The article prompts me to have nostalgia – since I worked at the site in question. A fixture of silicon valley for sure, the hanger is worth a visit – particularly when understanding what it was used for after the zeppelins long since made their departure. What the rest of the NASA side of the Navy site was doing is also relevant, to internet history – particularly in the area of spying and silicon valleys long love affair with spin around saying its crypto works while doing all in its power to pay back its sponsor for lots of lucrative procurements in the manner desired – ENSURE CRYPTO DOESN’T WORK, when called upon.
So Google engineers will be able to trace the same halls I walked, and visit the many rooms I could not – being classified areas, with super secret meeting rooms, specially clad, etc. So, just what was so secret (apart form the culture of secrecy, that called for classifying the unix ascii man page… once!)?
One has to understand that the site in question once hosted a joint CIA/NASA mission to exploit space for the spying role that NSA did not do itself (back then). No, I’m not talking about the obvious (spy satellites with cameras and radars, beaming “telemetric” data back to NSA receivers at the far end of the site). Even back then, it was critical to judge whether foreign counter-surveillance penetration had succeeded to gain entrance into the “then-critical infrastructure” (the systemic foreign-surveillance-infrastructure that guided emergency response protocols). I’m talking about the process of IMPLANTING or ACTIVATING the bug that takes/took a router or switch and turns/turned it into the spying outpost (for NSA).
Remember it was and still is NASA/CIAs’ job to enable NSA (not be NSA). It’s NASAs job to use space based or space-related-terrestrial communication platforms to enable CIA (to deliver the implanting or activation, for NSA). Its CIAs job to work with the vendors and the supply chain to provide for implantation – with covers and techniques to suite the risk of being discovered or (worse) be fed counter-intelligence material.
It’s kind of cute that its specifically Google – and its all american attitudes concerning unique exceptionalism – that will take charge of one of the founding sites of both pre-internet (aka early nuclear test monitoring) and internet-era (i.e general spying) secret surveillance – with its massive infrastructure outlay and an entire culture of layered people management (to provide suitable cover stories). One assumes that a few, ultra-nationalist and ultra-indoctrinated Googlers with advanced CIA covers will have a few “Special Assignments” to perform, too – without the CEOs knowhow (or care, typically, once a “Government Contract” or two is placed ). After all, the secret protocols to the leasing contract will not be known, publicly and will help induce that most american property of exceptionalism of all: plausible deniability.