Recently, AllahPundit over at ripped on Rand Paul for tweeting that he would shut down the NSA data center in Bluffdale, Utah, but his criticism misses the mark on a few important points.

Rand swung by Bluffdale on Aug. 29 and tweeted out a photo of himself standing in front of the infamous NSA facility.

AllahPundit took that to mean Rand plans to shut down the entire NSA.

I thought Rand’s problem with the NSA was that it casts far, far too wide a net, ensnaring millions of innocent American citizens, in gathering metadata to try to find terrorists. Now he’s suggesting that we need to get rid of the NSA and its signals intelligence capability entirely? What?

In fact, the facility in Bluffdale serves only as a massive data storage facility. It would have no useful purpose if the agency was not engaged in mass, warrantless, dragnet collection of data – the very thing Rand said he wants to stop. The Bluffdale facility does not play any role in the actual gathering of signal intelligence.

Many intelligence experts argue mass collection of data actually hinders the core NSA mission. It buries the agency under so much data that analysts can’t possibly sift through it all to pinpoint actual threats. As journalist Glenn Greenwald said, “You don’t find a needle in a haystack by adding more hay.”

So let’s get this straight – shutting down the Utah NSA data center is essential if you want the NSA to have a useful and effective signals intelligence capability.

Mike Maharrey

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