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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Could 'Spy-Proof' Secret Rooms Go Into Washington's Data Center?

Washington Consolidated Technology Services
File photo of one of the built out data halls in Washington's data center.

A foil-wrapped secret room is a plausible use for unused portions of Washington’s new data center. That’s according to a national expert on what Time Magazine has dubbed “spy-proof rooms.”

You’ve likely never heard of a SCIF. It’s a place where government secrets can be stored and shared. It stands for ‘Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility.’

Jim Wallace designs SCIFs for the architecture and design firm Gensler. He said the state of Washington just might be able to find a tenant who would want to fortify unused data center space to create a SCIF.

“It’s not like it’s a far-fetched idea,” Wallace said.

The federal government and defense contractors are the typical SCIF-users. But Wallace said in this era of data-breaches and cyber hacks, the market for SCIFs may be expanding.

“I think you’re going to see more and more of those private companies going to those levels to protect their private information.”

The state of Washington cautions that the SCIF idea is just in the concept phase at this point.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."