Over at the National Security Agency (NSA), the problem isn’t paying the bill, it’s making sure the agency has enough juice to power all of its computers, comm gear, and yes, all those air conditioners.
As the Baltimore Sun reports, NSA nearly maxed out its power capacity last summer, and this year, some agency offices are experiencing electrical outages. The need for more power was forecast a decade ago, but one former analyst told the Sun that managers “let the problem get out of hand.” The situation is now described as a “top priority” at the nation’s largest spy agency, which may have to resort to shutting down equipment and “rolling blackouts” to cope with the situation–unless Congress appropriates more money for new electrical systems and equipment.
Memo to U.S. adversaries: Plan your most sensitive activities to coincide with a very hot summer day at Fort Meade, Maryland–home of NSA. The agency may still detect what’s going on, but with those potential “rolling blackouts” and equipment shutdowns, it may be a while before the information winds up in the right hands.
On the other hand, there may be some (limited) solutions that the Sun doesn’t mention. Gotta love those work-share arrangements with our English-speaking allies.