NSA monitoring Snyder, RGIII cellphones?


Does the NSA know what Dan Snyder is thinking? (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

I am a little behind on my blogging because I’ve been busy with work — you know, the stuff I do that the bosses actually read — and so this is just a quick note to freshen things up around here, the same way that, in certain New England, old-money circles, it is customary to “freshen up” a drink, perhaps as many as eight or nine or 13 or 17 times, in a ritual that lets you pretend, as you stumble around, that you’re having just the one, disciplined cocktail.

My blogging is delayed a bit by the United Technologies ad that bloomed on the Post home page. I’d never shill for an advertiser, but suddenly it occurs to me that it’s time to go shopping and I should go out and buy something from United Technologies.

Maybe a helicopter.

When you’re a guy, not super consumer-item-oriented, and you go into the United Technologies store and look around as if you’re lost, the sales personnel will invariably pick up on your confusion and say, “Are you looking for Aerospace? Over there.”

Let’s face it, most of us go through the world with an extremely limited understanding of what’s going on around us, and how things work, and how someone’s voice can appear in a little hand-held gadget like a cellphone. We could understand the tin cans linked by string: You speak into one tin can and the atoms vibrate and cause the molecules to tremble, sending electromagnetic pulses down the string, into the other can, where the process is reversed, so long as the cans had once contained the same product, such as beans. That’s elementary. But today we have these cellphones and smartphones that are straight out of science fiction. We don’t understand them at all — but they understand us!

What we learned today is that the NSA is tracking the locations of “at least hundreds of millions” of cellphones every day.

Increasingly it is obvious that the NSA has leveraged technology to become effectively omniscient. The agency knows when you’ve been bad or good. That lump of coal in your stocking this Christmas may well have “NSA” stamped on the side.

Here’s what I don’t know: Can your cellphone beam your coordinates to the monitoring parties even when it’s turned off? You say no, right? That’s not what I hear. I hear that you have to take the batteries out.

And then smash the batteries with a hammer.

What we need now is for the NSA to get ot the bottom of the Washington NFL team’s dysfunction. Jason Reid has an astute column today on the intrinsic problem of Shanahanian nepotism. The head coach’s top assistant is his son. The star quarterback and the son don’t get along so great. There’s a lot of whispering lately about bad vibes and distrust. See also the Mike Wise column. This is soap opera stuff. And what is Dan Snyder thinking? We don’t know, because he doesn’t talk during the season. But the NSA knows. And there, I think, is an opening for the NSA to get back in the good graces of the American people: Spill some beans. Tell us something we don’t know that we WANT to know, like will the Shanahans come back for 2014? This is our taxpayer dollars paying for all this totalitarian snooping, so we ought to at least get some good scoops out of it.

 

Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read National
Next Story
Joel Achenbach · December 2, 2013