“One of the things I try to convey in my book is just how pervasive this motto — ‘all the signals all the time’ — is in terms of what the NSA sees as its mission. Their goal is not just a targeted operation designed to monitor the communications of particular people. They want to turn the Internet into a limitless system of surveillance. And it’s not just an institutional aspiration. It’s something that they are extremely close to fulfilling.
“The NSA is already collecting so much data that their primary problem at this point is finding a way to store it all. Keep in mind that enormous sums of data can be stored on thumb drives now. The amount of data that the NSA collects is so gargantuan — billions of emails, telephone calls, and other online activities everyday — that they’re building a sprawling new facility in Utah just to be able to store it all.
“In fact, the idea of collecting everything was something pioneered by Gen. Alexander when he was deployed in Baghdad during the Iraq war. What we really have now is a communications strategy that was developed for an enemy population in a time of war that has now been imported onto American soil and aimed at our own population. I think that’s an expression of just how radical it is.”
Glenn Greenwald, “No Place to Hide,” Cato Policy Report (July/August 2014)