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NSA Expands, Centralizes Domestic Spying

Code Name(s) of the Week: DIAZ, Emergejust, Freedom, Highpoint, PASSGEAR, Viceroy

By William M. Arkin

01/31/06 "Washington Post" -- -- The National Security Agency is in the process of building a new warning hub and data warehouse in the Denver area, realigning much of its workforce from Ft. Meade, Maryland to Colorado. 

The Denver Post reported last week that NSA was moving some of its operations to the Denver suburb of Aurora. 

On the surface, the NSA move seems to be a management and cost cutting measure, part of a post-9/11 decentralization. "This strategy better aligns support to national decision makers and combatant commanders," an NSA spokesman told the Denver paper. 

In truth, NSA is aligning its growing domestic eavesdropping operations -- what the administration calls "terrorist warning" in its current PR campaign -- with military homeland defense organizations, as well as the CIA's new domestic operations Colorado. 

Translation: Hey Congress, Colorado is now the American epicenter for national domestic spying.

In May, Dana Priest reported here in The Washington Post that the CIA was planning to shift much of its domestic operations to Aurora, Colorado. 
 

The move of the CIA's National Resources Division was then described as being undertaken "for operational reasons." 

The Division is responsible for exploiting the knowledge of U.S. citizens and foreigners in the United States who might have unique information about foreign countries and terrorist activities. The functions extend from engaging Iraqi or Iranian Americans in covert operations to develop information and networks in their home countries to recruiting foreign students and visitors to be American spies. 

Aurora is already a reconnaissance satellite downlink and analytic center focusing on domestic warning. The NSA and CIA join U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) in Colorado. NORTHCOM is post 9/11 the U.S. military command responsible for homeland defense. 

The new NSA operation is located at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, at a facility commonly known as the Aerospace Data Facility. 

According to Government Executive Magazine -- thanks DP -- "NSA is building a massive data storage facility in Colorado, which will be able to hold the electronic equivalent of the Library of Congress every two days." This new NSA data warehouse is the hub of "data mining" and analysis development, allowing the eavesdropping agency to develop and make better use of the unbelievabytes of data it collects but does not exploit. 

Part of the move to Denver, Government Executive reported, was to expand NSA's base of contractors able to support its increasingly complex intelligence extraction mission. 

Contracting documents from 2004 and 2005 obtained by this reporter identify numerous Top Secret and compartmented computing and signals intelligence projects being run by prime contractors Lockheed Martin; Northrop Grumman Mission Systems; and Raytheon on behalf of NSA in Colorado to building the domestic warning hub and data warehouse. The projects have the code names DIAZ, Emergejust, Freedom, Highpoint, PASSGEAR, and Viceroy. 

Ironically, the only federal agency seemingly absent from the domestic intelligence trifecta is the Department of Homeland Security, perpetually out to lunch. 

Note: A free copy of my book Code Names to any reader who can tell me -- in English -- what any of these programs actually do.

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(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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