Watching the Watchers: An Aerial Perspective On the NSAJordan Kushins2/10/14 5:00pmFiled to: nsanganrotrevor paglensurveillancephotography101EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkThe past nine months have been a real getting-to-know-you period between the National Security Agency and the American people, but the balance of intel is definitely skewed. AdvertisementWe've got some catching up to do, and these expansive pics by artist Trevor Paglen show three government agencies—the NSA, National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)—offer a new visual perspective on where our data's being collected.The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is in Springfield, Virginia, and is responsible for "collecting, analyzing and distributing intelligence derived from maps and imagery."AdvertisementEach of these images were shot at night by Paglen from a helicopter. The sites are massive, with no branding or signage; without the captions and the context, it would be pretty impossible to parse that these were any different than a series of office complexes surrounded by parking lots and streetlights. And, for Paglen, that's actually the point. "A surveillance apparatus doesn't really 'look' like anything," he writes at The Intercept, the new online venture by investigative reporter and Guardian alum Glenn Greenwald, who introduced Edward Snowden to the world (the photos were a joint-commission by The Intercept and Creative Time Reports). The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is located in Chantilly, Virginia, and is the third-largest U.S. intelligence agency. Its budget request is a staggering $10.3 billion.The steady stream of revelations still emerging about the reach of each of these organizations—they're scooping up our random texts, Angry Birds triumphs, smartphone location data, and so much more—seems to exist in a strange, somewhat sinister cloud; seeing these ground-bound buildings is a fascinating contrast.