Washington – General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday to announce that Brianna Morris of Piscataway, New Jersey has, “quite an impressive and eclectic list of movies in her Netflix streaming queue.”
“Analysts reported films ranging from Fellini’s ‘Casanova’ to ‘Hunger Games,’ and everything in between,” Alexander said in his opening statement. “Ms. Morris’s queue was the best and most diverse list agents and analysts have seen in quite some time.”
The N.S.A. reviews millions of lists of movies, songs, books and other forms of entertainment while scooping up massive amounts of data pertaining to Americans’ activities online and elsewhere.
“It gets to be a little bit run-of-the-mill after a while,” Alexander said. “‘Scandal,’ ‘Love Actually,’ ‘The Avengers,’ over and over again. But then you see someone with ‘Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer’ on their list, and it just perks you right up.”
When reached by telephone at her home, Ms. Morris, a history teacher at Brodwin Elementary School in nearby Edison, NJ, explained that she attended film school in her twenties, and probably learned to love all kinds of movies during her time there.
“We were exposed to everything,” she said. “My favorite was Cassavetes. But I like Hollywood films, too. It doesn’t really matter to me, what kind or movie it is. As long as it’s fully committed to whatever it’s trying to do.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, Democrat of California, challenged Gen. Alexander on how relevant a person’s queue is, relative to what movies they actually end up watching.
“Isn’t it true that half the movies on these lists never get watched?” Schiff asked. “They’re there because it’s easy to add a movie to your queue. It’s just a click. That doesn’t mean the person is ever actually going to watch any particular film.”
Alexander conceded that was true, but said Ms. Morris had viewed more than eighty percent of the movies in her queue.
“We are investigating the perecentage of films on these lists that are actually viewed,” Alexander admitted. “But in Ms. Morris’s case, our analysis shows she has watched the vast majority of the movies on her list. So, in this particular case, the queue is very relevant and very related to actual viewing.”
Asked how she felt about the N.S.A. singling her out publicly on the merits of her taste in movies, Ms. Morris said she had a mixed reaction.
“On the one hand, I’m flattered,” she said. “On the other hand, I’m afraid to watch any Michael Moore movies because I know they’re watching me.”