At the Husband and Wife lingerie store here in Mormon country — where babies are welcome amid the sex toys and the motto is "Classy, tasteful and comfortable" — no one had heard of it.
At the Allami smoke shop across the street, adjacent to a hypnosis center that can help you stop smoking, they were disturbed by it. Down the road at Quiznos, the young man making subs went on a rant about his insular community's compliance with the government's intrusions into Americans' private lives.
Indeed, this valley of subdivisions, sagebrush and one of the remaining polygamous sects gets more exercised about the letter "c" — there's a Kapuccino cafe, a Maverik convenience store and a Pikasso print shop — than they do about the National Security Agency's secretive new $2 billion, 1-million-square-foot data death star.
As Mark Reid, Bluffdale's city manager, told <WC>t<WC1>he New York Times' Michael Schmidt, the community's initial excitement about new jobs faded because many of the data analysts are elsewhere. The good jobs, he says, are for security dogs who have a "plush" kennel.
"They don't interact with anybody, they don't let anybody come up there," he said. "It is like they are not there. It is not like they are IBM and they join us for town days and sponsor a booth."
At a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington on Thursday, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado tried to pin down the shadowy and largely unchecked Emperor Alexander, as the NSA head, Gen. Keith Alexander, is known, on whether his agency is indiscriminately Hoovering up Americans' phone records.
"I believe it is in the nation's best interest to put all the phone records into a lockbox that we could search when the nation needs to do it, yes," Alexander said.
When Alexander was asked a year ago if the Bluffdale center would hold the data of Americans, he replied no: "We don't hold data on U.S. citizens," adding that reports that they would "grab all the emails" were "grossly misreported."
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon told me ruefully that on Thursday, "Alexander put in a lockbox information that he's told the public he doesn't have. This is what we're dealing with.
"They think it's OK to repeatedly say one thing to the public about domestic surveillance and do something completely different in private," continued Wyden, who pressed Alexander about whether they're collecting cellphone location information.
The senator is skeptical that the NSA is open to reform, noting, "They're just putting the same wine in a new bottle."
Alexander recently wrote his employees' families to reassure them that any news reports that the agency had overreached — behaving "as more of a rogue element than a national treasure" — were "sensationalized."
Yet, news broke this past week that the NSA inspector general admitted that there had been a dozen instances of staffers spying on love interests. (The Wall Street Journal said this practice was known as "LOVEINT," for love intelligence.)
The Bluffdale sinkhole, which has quietly started sucking in mountains of data in the shadow of mountains, is the lockbox. This squat, ugly complex of four buildings is the creepy symbol of the NSA's remorseless reach deep into our lives. I drove onto the Utah National Guard's Camp Williams base to see the concrete data cloud up close.
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