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Word of Warcraft 99.jpg

Our Tax Dollars Hard at Work: NSA Employees Paid to Play 'World of Warcraft'

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Miscellaneous | December 10, 2013 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Miscellaneous | December 10, 2013 |

So the British press is reporting that the NSA has employees dedicated to playing World of Warcraft all day in order to monitor for terrorist activity and communications.

I love that sentence so much I want to give it a terrorist fist bump and write a screenplay about it. I’ve never written a screenplay. Is it hard? It’s probably pretty easy, right?

Anyway, some people are pointing out that this is not exactly news, that rumors and reports of this had originally surfaced some five years ago. American television advertising has spent years convincing me that if I haven’t seen it, it’s new to me, so I’m calling this news and running with it. Besides, I have a server password and you don’t, and the power went to my head so long ago that it’s got its own shelf in the medicine cabinet up there. Sidenote: power seems to take a lot of antibiotics.

First, I love that the British are breaking this story, because there’s something so British about pointing out the absurd things the colonists are getting up to on the other side of the pond. Related to that, I deeply hope that they broke this news with the British media standby of hacking the cell phones of the NSA employees involved, because that would be so ironic it would rust in water.

Second, I love that there is at least a muted outrage at the vile violation of freedom involved with only about ten percent of people pointing out that this is inevitably the result of bored young workers who convinced their computer illiterate bosses that this was a fantastic idea.

I want this movie.

I want a Better off Ted style emasculation of the entire culture of the NSA, featuring Phil and Lem using the power of No Such Agency for the time-honored purposes of slacking off at work. And in the course of this con, they start producing reports on intelligence they gather, which then in a riff on Foucault’s Pendulum end up actually pointing to a real terrorist operation. The twist, and of course there is an additional twist, is that the terrorist plot they uncover is in itself a fabrication of al Qaeda members who invented the op in order to play World of Warcraft.

If I had a mic right now, I’d drop it.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.