The agency reminds super-spooks that even “if you plan to travel . . . for vacation” you’ve got to submit a “UFT” — Unofficial Foreign Travel — request, which is Form K2579.
Once you’ve gotten approval and are off on vacation, you’re advised to “vary your routine as much as possible. Predictability equals vulnerability!” After all, “If an adversary doesn’t know your next move — it makes their job much tougher!”
Okay. So, if you’re in, say, Beijing, don’t go out to the Great Wall. In Shanghai, avoid the Bund and the early-morning ballroom dancing.
“Try to avoid crowds and demonstrations,” we’re told. That means forget going to Tahrir Square in Cairo and most any city in Syria until they kick out Assad.
Finally, “internationalize your appearance.” No paisley burqas, for example. Or, when running with the bulls in Pamplona, don’t forget it’s white pants and shirts with a red scarf.
Most of all, remember that “reporting contact with foreign nationals is a requirement you agreed to when you were indoctrinated.”
So you’ve got to “report the following,” we’re told. That includes:
●“Close and continuing association with non-U.S. citizens.”
●“Contact with an employee or representative of a foreign government.”
●“Sexual contact with a non-U.S. citizen.”
Not clear who you should report this last one to — your spouse or your control officer. We suggest that the latter, since he probably already monitored it, would be safer.
Some might suggest such contact is not going to be a significant problem for the NSA. As our colleague Dana Priest noted in her book “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State,” the running joke amongst spooks at other agencies is: “How can you tell the extrovert at NSA?”
Answer: “He’s the one looking at someone else’s shoes.”
Trash, the final frontier
Anti-litter campaigns on this planet are probably as old as the Stone Age, when hunters cluttered the landscape with half-eaten mastodon bones. (Must have worked. You don’t see many of those bones around anymore.)
But now we’re hearing that litterers are junking up outer space as well. In fact, there are some 21,000 items of space junk — weighing about 6,600 tons — out there. Some of them are “dead” satellites or spent booster rockets. The oldest piece of junk still in orbit, the State Department says, is the Vanguard I satellite, launched in 1958.
And there are hundreds of thousands of other objects too small to track that can damage satellites and the international space station. Then there’s stuff astronauts dropped, such as a glove, cameras, a wrench, pliers, a tool bag and a toothbrush, the department said.