Trouble in spy land

You may have thought that at least one redeeming factor in the National Security Agency’s collection of information from all over the country and the world is that it is electronic data and, therefore, can be stored in a relatively small space.

You would be wrong. NSA is currently building a 1,000,000-square-foot storage facility in Bluffton, Utah, for $1.4 billion. That will go along with a smaller one in San Antonio. NSA’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., has 3,000,000 square feet, according to Wikipedia.

The Wall Street Journal noted that more storage is planned for the Fort Meade facility.

The Journal also reported that things are not going smoothly in the construction at the Utah site. A series of fiery explosions have been blamed on the facility’s electrical system and have caused delays that have cost about $50 million.

Because of the electrical problems, contractors missed an October 2012 deadline for completion of the first phase of the project. It remains uncompleted. They also missed a Sept. 24 completion date for the entire center (obviously).

Contractors are supposedly facing $50,000 per day penalties for missing the first deadline. Those penalties were to jump to $100,000 per day after the completion date was missed.

Just who will be responsible for those penalties? The lead contractor is pointing the finger at electric switches provided by a subcontractor. The sub denies its switches are the problem. One theory says the problem is the design of the system itself and the blame belongs on the lead contractor and the architects.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing the project, says the matter is up for debate.

Ah, well, we’re sure the government will straighten it out. After all, if we can have a smooth rollout like, then building systems and facilities to help NSA keep tabs on a couple of billion people around the world shouldn’t be that hard.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.