back to article Want to sit in Picard's chair while spying on THE WORLD? We can make it so – ex-NSA man

National Security Agency director Keith Alexander apparently sold the concept of surveillance to members of Congress using an operations centre styled on the bridge of the starship Enterprise from much-loved sci-fi series Star Trek. According to "a former administration official" who spoke to Foreign Policy magazine, General …


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  1. bluefin333

    Massive Protection Screen...

    I think they were called 'Shields' in Star Trek or did you mean the far more mundane Projection Screen?

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Massive Protection Screen...

      The protection screen could be referring to shields or the deflector array. Two different things on a Federation Starship. One (shields) are a passive defense mechanism, the other is an active system used to deflect things out of the ships path and/or open rifts in subspace.

  2. kring

    "The facility was known as the Information Dominance Center"

    I want one too, sounds awesome - does it come with missiles and S.W.A.T?

    1. deadlockvictim

      Information Dominance Center

      I wonder what Dr. Freud would have made of that.

      1. Anonymous Custard
        Big Brother

        Re: Information Dominance Center

        I guess it could have been worse - he could have asked to borrow Cheyenne Mountain or somewhere similar and installed a white fluffy cat, a pool with a few sharks (laser beams under R&D) and an overlarge plot device (spaceship, missile/rocket, weapon of mass destruction of your choice etc).

        But then again I guess that's too 20th century perhaps for the modern cyber-era.

  3. Hutch!

    Tax Dollars Hard at Work

    At least my government is having a little fun on my dime while spying on me, good to know that my tax dollars are spent very well...

    1. mhenriday

      Re: Tax Dollars Hard at Work

      But consider : every dollar that is spent on this boyhood dream writ large means one less dollar being spent on spying on you and everybody else 'round the world. Couldn't they have made that chair of solid gold or platinum or something of the sort ?...


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  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Captain Worn-Spook Fucktard?

    OK... I'm going...

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Don Jefe


    From dystopian works about government micromanagement of its citizens through lies, deceit and misinformation to a futuristic journey of exploration managed centrally from a quasi-military Federation controlled by an English speaking council of elite rulers; man the NSA has all the sci-fi bases covered.

    Where are my teleporters you cocksuckers? Your priorities are all wrong!

  8. Simon Harris

    If they want a UK office...

    There's always Tony Alleyne's flat...

    Looks like he won't be needing it anymore since he's been put away for bolding downloading images he shouldn't have.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Picard? More like the Ferengi.

    Even the Borg have more style.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Picard? More like the Ferengi.

      "Make It a Snow Den."

    2. Simon Harris

      Re: Picard? More like the Ferengi.

      "Even the Borg have more style."

      Borg? Sounds Swedish!

      Don't they kit out their cubes from Ikea?

      1. Thorne

        Re: Picard? More like the Ferengi.

        "Don't they kit out their cubes from Ikea?"

        The whole cube comes flatpack.....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So begins the NSA big PR blitz to win back hearts & minds?


  11. Potemkine Silver badge

    A cube would fit better than the Entreprise

    "Lower your firewalls and surrender your data.

    We will add your technological distinctiveness to our own.

    Your culture will adapt to service us.

    Resistance is futile."

    1. Michael 28

      Re: A cube would fit better than the Entreprise

      I think dilbert has prior art on this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A cube would fit better than the Entreprise

        And who do you think created Dilbert?

        It was a suibtle way of releasing information

  12. Jerky Jerk face

    "Its the president is hailing us, he probably wants to know why our datacenter uses so much power" - coms girl

    "Main screen" - captain NSA spy master

  13. Marco van de Voort


    They simply handed the architect anything related to "Star Trek" and "Paramount" from their database.

  14. sabroni Silver badge

    Grow the fuck up.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Where's the fun in that ?

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Where's the fun in that ?

        Is that what you pay taxes for? So some overpaid prick can pretend he's Picard? If this was someone's private project then fair play, but this is the biggest bunch of privacy invading dickheads there are abusing tax payers money to play star ships. Excuse me if I don't see the funny side.....

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: Where's the fun in that ?

          You're correct. This is simply a waste of money; possibly an effective moral booster though... Maybe that's how they justified it?

          Anyway. I think there was some confusion about the intended target of your original comment. I know I couldn't tell if it was for the NSA or for us Commentards. Precision man, precision! Lack of target discrimination is what led to all this NSA mess to begin with you know :)

  15. Brian Miller

    "massive protection screen on the forward wall"

    What, nobody remembers the big screen at the front of the bridge with the blinky lights underneath it? The one that alternated between views of stars, space ships, and video conferencing with allies and aliens? *That* big projection screen from Star Trek? The one that gets spoofed with the crew playing PacMan and Pong on it, etc?

    I always wondered why they didn't cover the whole front of the bridge with a big screen.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: "massive protection screen on the forward wall"

      I never really saw the point of having a front view of the stars flying past while warping. I just assumed it was a screensaver. Same one we use now, just in higher resolution.

  16. stucs201

    Right actor. Wrong character

    Wouldn't Cerebro be more appropriate?

  17. Dom 3

    reminds me.

    Visited UUnet's Cambridge HQ once. Just off the entrance hall was the NOC. Which was arranged Houston Mission Control stylee, with big screens up front showing 24 hour news. Struck me as slightly unnecessary, and quite possibly a *bad* way of arranging staff in a NOC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: reminds me.

      Tell me about it, I reckon it was that room that buggered my eyesight up.

      12 hours and you couldn't focus on anything further than 30 feet away. Or it could have been all the episodes of South Park we streamed during the evening :P

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fort Belvoir's web page gives a "This Connection is Untrusted." warning when you connect...

    1. Don Jefe

      You need to download then unzip 'NSA Unidirectional Permissions Manager' in order to establish a trusted connection to the site. Once you've unzipped it run 'Hoover.exe' and follow the on screen prompts. Installing the Yahoo! toolbar is optional and I recommend declining. It is simply too intrusive.

    2. Suricou Raven

      I imagine the NSA trusts only themselves as a certificate signing authority, as they know how easy the others are to bribe/threaten/infiltrate.

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge


      Fort Belvoir's web page gives a"This Connection is Untrusted." warning when you connect..."

      hee hee. "This certificate isn't from a trusted authority. Issued by organisation: US Government"

      1. Darryl

        Wow, that's not even a hee hee... More like a pithy commentary on the world of modern government.

  19. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    The worst thing about this is that he went for TNG, not TOS.

    1. Herby

      Bad choice of commander!

      Should have picked Kirk, not Picard.

      Kirk had all the right moves ("Poker, not Chess Mr. Spock!").

      Yes, I did watch the series when it was "first run" Thursday nights in the 60's.

  20. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Seek and ye shall find. Ask IT and all shall give given for are we not here to server the future?*

    Peruse the bridge and control centre in all of its vain glory here .....

    * Or is that just the just remit of a few who be more than just just and a few?

  21. Erik N.

    I'm sure he thought it was just a typo when the dedication plate read ISS Enterprise.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shades of another Alexander?

    It looks like General Alexander had dreams similar to that other megalomaniac, Al the Great!

    Total information dominance smacks of a ver controlled oriented guy, and his "sayings" make him sound a bit over the top!

  23. i like crisps

    Thanks, Davy Boy...

    When the Porn Filters go live do you think any 'Flags' would

    go up if i typed in ' Information-Dominance-center' ?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Nothing creepy about the term "Information Dominance Center"....

    That's right up there with the GCHQ's "Mastering the Internet". I guess the NSA and other alphabet agencies really do by their nature attract people with fascistic tendencies. And these nimrods hold our freedom in their hands and get to pull their crap behind a legal veil of secrecy.

    And thanks for spending my tax money bringing in a Hollywood set designer to turn otherwise perfectly useful conference space into a half-assed version of the Enterprise's bridge. It's not like the government doesn't have millions of other places that money could have been spent to actually improve some lives. But as long as a bunch of self-important fuckwits got to say "Make it so!" to their daydreams of galactic conquest, I guess it's OK!!

    (Sorry for the playground language, but this kind of

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Nothing creepy about the term "Information Dominance Center"....

      At least we can be confident that the UK-equivalent won't have been built at great expense by a Hollywood set designer. The Tardis console under GCHQ will have been bodged together by a couple of blokes in a shed one weekend.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's start

    Let's start by firing every clown who ever sat in that chair as too juvenile for government employment. The retired ones should have their pensions clawed back.

    And then they tell us there's no money to pay teachers an affordable wage.

    Thieves and scoundrels all.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Let's start

      That's one of the worst, most dangerous, ideas I've ever heard. You might as just declare jihad on yourself and detonate an "Anti-Freedom" bomb in your own house. Paying teachers more would only incentivize proficient subject matter experts to enter the education field.

      Capable professionals teaching young people with impressionable minds how to think critically and assess and manage risk is the path to a non-ideological, non-dogmatic nation of racially tolerant citizens who support and participate in sustainable agriculture and effective conservation of nonrenewable resources. Who wants that?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's start

      By voting for slightly more intelligent persons for the Senate. One small step at a time, one giant leap for the USA. You know, the more money they are able to use for their campaign the more corrupt they probably are.

  26. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Hollywood-spook feedback loop

    These people obviously aren't going to stop their trillion $/£/€ nonsense willingly. Hopefully it'll reach a point where it gets too much for the laws of common-sense and explodes in a shower of shit.

  27. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Clearly the EVIL enterprise from an alternate timeline.

    I suppose pointy beards and dark blue uniforms with lots of scouts' logos as well as well-maintained leather boots were mandatory? Oh, and the women have to wear revealing yet martial outfits for some reason.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Painting himself as the good guy really is worryingly delusional. White cat and Blofeld ambience would have been more appropriate.


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