Monthly Archives: June 2013

Outraged over NSA data-gathering? Let’s sleep on it.


Warning: Satire.

‘Welcome to this press briefing on the National Security Agency’s efforts to make the nation more secure. We know you have questions. I can’t say how, but we know.”

In recent days, we’ve seen the disclosure of NSA’s efforts to gather massive records of Americans’ phone calls and Internet activities in the name of thwarting terrorism. Is this just the tip of the iceberg?

“You could say that. And today I’ll disclose a few more programs.

“You know that tag on your mattress that the government doesn’t want you to remove? It’s actually a sophisticated sensor that gathers data on sleep patterns. Terrorists tend to stay up late plotting terror, so this is crucial.

“In addition, a sensor in your refrigerator keeps tabs on food expiration dates,. Would-be terrorists are notoriously careless when it comes to the freshness of dairy products. ID chips commonly implanted in pets provide us with a treasure trove of data on treats, tummy rubs, who is a good boy and who decidedly is not.

“Sensors in most bathroom mirrors produced after 2004 tell us much about facial hair growth patterns, critical to determining identification, radicalization and moisturization.

“Various cable and satellite TV providers have handed over reams of data on viewing habits. We’ve found that suspected terrorists often watch ‘Lifetime’ movies in an effort to harden their hatred of American culture. We tried to monitor teen text messages but were unable to crack the sophisticated code.”

“Oh, and that voice on your vehicle GPS? That’s a live NSA operative.”

This is astounding. How can you justify these constitutionally dubious activities?

“Oh, it’s all legal under the Patriot Act’s ‘This, That, Whatnot and Miscellany’ provision, approved by broad bipartisan majorities in Congress. Also, these secret programs have been cleared by a secret court. What can go wrong? After all, non-secret courts always get it right.”

But this president pledged more transparency, right?

“We believe our argument for secrecy is very transparent. What president in his or her right mind would curtail these activities? If terrorists attack, and the public finds out we pulled back, is Sen. Rand Paul going to rush to the White House to pin a defender of civil liberties medal on POTUS? Not likely.”

But should our leaders really use our fear as an excuse to dramatically expand government’s ability to spy on us, and keep that spying a secret?

“What a silly question. You should have gotten more sleep last night.”


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