Kit Daniels

Anthony Gucciardi, with and, along with Weldon Henson and film editor Josh, both with, traveled today to the National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center to take exterior footage of the spy grid facility.


Armed security guards confronted our crew in the parking lot of the data center, threatening them with attack dogs and confiscating their cameras, which the guards seemingly did not know how to erase.

The crew passed numerous warning signs and surveillance cameras on the access road to the center.

“This is complete surveillance state on us,” Gucciardi said, pointing at the gauntlet of surveillance on both sides of the road. “All these cameras yet we are not even allowed to film with an iPhone.”

He also commented on the natural beauty surrounding the facility.

“The NSA is just destroying it,” Gucciardi commented. “Corrupting it as a cancerous tumor on the beauty that is Utah, the United States and the world.”

After exiting their vehicle parked in a spot reserved for “low emission vehicles,” the crew walked towards an unmarked building in a search for public relations.

“We are going to ask them why they can spy on us and learn everything that we do during the government shutdown, where they are full-fledged and in full-force, but we can’t ask them a simple question,” Gucciardi said.

Before they could get to an unmarked guardhouse, however, a NSA security guard intercepted our reporters while caressing his sidearm.

Our crew explained that they didn’t want trouble, just a public affairs officer to answer some questions.

“He’ll [the PAO] probably talk to you on the phone,” the guard responded. “But you need to turn your cameras off.”

The guard’s back-up soon arrived and an officer shoved his hand into the camera lens and stated that the crew could not leave unless they surrendered their film.

“What about Google satellite photos?” Gucciardi asked the officer. “They have photos of everything.”

“Do they have to delete it?”

The officer referred to a U.S. Code to rationalize his unconstitutional demand as he confiscated the cameras and attempted to delete the film.

At one point the guards said they had attack dogs and there’s no telling what the dogs may do.

“They might eat you,” the guard stated.

A keen viewer sent us a U.S. Department of Homeland Security bulletin entitled “Photographing the Exterior of Federal Facilities,” which was given to nationwide “Protective Security Officers” such as the ones our reporters encountered today.

Released on Aug. 2, 2010, the bulletin’s intent is to “raise awareness of the public’s right to photograph the exterior of federally owned and leased facilities.”

“Remember that the public has a right to photograph the exterior of federal facilities from publicly accessible spaces such as streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas,” the bulletin reads.

This is exactly what our crew was doing and this DHS bulletin states here in print that their rights were violated.

“Officers should not seize the camera or its contents, and must cautious not to give such ‘orders’ to a photographer to erase the contents of a camera, as this constitutes a seizure or detention,” the bulletin continues.

Protective Security Officers wouldn’t need this bulletin, however, if they read one particular document: the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.