from the cookies-is-the-interception dept

Mike Masnick
TechDirt
December 25, 2013

1497559_10152050927359641_1788781464_nThat 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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