Star Trek Command Center Built by NSA Chief

    September 17, 2013

About a week ago, ForeignPolicy posted an expose by writer Shane Harris about Lt. General Keith Alexander, the current chief of the National Security Agency. That article painted Alexander as a “cowboy” who was less interested in his obligation to the law and more interested in getting the job done.

“Alexander wants as much data as he can get. And he wants to hang on to it for as long as he can,” Harris wrote. “To prevent the next terrorist attack, he thinks he needs to be able to see entire networks of communications… To find the needle in the haystack, he needs the entire haystack.”

Harris’ descriptions of the general imply Alexander is, in some ways, to blame for the bloated intelligence gathering of the NSA used today. But Alexander’s informational analysis was just as bloated when he ran the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command and commissioned an architectural firm called DBI Architects build a Star Trek-inspired war room called the Information Dominance Center.

The PBS story on the war room says that Alexander regularly brought his “future allies” down to the IDC, located at Fort Belvoir, VA. PBS quoted a retired officer, formerly in charge of VIP visits to Belvoir, as saying that “Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard.”

For Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, already embroiled in his own information war with the NSA, this latest revelation was an invitation to do some digging. In his own version of the story for the Guardian, Greenwald appropriately wrote that “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.”

The following images were obtained by Greenwald from the architectural firm’s website.

[Images via Glenn Greenwald/]