The National Security Agency has fought long and hard to keep its secrets under wraps. Thanks to Edward Snowden, some of them are now no longer a secret but perhaps one of the more strange enigmas surrounding the agency is how much water its brand new data centre uses.

NSA data centre, Utah

NSA’s Data Centre In Utah

Officials in Utah were considering whether to release data surrounding the NSA’s water usage for the data centre located in Bluffdale, Utah. However the agency claimed that the information was a matter of national security when it sent a letter to Utah officials. When Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle requested the local records for the data centre, strangely the water usage data was not included.

“By computing the water usage rate, one could ultimately determine the computing power and capabilities of the Utah Data Center,” wrote the NSA’s associate director for policy and records, David Sherman, in an undated letter filed with Bluffdale in response to the Tribune’s public records request. “Armed with this information, one could then deduce how much intelligence NSA is collecting and maintaining.”

However, Carlisle explained that the intentions of the local paper were just part of the debate on the impact that the data centre is having on the area. “We are the second driest state in the nation,” he says. “We’re just in the habit of accounting for water in this state because we have to. There’s just not enough water.”

Carlisle appealed in order to get the water data released and on March 19 he won, meaning that the Utah State Records Committee had rejected the NSA’s arguement and the records had to be released.

So it seems that one-by-one the NSA’s secrets are coming to the fore and with the likes of Edward Snowden around, no doubt there is more to come.

[Image via BusinessInsider]