General Keith Alexander (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

NSA chief's intelligence center designed like Starship Enterprise

Lengthy profile reveals details on the cunning of Gen. Keith Alexander and his scant regard for Fourth Amendment


Natasha Lennard
September 9, 2013 9:34PM (UTC)

A lengthy Foreign Policy profile on Gen. Keith Alexander portrays the NSA chief as a smooth political operator with scant regard for upholding legal standards in the face of expanding the vast nexus of dragnet surveillance and spycraft over which he presides.

The NSA chief, according to one source, "ignored" concerns about the Fourth Amendment when it came to enabling the NSA to carry out warrantless surveillance on nearly every phone and online communication within and going out of the U.S..

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The profile notes a few strange details too: For example, the NSA intelligence center in Virginia, where between 2001 and 2003 Alexander (commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command) would host politicians and lobbyists, was designed to look like "Star Trek's" Starship Enterprise set:

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.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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