Federally Approved Holiday Dinner Conversations
by Laissez Faire
Bare with us now and imagine you worked for the NSA or some other government agency in the news recently. You've been having a tough time lately. It seems like new reports pop up everyday about some new spy program you're associated with. And it doesn't help that whistle blower Edward Snowden and his leaked files keep reminding everyone practically everything they do online is stored in some government database.
Now, add to that the holiday season where you're confronted with friends and families who keep pestering you with questions. You know you can't give them the answers they want to hear. It's for their own good, of course. What's a well intentioned civil servant to do?
This might seem a little far fetched. But apparently, the NSA didn't feel the same way.
Prior to sending their employees home last week for Thanksgiving festivities, they sent out a memo with tips on how to deal with their nosy friends and family. Think of it as guidelines to help reinforce the government approved message that everything is fine and there's nothing you need to worry about.
Looking over the memo, we have to say, it's pretty creepy. When the first line reads, "NSA/CSS employees are authorized to share the following points with family and close friend", you get the feeling nothing good will come out of it.
The first thing they want their employees to stress is that the "NSA's mission is of great value to the Nation." Keeping track of your browsing history isn't the only things they do. They also assist with soldiers on the front lines, counterintelligence, and ensure the country's cybersecurity.
After that, things get weird. "The NSA performs its mission the right way -- lawful, compliant, and in a way that protects civil liberties and privacy." If what they've been doing for the past decade is "the right way" then let's hope they you never see "the wrong way."
Whoops. Too late.
A new leaked Snowden memo revealed the NSA tracks the cell phone locations of 5 billion phones every day. Yes, we said "billion." The agency's lawyers must have worked overtime to come up with the legal reasoning behind that program. But that's a different story.
Back to the memo. Third bullet point for NSA employees: "The people who work for NSA are loyal Americans... who make sacrifices to protect the freedoms we all cherish."
Do you think the sacrifices they're talking about are the ones they force you to make to live in the safe world they're creating for everyone? Probably not.
They're probably referring to the fact the men and women behind the controls of the world's largest surveillance program hardly get credit for their work. But then again, that helps when you're abusing your power and checking in on ex-girlfriends and former lovers.
Finally, the NSA wraps things up with one more bullet. And boy, did they save the best for last. "[The] NSA is committed to increased transparency, public dialog, and faithful implementation of any changes by our overseers," adding, "We encourage the American public to work with us to define the way ahead in balancing transparency and national security. We embrace public dialog."
The NSA wants you involved in the process when they decide how many rights you get to keep. All in the name of national security. Thanks, but no thanks.
If you have a loved one who has a highly classified job, see if you can catch any of these talking points as you get together over the holidays.
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