Congress later gave retroactive immunity to the telecoms that assisted the government.
That much is known. What may come as a surprise is that during his tenure at the AISC, Alexander made it quite clear that he perceived himself as none other than Star Trek's James T. Kirk, or to a lesser extent, Jean-Luc Piccard, if only based on how he decorated his "office" - the amusingly titled "Information Dominance Center." Amusingly, because said information dominance failed completely to foresee the events of September 11.
An article in Foreign Policy has this nugget:
"When he was running the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the Information Dominance Center. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a 'whoosh' sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather 'captain's chair' in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen.
"'Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,' says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits."
Alexander wowed members of Congress with his eye-popping command center. And he took time to sit with them in their offices and explain the intricacies of modern technology in simple, plain-spoken language. He demonstrated a command of the subject without intimidating those who had none.
Today, courtesy of the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, who tracked down the layout of said Information Dominance Center to designs prepared by DBI Architects who supposedly were in charge of creating the General's work environs, we now have a glimpse of just how Star Trekishly the megalomaniac intercepting all US and global electronic communications and financial transactions thought of himself.
"It's a 10,740 square foot labyrinth in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The brochure touts how "the prominently positioned chair provides the commanding officer an uninterrupted field of vision to a 22'-0" wide projection screen":
"The glossy display further describes how "this project involved the renovation of standard office space into a highly classified, ultramodern operations center."
Its "primary function is to enable 24-hour worldwide visualization, planning, and execution of coordinated information operations for the US Army and other federal agencies."
It gushes: "The futuristic, yet distinctly military, setting is further reinforced by the Commander's console, which gives the illusion that one has boarded a star ship"