Cloak-and-dagger business is going swellPublished 9:06am Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Column: Raging moderate, by Will Durst
In here. Pssst. Don’t look. OK. Sit down. Pretend you’re reading the International Herald Tribune. Order a coffee. Make it a decaf. Two Sweet & Lows. Pass them to me. Take this Splenda. Pay no attention to the man with the hearing aid. Give the waiter a five and leave through the kitchen. Don’t forget an extra 20 for me.
Talking about spying. Apparently, we’re doing quite a bit of it. And not just to ourselves, we’re spying on foreigners as well. And like us, the foreigners are none too happy about it. Not because they don’t spy on us; of course they do. Everybody spies on everybody. They’re not happy because we do it so much better than they do. Hey. We’re No. 1. USA! USA!
Sure, they’re jealous. Because we’re such superior spyers. Longer cloaks. Sharper daggers. Bugging German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. Are you kidding me? That’s genius. Who does that? We do, that’s who. The Vatican? No. No. No. The Vatican. But seriously, how’s that supposed to help? Must be a training exercise. What kind of intel are you going to mine out of 125 gossipy old men prancing around in red dresses?
It’s a fact we have the best technology and the most money. We aren’t the ones handing out teddy bears filled with surveillance devices to participants of G-20 meetings in St. Petersburg, Russia. Teddy bears personally shot, stuffed and bugged by Vladimir Putin outside some swampy camp in the Siberian forest while not wearing a shirt. Ex-KGB my big, furry white butt. You’re never ex-KGB. You know what they call ex-KGB? That’s right. Dead.
Note the outcry with the gnashing and the keening and the wailing. Methinks our allies doth protest too much. “You betrayed our trust.” You’re playing the trust card? Show us the backs of your lily-white hands. Unh hunh. We’ll know how serious the blowback is when they stop accepting our foreign aid.
Courtesy of Edward Snowden. One NSA whistle-blowing temp. Traffic analysis operations — dead. Covers blown. Relationships burned. Compromises compromised. Covert becomes overt. Black ops now transparent. Whoever hired him has to be sweating bullets. Looking to experience extraordinary rendition up close and personal. Headed straight for the Oppenheim Memorial Park water board slide.
Or … this whole thing … is a ruse. Because in espionage, fog and smoke and mirrors are assets. These revelations could be part of a complicated disinformation campaign. Yeah. Sure. It’s an old Gestapo trick. You sacrifice one of your own to gain the trust of the enemy. All’s fair when rooting out the tangos.
Down the rabbit hole, maybe Snowden is in deep cover playing some counter-counter-intelligence game. And that alleged activity of his: bona fides to build up the legend. A provocative provocateur. Defective defector. Sanitized sleeper. Mole boy. Dry-cleaned decoy. Triple cross. Lulling Putin into a false sense of security to get him alone. And then. Bam. Sodium pentothal.
Especially considering we’ve only lost a few obsolete tradecrafts. And the ability to appear offended when other countries are caught spying on us. But you can bet we’ll still look and sound and act just as grievously upset as they do right now. More so. Because we’re better at that, too. Do you see what’s going down? Good. Now leave through the kitchen. Don’t forget the extra 20 for me.
Will Durst’s new one-man show, “Boomeraging: From LSD to OMG,” in its final extension: through Dec. 17 every Tuesday at the Marsh, San Francisco. themarsh.org. Or willdurst.com to find his calendar.