NSA Snooping

"Illegal Spying Below": Blimp Flies Over NSA Utah Data Center in Protest

Utah Airship Flight
A coalition of grassroots groups from across the political spectrum joined forces to fly an airship over the NSA's data center in Bluffdale, Utah on Friday, June 27, 2014, to protest the government's illegal mass surveillance program. The environmental group Greenpeace flew its 135' long thermal airship over the data center carrying the message "NSA Illegal Spying Below". Photo by Greenpeace Douglas C. Pizac/Greenpeace

National Security Agency workers in Utah found themselves under an eye in the sky Friday morning — an airship emblazoned with "Illegal Spying Below," floating directly above the agency's huge data center outside Bluffdale.

The airship (technically, blimps have no rigid structure) was a stunt engineered by Greenpeace, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tenth Amendment Center to promote a new website,, that lets people track legislators' voting records on NSA surveillance matters.

Why Greenpeace? For one thing, they're part of an ongoing lawsuit against the NSA concerning alleged First Amendment violations by the agency. "We can't have clean air and clean water if we don't have a healthy democracy with basic human freedoms," explained Greenpeace's David Pomerantz in an email to NBC News. "Freedom of association, speech and privacy are crucial for our democracy."

The NSA declined to comment on the airship directly, but added in an emailed statement to NBC News that "All of NSA's operations are conducted in strict accordance with the rule of law."

Sign up for top Technology news delivered direct to your inbox



NSA Denies It Used 'Heartbleed' Bug to Gather Intelligence

NSA's Malware Methods Outed in Latest Leak

NSA-Proof? Super-Secure Blackphone Shipping by July


— Devin Coldewey, NBC News