Via BoingBoing, Foreign Policy has an interesting profile of the NSA's top spook, General Keith Alexander, who, as it turns out is quite the science fiction movie fan. Seems the General built his old command room at his prior gig for Army Intelligence and Security to look like the bridge of the Enterprise from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
"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 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.
"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.
Alexander wowed members of Congress with his eye-popping command center. And he took time to sit with them in their offices and explain the intricacies of modern technology in simple, plain-spoken language. He demonstrated a command of the subject without intimidating those who had none."
And this is how Congress was sold on surveillance schemes...with over-sized toys. You just can't make this shit up.
The Cowboy of the NSA [Shane Harris/Foreign Policy]