07/24/2013 02:41 pm ET Updated Sep 23, 2013

I Confess: An Open Letter to the National Security Agency


Dear NSA,

I have a confession to make.

I have just now learned how hard you are working to gather information about everything that Americans say on the phone and do over the Internet. Knowing how much you need this information to protect us against terrorists, and fearing that I myself might have inadvertently done something to aid one, I feel bound to give you a full report on my recent phone calls, emails and Internet activity. I do so in the hope that I may not only save you some time and trouble in your valiant, unending quest for data on me and all other citizens of this great land, but also inspire at least a few other red-blooded American Islamophobes to do likewise.

Here is my first confession.

Yesterday I spoke briefly on the phone with a man whose sister-in-law once tweeted a woman who e-mailed the second cousin of a man who was recently seen buying a copy of the latest issue of Rolling Stone: you know -- the one with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bomber, on the cover? Now there's a piece of data for you!

Furthermore, during the past week I have accessed porn sites no less than 243 (that's two hundred and forty-three, count 'em) times. And one of those sites featured a bare-breasted woman who looked to me as if she could easily have fitted into the vest of a suicide bomber. I warn you, NSA: that woman needs watching. Closely. Twenty-four hours a day.

I must also confess that I have read every word I can find on the net and in print about the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. While I realize that this snake in the cybergrass has grossly misrepresented the heroic work you are doing, that he has falsely accused you of spying on all of us, invading our privacy, and thus shredding our Constitutional right to security against all unreasonable searches and siezures, I wanted to see for myself just how wicked Mr. Snowden was. But having read about his overblown "disclosures" of would-be "documents" that he has surely fabricated all by himself, I now realize that I may have been somehow infected by his poisonous distrust of you. So if you can recommend an antidote for this poison, I earnestly entreat you to do so.

Yours abjectly,

James Heffernan