about 10 months ago | (#44858561)

Just replace "Prime Directive" with "US Constitution" and you are on the right track.

Pics - doesn't look futuristic w/ CRTs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858193)

I hope they have replaced the CRTs to flat panels. Doesn't feel very modern with CRTs.

One of the contractors has pics online of what is likely to be this installation:
http://www.dbia.com/projectpage/LIWA.pdf
Mirrored here:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/15/nsa-mind-keith-alexander-star-trek

I hope they have replaced the CRTs to flat panels. Doesn't feel very modern with CRTs.

There it is (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44858211)

Do we actually need any more proof that the NSA is completely out of control and run by a nutball? Visions of grandeur anyone? Even the President just uses a regular (nice but regular) chair and desk.

Any NSA apologists care to take a stab at this one? (I could use a laugh)

Re:There it is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858397)

Do we actually need any more proof that the NSA is completely out of control and run by a nutball? Visions of grandeur anyone? Even the President just uses a regular (nice but regular) chair and desk.

Any NSA apologists care to take a stab at this one? (I could use a laugh)

Don't mistake the forest for the trees. Whatever the cost of building the NSA-approved star trek bridge is, it is peanuts compared to the tens of billions of $ (if not more) that the US governemnt gives to these assholes to spy on us. Let them keep their star trek bridge but cut the funding for domestic spying. And make sure the NSA can't play the three cards game with foreign spy agencies.

Re:There it is (2)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#44858587)

Hi! Star Trek apologist here. It's worth noting that the original Star Trek bridge was designed for this sort of thing, a real time communications/command/control center. It's not that magical that one would want to duplicate the task with something that was designed to work the way they want things to work.

But if you look at the "Information Dominance Center" [dbia.com] , you can see violation of the Star Trek design right away. For example, The Chair is not positioned so that the commander can see every one at once and it has a ridiculous metal shell behind it creating a giant blind spot behind it. And it's built into a line of work desks, so that you can't easily walk around to behind The Chair.

The room is a monster too - it's over 10k square feet (roughly 100 sq meters). That weakens the case for having a Star Trek layout.

A Star Trek bridge [ex-astris-scientia.org] (image may differ somewhat from the USS Enterprise bridge) had a very compact layout, the commander could see everyone, and it was easy for the commander to get up and walk to any workstation on the bridge. Spock discovers something "curious" and Kirk is outta that chair like lightning right beside him. Mr. IDC commander would have to walk/run around that maze in order to get to anything "interesting" which isn't in front of him or on the screen.

What I think is remarkable here is how the IDC takes the design elements of the Star Trek bridge and screws them up.

Re:There it is (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44858695)

The way they screw it up is just more proof that the nutter in charge just wanted to feel like the big man and didn't really care how much it cost people.

That and piloting a vessel of any kind is a very different task than sigint.

But yes, it's funny how they went to such lengths to copy Star Trek and yet managed to screw it up so badly.

Re:There it is (1)

McGruber (1417641) | about 10 months ago | (#44858779)

But if you look at the "Information Dominance Center" [dbia.com] , you can see violation of the Star Trek design right away. For example, The Chair is not positioned so that the commander can see every one at once and it has a ridiculous metal shell behind it creating a giant blind spot behind it. And it's built into a line of work desks, so that you can't easily walk around to behind The Chair.

That blind spot is actually an improvement -- an "out of sight, out of mind" place for Wesley!

(Sorry Clevernickname!)

Did it really cost more than a standard room (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about 10 months ago | (#44858213)

Who knows, it probably didnt cost any more money to build than a more plain control room would. If that is the case, I don't know if it really makes a lot of sense to make a big uproar over it. As long as it doesnt cost any more, why not make it look neat?

Re:Did it really cost more than a standard room (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858283)

We're all just jealous cause we want one too. And where are the photos?

Re:Did it really cost more than a standard room (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858383)

The point is that the ones who are doing all of this eavesdropping and spying, supposedly in the name of security from terrorist attacks, are really just making a joke of it all. They are using taxpayer money to build an adult play pen (and not even the kinky kind) where they can laugh all day about how they are dominating the citizens.

We are the butt of the joke.

Re:Did it really cost more than a standard room (2)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 10 months ago | (#44858421)

Are you seeing the same photos I am? Stainless steal covering pretty much every surface, custom designed desks, doors and ceiling fixtures? Its not gold plated but it still likely cost a LOT more than standard operations setup.

Re:Did it really cost more than a standard room (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 10 months ago | (#44858523)

I bet that custom made one of a kind captians chair cost more than it would to fill that same space up with cubes

shut down and charge (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#44858219)

Shut it down, charge the top brass of the NSA with high treason. Maybe that will deter future abuses.

Re:shut down and charge (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 10 months ago | (#44858481)

This was at INSCOM, years before Alexander was appointed to NSA.

Re:shut down and charge (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#44858685)

So?

Wait. What? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 10 months ago | (#44858221)

... a facility known as the Information Dominance Center.

I thought information wanted to be free.

I guess we're the "bottom" in this NSA BDSM situation because all I've seen so far is the NSA reaching for the big, black strap-on... But I thought the bottom has all the power in this kind relationship - and we obviously don't - so I'm really confused.

who else thought... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 10 months ago | (#44858227)

NSA... star-trek like command center... Who else immediately thought of the Dreadnought bridge from Into Darkness?

Re:who else thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858269)

Just you then..

Re:who else thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858405)

NSA... star-trek like command center... Who else immediately thought of the Dreadnought bridge from Into Darkness?

I was thinking: NSA, when the chief went nuts.

He wasn't the first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858251)

The Socialists thought they could control the economy with project Cybersyn under Allende:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Cybersyn [wikipedia.org]

Re:He wasn't the first (1)

Btrot69 (1479283) | about 10 months ago | (#44858609)

Interesting -- I didn't know about Cybersyn.
Too bad Allende was murdered before they had a chance to try it out.
(and murdered with the help and encouragement of the same spooks who run the NSA)

oh, I love that "thinking" (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#44858261)

Hayden claimed "Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide," presumably meaning online service rather than the actual provider of Internet service

Yes, and air is their primary breathing gas, water the main component of their beverages, and they drive around in vehicles powered by gasoline, itself mostly dug out of countries harboring these very terrorists! We can't have that! Nobody should be allowed to breathe air, drink water, or drive a car without government control. (And if you think recent administrations haven't been trying, you haven't been paying attention.)

Why re-invent the wheel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858263)

Seems like this would save money. Why re-invent the wheel? The producers of Star Trek had already created a design for a command center. All NSA did was copy the design instead of wasting money coming up with their own unique command center design. Why the outrage?

Re:Why re-invent the wheel? (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 10 months ago | (#44858517)

The usage of a 'whoosh' sound for the doors kind of throws your theory out the window. Also, I'm more concerned about the mindset of someone who has this set at their place of work controlling limitless information on everyone.

Re:Why re-invent the wheel? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 10 months ago | (#44858535)

which required a specialist designer and large amounts of expensive furnishings

Cerebro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858271)

it is cerebro of xmen to control all human around the world.

Looks pretty Cardassian. (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about 10 months ago | (#44858279)

Re:Looks pretty Cardassian. (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 10 months ago | (#44858453)

I can't decide whether these guys are more Tal Shiar or Obsidian Order.

Re:Looks pretty Cardassian. (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about 10 months ago | (#44858503)

I would go with obsidian order. Their more inward focused then the Tal Shiar.

That's doesn't look so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858321)

Looks like it would cost as much as a swanky office. Higher ups tend to have nice offices. The TNG bridge looked like a good design. Not much harm in copying a good design.

I would be worried about lifespan of the furniture instead. If that room and furniture lasts for 50+ years, I'd consider it a good value.

Thier misson (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858353)

To explore new data and probe every computer in existence... these are the voyages of the NSA!

What? (3, Insightful)

surfdaddy (930829) | about 10 months ago | (#44858385)

What the FUCK has happened to this country?

Re: What? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858529)

Nothing. The curtains have merely been pulled back a little.

So what? (1, Insightful)

PerlPunk (548551) | about 10 months ago | (#44858391)

So what if it if the design is inspired by a Sci-Fi TV show? Show me that this would have cost way more than some other design had a non-Star Trek fan been responsible for its acquisition.

Re:So what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858455)

I bet it would have been cheaper if they went for the TOS look, instead.

Re:So what? (1)

X.25 (255792) | about 10 months ago | (#44858483)

So what if it if the design is inspired by a Sci-Fi TV show? Show me that this would have cost way more than some other design had a non-Star Trek fan been responsible for its acquisition.

"It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer"

Would you like more clues?

Re:So what? (2)

srichard25 (221590) | about 10 months ago | (#44858595)

The issue isn't cost. The issue is that these people are entrusted with the privacy of every American citizen. They act in secret and we aren't even allowed to know a rough count of how many Americans they are spying on. When you see something like this, it just does not seem like they are taking that responsibility seriously.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858693)

Responsibility is their maiden name. They got married and divorced a few times already.

Re:So what? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 10 months ago | (#44858719)

So what if it if the design is inspired by a Sci-Fi TV show? Show me that this would have cost way more than some other design had a non-Star Trek fan been responsible for its acquisition.

Do they even need this room? The question is not could it have been designed cheaper, but could the NSA simply not built it?

Video (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858469)

This is apparently video of it from 2007:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFNUbdARitk

There's more of these control rooms (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 10 months ago | (#44858569)

DBI has built control rooms for other agencies. Here's their portfolio [dbia.com] . They did the new White House Situation Room (which looks reasonable), the National Counterterrorism Center (overdid the lighting effects), Lockheed Martin (looks like a movie set, overhead lighting grids and all), a NASA auditorium (just rows of seats and some big screens), GeoEye (overdid the ceiling design), Defense Information Security Agency (fancy ceiling, lots of Eames chairs.)

But only for the NSA facility did they really go over the top. This is the silliest control center design since the Moscow United electric power control center [dezeen.com] The layout makes no sense. The person in the "Captain's chair" is in front, and can't see what everybody else is doing. The "captains chair" has no controls or screens of its own, so whomever sits there cannot do anything except shout orders.

A common setup in operational control centers, especially USAF and NASA, is to have the ability for each station to look at screens of other stations in view-only mode. (Originally this was done with an actual channel selector and an analog cable TV system). When something important is happening, a lot of people may need to look at one display. This eliminates everybody crowding around the station that has the key information at the moment. Once you have that, the physical layout doesn't matter as much.

The result is that most modern military command centers are rather boring - they look like a help-desk operation. The current NORAD center looks much less impressive than its predecessors. In the field, a bunch of laptops in a tent can operate as a command center. A modern tactical operations center looks like that, not like one of these fancy overdecorated rooms.

Probably better to model it after the Federation.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44858769)

than after the Cardassians.

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