Letters To Santa: NSA Vetted, Just To Be Safe

Sure, the sentimentalist will no doubt gripe about how this defiles an age-old tradition, filled with dancing sugar plums and whatever else you adore even though you’ve never eaten one. But what of those who would destroy our society because they hate our freedom and liberty? Huh?  What better way to do it than by taking advantage of our weaknesses?

Regardless of all the privacy griping (which will become immediately silent following the roar of an improvised explosive device on Main Street), the National Security Agency, in cooperation with the other tentacles of government, isn’t taking their eye off the prize.  Via the Duffel Bag, the American Military’s Most Trusted Source:

FORT MEADE, MD – The National Security  Agency routinely intercepts children’s letters to Santa, internal agency  documents have revealed.

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.

Think about it; could there be any crueler manipulation of American kindness and good nature than to use a letter to Santa, the very soul of children’s holiday joy, against us?  It’s not merely devious, but utterly diabolical.  And exactly what terrorists would do to ruin our lives.

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.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former senior administration official defended the  program: ”We’re only looking for any unusual presents, like children who  ask Santa for pressure cookers, large amounts of ammonium nitrate fertilizer,  hyzadrine rocket fuel, things like that. I mean a six-year old with a  hammer is bad enough; just try to imagine that same six-year old with a truck  bomb.”

While you think it’s unbearably cute that children write their uninspected missives to foreigners, little thought it given to what exactly little Timmy asks for. A chemistry set? Right, because American children are just so into science that they would pass up a video game for something educational.  You have your finger on the pulse of American youth, pal.

The leaked reports show that the NSA also routinely hacked Santa’s Naughty and  Nice List for any information on world leaders, and at one point tried to  smuggle surveillance devices disguised as lumps of coal into Santa’s sack. They also  reveal the existence of a massive NSA data storage center at the North Pole,  known as ELFCHELON, which dwarfs even the planned  one at Utah, and is capable of storing letters dating back to 1952.

Remember the last attack on American soil on Christmas? No? And perhaps you think that’s just because the terrorists are just being respectful of our holiday?

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the NSA began an  almost-relentless campaign to insert itself both legally and covertly into the Christmas  spirit.

First the NSA managed to get language inserted into the PATRIOT Act which  required Santa to file a flight plan with NORAD and submit to random TSA  inspections at select chimneys. Then came the 2002 judgment  in United States v. Kringle, when the NSA and the Justice  Department ordered him to deliver multiple GPS devices to the location of Usama  bin Laden and other high-ranking Al Qaeda leaders.

That NORAD tracking thing was just another cute gag, right, because it’s not like any threat to our silent night could come from above.

While many of you will complain that this is intrusive and reduces a beloved holiday to yet another opportunity for the government to spy on its own, consider that your children will awake this morning, thrilled to see presents under the tree rather than devastation.  You can thank the NSA for that.  While you’re busy adoring, they’re busy watching. Someone has to make sure our day of peace and joy doesn’t start with a terrorists’ boom. ‘Tis the season.

H/T Anonymous Coward and Techdirt’s Mike Masnick, who finally got that pony he so desperately wanted.

One comment on “Letters To Santa: NSA Vetted, Just To Be Safe

  1. DanQ

    Non sequitur.

    I was raised in Colorado Springs during the 50s and 60s; the “home” of NORAD. Every Christmas Eve, local radio stations would post updates on the location/status of Santa. Adding even more credibility to the myth and magic. Nothing (in my memory) sheds such a wondrous light. A tradition supported to this day. (The story of how that all started is a great read – Google “NORAD Tracks Santa”)

    Today, I am still so very grateful for their watch, obviously for different reasons. But the PR used then and how it was transmitted and received… just felt so much better.

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