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Obama Vows to Reform How He Pretends to Reign in NSA Spying

Washington – In a speech at the Justice Department Friday, President Obama vowed to, “make significant and widespread changes to the way I pretend to reign in the spying activities of our intelligence agencies, specifically the NSA.”

Obama said he pretended to think overreach by the NSA had gone on for too long, because so many Americans actually believe it had, and that it was time to “publicly and forcefully make hollow overtures toward reforming these programs, while obviously not actually reforming anything.”

Specifically, Obama said his decision that a special court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, would have to approve the querying of phone data by NSA agents before it is allowed to proceed was a way of making believe that there would be a real check on the agency’s powers. However, the court in question overwhelmingly sides with the government and its intelligence agencies, and therefore doesn’t serve as a real safeguard against abuse.

“This court is an ideal solution, because it has the word ‘court’ in it, so people think there’s going to be some judicial body doing some kind of oversight,” Obama said. “In reality, they already have said yes to everything they will be asked to approve. It makes things much easier.”

Elsewhere, Obama vowed to pretend to take the concerns of civil libertarians and technology companies into account, tasking Congress with appointing a panel containing members of both groups to consult the FISA court. According to Obama, though, this panel won’t be more than window dressing, either.

“This panel will be picked by Congress, but I will do my best to ensure it is filled with people with vast experience in allowing the status quo to continue,” Obama said, “thereby guaranteeing nothing actually changes as a result of their consultation.”

Further limitations on the panel’s power will also be instituted.

“As a precaution,” Obama continued, “in case one of the panel members actually has some conviction, I have stipulated that the panel is only to be consulted in ‘novel’ cases. This means it will never be consulted.”

Obama concluded the speech by saying he hopes that the American people understand his commitment to acting like he’s concerned with privacy.

“I want the American people to understand one thing,” Obama said in the speech’s concluding statement. “I will never waver from, will never hesitate to pretend to be a defender of the privacy of our citizens against a powerful and gargantuan intelligence apparatus. I care deeply about appearing as if I pretend to care deeply about this issue.”

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National

NSA Announces Brianna Morris Has Very Impressive Netflix Queue

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.

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Fisher Price Chatter Phone Has Been Cooperating with NSA Since 2003

East Aurora, NY – The incredibly popular Fisher Price Chatter Phone, enjoyed by young children across several generations, has been cooperating with National Security Agency surveillance efforts since 2003, documents obtained by The National Protrusion reveal.

“We have no comment on this report, as we have not had a chance to review the documents in question,” said Claire Dunleavy, a spokesperson for Fisher Price, said in a statement.

The document dump, made up mostly of classified internal NSA emails, show several agents talking about, “the arrangement with Chatter Phone,” and the “agreement we’ve reached with Chatter Phone regarding recording device insertion.”

According to the documents, the NSA reached a secret agreement with the Chatter Phone to allow NSA operatives to insert a chip inside it, beginning in 2003. That chip then recorded data from each phone call, such as the location and duration of the call, unbeknownst to consumers.

The NSA stressed that the content of the phone calls was not recorded, and has not yet been reviewed in any way. “At no time was any of the content of any phone call listened to or downloaded,” NSA spokesperson Brad Nagler said in a statement released to the media. “We are conducting an internal investigation into the matter and will release our findings when it is appropriate to do so.”

The Chatter Phone was released in 1962 as the “Talk Back Phone,” and has been very popular among young children, usually between the ages of 12 and 36 months, ever since. Children pull the toy by a string, and it makes noise. It also allows children to use its rotary dial, which rings a bell, and use the receiver as they might a real phone, thereby teaching them how to use a telephone. It is those pretend phone calls made by children that the NSA apparently wanted to collect data about.

Some parents with children who have used the Chatter Phone aren’t assuaged by the NSA’s assurances.

“I feel completely violated,” said Theresa Abrams of New Jersey, who has bought the chatter phone for each of her three children. “To think those kids are making their little pretend calls, thinking nothing of it, and meanwhile the government is recording it all. It’s very disturbing.” She continued, “I won’t ever buy another Fisher Price product again, unless it has Elmo on it. My littlest one loves Elmo.”

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Obama: Snowden Can Make His Case in Court, Like Any Other Guilty Traitor

Washington – During a press conference Monday, President Obama denied that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the leaker of classified information regarding U.S. government surveillance programs, was a patriot or a hero, and pointed out that the 29-year-old systems administrator had other, “more reasonable” options, besides leaking details of the programs to journalists.

The president was responding to a question from Chuck Todd of NBC News, and he was unequivocal in his denouncing of Snowden’s decisions, including his accepting a year-long offer of temporary asylum in Russia, where he now resides.

“Edward Snowden is not a patriot or a hero, in my book,” the president said. “There are other avenues he could have taken. He could have come back here, to the United States, and faced the charges against him, like any other traitor to this nation, whom we know to be guilty. He would have let us incarcerate him without due process in a Supermax prison, where he would likely be stripped of his clothes, put in solitary confinement, and denied any of the basic rights that most human beings enjoy, including the right to privacy. He would have had no right to visitors and only occasional consultations with an attorney. He would have been given something approximating a trial, and quickly found guilty of the crimes we already know he committed, with the result of probably being incarcerated for the rest of his natural life in horrible conditions. Now, why he chose a different path, I can’t say, but he did.”

Snowden has not commented on Obama’s remarks, though his specific whereabouts in Russia are unknown at this time and it may be exceedingly difficult for him to make any public statements.

At another point in the press conference, Obama admitted there was “tension” with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his refusal to extradite Snowden to the United States and instead offer him asylum. This even after a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to Russia’s minister of justice, which said, in part, “Seriously, we’re not going to kill him. You can totally send him back.”

Asked if Snowden was “brave,” Obama denied that, as well.

“If his conscience bothered him and he thought what was going on was wrong, before he chose to break the law, he could have gone to the proper authorities and told them what he thought was wrong,” Obama said. “He would have been ignored, or fired, or possibly charged with some unrelated crime and discredited, maybe disgraced in some sex scandal created out of whole cloth by the CIA, but he could have done it, and it would have been the right thing to do. And that’s the point.”

Obama was also asked if Snowden had reason to be concerned about his treatment in light of the finding of the UN special rapporteur on torture related to the treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, who was convicted of leaking troves of classified documents and other information to WikiLeaks. The U.N. rapporteur found the U.S. guilty of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Manning, who was held in solitary confinement for almost a year, and stripped of his clothes on several occasions.

“I don’t think that’s relevant at all,” Obama said. “They’re different people. It’s apples and oranges. No, it’s even more different than that. It’s apples and Cadillacs.”

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Man Kind of Disappointed NSA Isn’t More Interested in His Phone Calls

Santa Clara, CA – Mitch Benson, a computer programmer, is feeling a little down in the dumps lately. It seems the NSA is not interested in the content of his phone calls.

“It just kind of sticks in your craw a bit,” Benson said. “I mean, what’s wrong with me? I make interesting phone calls. Maybe not to a foreign country, or to a terrorist, but sometimes to some really weird people who say crazy shit. Doesn’t that count? Don’t I warrant some kind of stricter review?”

Benson said it’s unfair that only calls to and from someone living in a foreign country, or calls involving someone the NSA considers a “target,” might have their content recorded. For U.S. calls, it appears only the metadata is recorded, or the information on what number called which other number, not the content of the calls itself.

“It’s stupid, all this attention on foreign countries. What about me? I’m an American. I pay taxes. I deserve some attention, too,” Benson said. “You’re going to spend all that money to record somebody in Pakistan? How about you put some money into us here at home? Record some of us, for a change.”

Benson said it is some relief that his emails may be monitored more closely, as he thinks he has sent and received emails from people living in other countries. But that relief is small, and it doesn’t go very far.

“It’s not the same,” he said. “Any idiot anywhere can send an email. I get one a day from some guy in India saying I can claim his inheritance.”