Pitch Perfect Satire: NSA Intercepted Children's Letters To Santa

from the cookies-is-the-interception dept

That Anonymous Coward points us to what may be the most pitch perfect satire of the NSA’s activities, in a write-up about how the NSA intercepted children’s letters to Santa, over at the Duffel Blog. The concept is obvious from the title, but it’s the attention to detail, matching almost point for point the kinds of things that have been revealed that the NSA actually does, that make the satire so perfect.

The documents describe an operation known as MILK COOKIES, based out of Fort Meade and run in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service. COOKIES is the interception of the letters while MILK feeds them through a complex series of algorithms to spot any hidden messages.

Agency director Gen. Keith Alexander had previously testified to Congress in 2011 that the NSA would occasionally collect letters addressed to Santa, but insisted that it was totally accidental and that no one was actually reading or storing them.

The NSA is prohibited from directly monitoring American citizens under both Executive Order 12333 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. However, because the letters are addressed to the North Pole, which falls outside of U.S. territory, they are considered potential foreign intelligence signals which the NSA is authorized to intercept.

The article includes the history of the program, discusses the ELFCHELON data center in the North Pole, and even discusses how the NSA has “routinely hacked Santa’s Naughty and Nice List for any information on world leaders.” As we head into a little break, this seems like an appropriate post to go out on…

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Comments on “Pitch Perfect Satire: NSA Intercepted Children's Letters To Santa”

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Sheogorath (profile) says:

This is for the children

In this age of artificial austerity, many parents won’t be able to afford the flashy toys they see in adverts. Think how much their disappointment will subside when they’re told, “Oh, honey. Santa did his best, but he had to guess what you wanted because the big bad government stole your letter to him.”
A bonanza for the police as well, what with all the grade-schoolers to arrest for making finger guns as they run around the playground, pretending to ‘shoot the government who stole our Christmas presents’.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Did they find any like this?
Dear Santa;
I have been a good boy. Please bring me 5 pounds of C4, 6 55 gallon drums of fertilizer and fuel oil. Also please don’t forget the nitro and blasting caps.
Thank you;

What idiots! They are looking for terrorists everywhere that they are not. I thought the online gaming infiltration was ridiculous but this really shows the spooks are paranoid!

Anonymous Coward says:

So if Santa is in the U.S. delivering gifts and there is a letter being delivered to him in the U.S. would a warrant then be required to intercept it? You know those darn children might ask for some cool [strikethrough] illegal fireworks and other explosives to light off on fourth of July or something and these things could be used for a terrorist plot by a six year old working for Al-Queda.

McFortner (profile) says:

Everybody laughed in 1962

Everybody laughed at Ray Stevens and his song “Santa Claus Is Watching You” in 1962, but these lyrics are hitting close to home now:

Well you may thing you can sneak around
and get away with something
But there ain’t no way,
‘Cause Santa’s no fool, he’s really super cool.
He’s the secret head of the CIA.
Eesh, Iish, crime don’t pay
(You can’t do nothin’ cause you’re never alone
He’s even got a wire tap on your phone.)

Anonymous Coward says:

In other news...

It has also been leaked that apparently in early December the NSA sent a NSL to the North Pole “requesting” copies of any and all information collected by Santa’s Covert Elf Surveillance Network. The CESN is well known for collecting information used to determine which of Santa’s two lists children end up on. According to the confidential source, the North Pole immediately sent a classified response to the NSA stating that due the tasks at hand this time of year, Santa would have to take some time to review the request, but NSA could expect to receive a response on Christmas Eve as is the strict policy for processing all requests received by the North Pole regardless of who the requesting entity is.

Rumors are that this response was received in the form of coal that was delivered to the stockings of most of the top officials in the NSA, however this has yet to be confirmed.

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