Ah, TV, You Inspire Us All

Especially you, STAR TREK. What hath thou wrought?

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NSA Chief’s Former War Room was Modeled After the Starship Enterprise
by Adam Clark Estes

NSA director Keith Alexander might be the most famous spy in America right now. Everyone wants to know who’s really behind the agency’s widespread snooping. And now, a lengthy profile of Alexander in Foreign Policy invites even more intrigue. It also reveals some of the general’s weird ways.

The core questions raised about Alexander the “cowboy” in the FP story stem from revelations in Edward Snowden’s leak of confidential NSA documents earlier this summer. “Cowboy” doesn’t quite cut it, though. Alexander sounds a bit more eccentric than that:

When he was running the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, 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 Enterprisefrom 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.

“Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,” says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits.

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