This Christmas, Please Help the NSA
The Guppy is Secure. The Mice are Ready. Bubba has the clock.
I say these things because I am trying to help the unappreciated men and women of the NSA.
The NSA has a really tough job. While the precise budget of its internet surveillance program is classified, it is almost certainly less than $50 billion per year, as otherwise alert Congressional bean-counters might have become aware of it before the recent disclosures. Thus, even at the agency's thrifty pay rates of $200,000 per employee, benefits and other overheads included, that means there can at most be 250,000 analysts employed by the program, barely one for every 10,000 internet-users on the planet, whose emails they must read every day.
Never before in the course of human events have so many imposed such a heavy burden on so few.
The work can be risky. Many NSA employees have lost their life savings in dealings with Nigerian princes. Others have caught painful and embarrassing diseases while following up promising leads. Still more have had their marriages destroyed as unsympathetic spouses objected forcefully to household clutter resulting from repeated purchases of products whose purpose they could not comprehend.
But the greatest danger is from boredom, the hopeless boredom that comes from reading endless piles of email messages of no interest whatsoever. It is therefore imperative for all citizens of goodwill to do whatever they can to make their email messages more interesting to the NSA.
It turns out that there is an easy way to do this. Informed sources on the internet have compiled lists of words that cause NSA hearts to flutter. Several excellent collections can be found simply by entering "NSA Buzzwords" in any good search engine. If you include at least some of these selections in your email messages, you will be sure to brighten up the day of your NSA minder.
Now, when using these key words, it is essential that you employ them in a cryptic context. Messages containing sentences like "let's get everyone together and attack the American embassy in Benghazi tomorrow" serve no useful purpose, as such blatant calls for attention are certain to be identified by the NSA filter as spam and never make it to the reader's desks. Instead you need to say things like "the otter has seen the snowman." That will set bells ringing, with drinks (Jolt Cola) and pizza on the house, as excited analysts happily stay at work as late as 5 pm working merrily to solve the puzzle.
I know it may seem like a lot of extra work to do this, but take pity. NSA personnel are patriots, who dreamed of serving their country as James Bond-type secret agents. But instead of being sent out to take Pussy Galore on a ride in an Austin Martin, they got stuck in a Beltway cubicle, sitting around reading dumb email messages, occasionally for as long as 8 hours per day. Unlike our troops in Afghanistan, they get no entertainment visits from the USO. No Bob Hope. No Bette Midler. No celebrity road shows at all! Instead they have to sit in the office all day reading Christmas greetings addressed to other people. So it's up to each and every one of us to do everything we can to keep them amused. Please get started now.
The presents have been chosen. The Reindeer are in flight. Santa is coming.
Merry Christmas NSA!
Dr. Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Energy, www.pioneerenergy.com and the author of Energy Victory. The paperback edition of latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism was just published by Encounter Books.