What does a surveillance state look like?

Understanding Empire: Technology, Power, Politics

Trevor Paglen has released these birds-eye photos of the NSA (National Security Agency, the “signals” intelligence organization, $10.8 billion dollar budget), the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office – in control of U.S. satellites, $10.3 billion dollar budget), and the NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency – the mapping [GIS] agency, $4.9 billion dollar budget). As Paglen notes, much of the discussion of the U.S.’ surveillance state lacks a physical, or spatial component. These nightime images, taken from a helicopter, are reminders of the enormous footprint that collecting planetary-wide data actually makes in the ground. Here’s the images, which can be freely distributed.

NRO, Chantilly, VirginiaNGA, Springfield, VirginiaNSA, Fort Meade, Maryland

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