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N.S.A. Program Gathers Data on a Third of Nation’s Calls, Officials Say. Half of those are telemarket​ers.

Although as The NY Times reports, the NSA is attempting to gather data on every call made in America–despite the fact that it violates the law and recent presidential, and terror court, directives — they cannot routinely do that to cell phone calls. As a result, most of their data is gained from fixed landline calls. This means they spend most of their time listening to people trying to sell car insurance, junk bonds, and mortgage refinancing.

“Just because we can’t reach all cell phones is not critical,” said the new NSA head, Adm. Mike Rogers.

“But,” I inquired, “what benefit is gained?”

 “You wouldn’t believe it but it’s huge. I haven’t been on this job for long…”

I interrupted, “one day.”

 “Yes, not long,” he continued, “but I’ve read every single status report for the last three to six months,…”

I interrupted again, “which is it three or six months? It must be one or the other.”

 Rogers stopped and looked at me sourly. “Three months.” He paused and then went on. “Look, three months, six months, six years…What’s the difference. Almost our entire staff got terrific mortgage refinancing. Do you realize how advantageous that is? Total income unchanged, revenue increases , no increase in taxes, in fact tax advantages….”

“You sound like you heard that somewhere” I said suspiciously.

“Well I have been listening in this morning. Did you know that if you’re paying more than four and a half percent, you can refinance and save at least a thousand…”

“Yes but how does this help the war on terror? What is the point of hearing every 911 call in America?” I asked.

“Well it’s fascinating. Do you realize for every real emergency, people call in four times as many banal complaints? We hear people calling in because they can’t find their mittens. Or sometimes their children. They call in when they run out of toilet paper or don’t know where they can buy Belgian endive,” the NSA head mused.

“I still don’t see the connection to terrorism,” I continued.

“This is a long process. It takes patience. One day we may hear a terrorist calling in because he can’t find his C4 plastic explosive. Then you won’t be so skeptical,” he insisted.

“Well, do you think we really have much to fear from a terrorist who loses his bomb and calls 911 to find it?” I asked.

“You’re not a professional so you don’t understand how these things occur.” He noted.

“No I’m not. But doesn’t it make sense to concentrate your priorities on the more likely rather than least likely scenarios?” I asked.

“Think for a second. How would we all have refinanced without this information? I haven’t even mentioned how many agents found more attractive car insurance. And some actually made money on their investments.” He said.

“Don’t most of those investments lose money?” I asked.

“Of course. Between you and me, I wouldn’t have bought anything. But one or two of our agents…”

“Which is it,” I inquired, “one or two” I asked politely.

“One. But he doubled his investment,” answered Rogers.

“I don’t see how that helps anti terrorism. Does the secret terror court approve of this?”

“Aha!” exclaimed the admiral, “I just received a note from Justice Roberts thanking us. He got refinanced and new car insurance….”

He showed me the note. He was right. Supreme Court letterhead and all. “Why does he sign it, ‘Love, John’?”

 The admiral blushed saying, “I never met the man. Never. I don’t know.”

I paused, embarrassed. “Do you really think even a poor terrorist would use a landline instead of a cell phone?”

“Well actually the data shows that most of our interceptions are to poor households who can’t afford a cell. And think of it. Many, in fact most terrorists use cell phones to trigger bombs. If you were a terrorist, would you reach for the nearest cell phone to call someone? Boom!!!,” he said.

“Well you said I’m not a professional. But it’s hard to imagine a terrorist ordering a new landline from Verizon to avoid such an obvious and fatal mistake.” I said. “Plus they have to apply, name and address, profession…. Do you think they’d order a phone and put down ‘terrorist?'”

“Not bad,” said Rogers, “and you say you’re not a pro. You’re just being coy. We search every new telephone application for such data. In fact every application for anything filed anywhere.”

A red phone on his desk beeped. He picked it up.

“Yes,” he answered, “three cents a share? Get me ten thousand. I think I can double it again….”

hoganI gestured good bye and inched my way out of the cluttered office. We are in good hands, I told myself, but I was thinking of Allstate, or State Farm…and especially Hogan’s Heroes.

8 COMMENTS

  1. loved the title. “N.S.A. Program Gathers Data on a Third of Nation’s Calls, Officials Say. Half of those are telemarket​ers.” going to read the rest…bravo Marquel

  2. While I cannot stand the NSA, you made Mike likable. A likable nitwit:
    “I’ve read every single status report for the last three to six months,…”
    I interrupted again, “which is it three or six months? It must be one or the other.”

    Rogers stopped and looked at me sourly. “Three months.”

  3. “Well, do you think we really have much to fear from a terrorist who loses his bomb and calls 911 to find it?” is just a superb line…

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