Dear U.S. Citizen,
Please accept our most egregiously sincere apologies for the difficulties and inconveniences the secret monitoring of your phone records and email and GPS units and foreign travel and bank accounts and yes, even your snail mail has evidently caused.
We here at the NSA strive for the perfection of our services, which depend on the chronic obliviousness of you, our valued customers. Unfortunately, due to one disgruntled deadbeat (who escaped to China to avoid government persecution — which is like joining the Army because you’re tired of people telling you what to do) you now know of our continuing efforts to keep you safe. That was never our intention.
When you are even tangentially aware of the absurd lengths the National Security Agency will go to keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way, our mission has failed. If you knew half the crap we have to slog through here, your hair would curl, but that’s another story altogether.
Yes, we’re pretty much keeping tabs on everything everyone says and does, all the time, which we understand upsets a few of you. Folks. Don’t worry. Nobody’s actually listening to any of this stuff. We’re just used to collecting it. If it makes you feel any better, think of this whole enterprise as an exceedingly long, government-subsidized episode of “Hoarders.” You can trust us.
And seriously, anybody who didn’t suspect this kind of snooping was going on is not to be trusted with knives in the kitchen without a fencing mask. Privacy is soooo 20th Century. You share the regularity of your bowel movements on Facebook, but we check around to find out who’s making coded phone calls to al-Qaida and suddenly everybody’s nose is out of joint? You kidding me?
Unfortunately, one of our representatives testified in front of Congress, “no, we aren’t collecting data on Americans,” when what he meant to say is, “yes, we ARE collecting data on Americans.” James Clapper simply gave the “least untruthful answer possible.” Then again, Congress knows that getting a straight answer from us is harder than bending a wire coat-hanger into a number representing pi to the sixth digit with your teeth. All for your protection.
See, the problem is, nobody knows who the enemy is anymore. Narrowing suspicion is much too time-consuming. Lot easier to wiretap the entire nation than try to pick out the one or two most devious of you. Besides, what could be more democratic than spying on everybody?
We call the process data mining. And you, the soft quarry, are producing up to a billion records a day. Which is real similar to pulverizing Everest, then sifting through the rubble for a blue pebble. It ain’t easy, people. Lot of haystacks, not so many needles.
To ensure this glitch never occurs again, we are rectifying the glitcher in order to return our service to the high-level quality that you, the citizens of America, have come to expect. For the inconvenience we have caused, each household in America will receive 3 free months of HBO.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this matter, please contact your Congressperson. Thanks for your understanding, and please, don’t bother looking for us. You can be sure, we’ll be looking after you.
Your ever-vigilant friends at the NSA. — P.S. Don’t forget to “like us” on Facebook.
Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. E-mail Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.