On Tuesday, the National Security Agency called at the University of Wisconsin on a recruitment drive.

Attending the session was Madiha R Tahir, a journalist studying a language course at the university. She asked the squirming recruiters a few uncomfortable questions about the activities of NSA: which countries the agency considers to be “adversaries”, and if being a good liar is a qualification for getting a job at the NSA.

She has posted a recording of the session on Soundcloud, which you can hear above, and posted a rough transcript on her blog, The Mob and the Multitude.

Make sure the read or listen to the whole exchange. It’s a hoot!



  1. kiwini says:

    Next chapter’s title: Is being a good liar a qualification for getting elected as the POTUS?.

    Oh wait… the last 5 years have already answered that one. šŸ™

  2. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

    “Student to NSA Recruiter: Is being a good liar a qualification for getting an NSA job?” /// Obviously not. Exhibit One on how bad a liar one can be and still rise to the top within gubment is: James Clapper.

    Snowden tells the truth and is a wanted criminal. Clapper lies to Congress and We The People and he gets promoted.

    Nothing to see here………….

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/06/wyden-clapper-nsa-video-congress-spying.html

  3. noname says:

    Our government is not “for the people by the people” as NSA shows, as Wall Street Shows, as Tax dodging Big Business shows….

    It’s really alarming how Harvard/Columbia Educated Obama seemed to be the “perfect” establishment outsider change candidate. Now that we have had two Anti-American Harvard/Columbia/Yale Educated presidents, I will not vote for another!

  4. Tim says:

    If I piss in a cup in a forest and nobody is there to test it, am I still hired?

    meh, it’s all I got.

  5. Tim says:

    Well, Dallas would just call some kid three states over to facilitate vetting the applicant and consider himself a patriot.. So, yes. What?

  6. jpfitz says:

    The world is our playground. Dress up, get drunk and sing karaoke with your NSA brothers and sisters to blow off steam. Lying is very stressful.

    Good on the students!

  7. denacron says:

    ” Is being a good liar a qualification for getting an NSA job?”

    To have been perfectly honest the NSA ought to have said “NO!” Either, no that is not the case, or, “No” to show how good a liar they were.

    • BigBoyBC says:

      ā€ Is being a good liar a qualification for getting an NSA job?ā€

      No, but it helps…

  8. noname says:

    The best applicant, is your friendly gregarious closeted psychopath. They can pass their polygraph without a thought!

    Having a conscience disqualifies the rest!

  9. Glenn E. says:

    University of Wisconsin? And here I thought that the NSA got all its personnel from the Ivy League colleges, who specialize in twisting the language to suit their purpose. The University of Wisconsin doesn’t have a “Skull & Crossbones” simile, does it?

    It’s not that I think that everyone who goes to, say Harvard or Yale, learns how they can manipulate the world by subtly changing the long established meanings of word. But I have to believe that there is an inner circle of “special” students. Who get the “special” courses, that make them better manipulators. Whether it’s just for making them well skilled trial or corporate lawyers. Or whether it’s to prepare them to be well skilled politicians. Skilled at “pulling the wool over the public’s eyes”. Not something the main stream students of these colleges are getting. Possibly because they have scruples about telling the truth. And/or they just don’t come from the “right” families, to be so privileged, to be taught how to control the masses, thru language.

    I don’t know this for absolute certain. But I did know someone who attended a Divinity College once. And they told me how they learn how language can be used to twist its meanings. Mostly as a thought exercise, I’m sure. Not to purposely deceive the public or parishioners. You know, things like, “If God is so powerful why can’t he lie?”, sort of thought experiments. So I think it’s not to huge a leap to suppose that other learning institutions are taking this a step further. And purposely exploiting the weaknesses of the human language. As we’ve seen many a high ranking politician do. And learn certain rules like, “Never answer a question with a Yes or No response. Always try to answer by changing or diverting the meaning of the question.” I’ve heard Obama doing that quite a lot, lately. But he’s not the only one. Or his, the only administration or party, having done it. But I do seem to recall that the Bushes were all rather bad at it. So they didn’t give as many unscripted interviews, as Obama.

  10. Glenn E. says:

    After having read the “interview”, I found it quite wanting in details or meaningful questions. As if it were carefully edited or censored, after the fact. Or perhaps the NSA reps were careful not to allow anyone else, with any decent interviewing skills, to talk to them. No debate champs or law students allowed in, I’m thinking. Or anyone other than green college freshmen, who might excel at language skills, more than the NSA reps.

    It seem almost as if the whole interview was staged by the NSA to later be “exposed” to the public. So they went to this Cow Town college, to pretend to recruit some students. And the “right” scripted questions and statements were read at them. Because I would tend to think they’d just call the the thing off, if it got “too real”.

    • Chris Mac says:

      methinks everyone in that room has alot to learn, as do we.

    • B. Dog says:

      The UW Madison is one of the world’s great Universities. Look it up.

  11. Dallas says:

    Me : “No, the requirement is your keep national secrets, a secret. Don’t bother applying at a high-tech firm either.”

  12. Tim says:

    Why Shouldn’t I Work For the NSA?

    • noname says:

      That clip truthfully sums up American conscience quite well!

      Basically now that we are engaged in a “war with Terrorism” we are also engaged in a 2nd front in a battle against our constitutions.

      I don’t see how Dianne Feinstein can say “Itā€™s called protecting America” by attacking our Constitution! Feinstein is nothing but a traitor to the Constitution herself by not honoring her sworn oath to uphold the constitution!

      The foundation of our freedoms is not NSA/FBI/DoD/CIA…, the foundation of our freedoms is the constitution and why all government employees take a sworn oath to uphold the constitution!

      Government employees are not sworn to uphold the NSA/FBI/DoD/CIA…!

  13. orchidcup says:

    Civilization is an intricate house of cards built upon a foundation of lies. If the truth could be perceived, civilization would collapse in .43 seconds.

    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

    – Albert Einstein

    • Tim says:

      *Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.*

      There. Fixed it for yas.

    • Tim says:

      “Memory, prophecy and fantasy;
      The past, the future, and the dreaming moment between
      are all one country, living one immortal day. ” — Clive Barker

  14. MikeN says:

    NSA gives a lie detector test to applicants. Should they take the ones who pass or the ones who fail?

  15. kibitz-bot says:

    The stabbing-intercourse what is be the sporadic translator wrong?

    • Addendum says:

      Ju forgot the “he is” at the end… please don’t ask for assistance as you self-terminate; Out the door, line on the left, one cross each…

  16. bobbo, how do you know what you know, and how do you change your mind says:

    Two questions/issues come to mind. I have no answer.

    1. Does the universe have realities that will forever be denied hoomans? My gut says yes. It may be that time and causation are but a continuum but the tricks discussed are only available to subatomic particles….. who knows? So–the BS exists, but not for us.

    2. Likewise–its often said in movies that the most difficult thing for an intelligent person to do is to “play dumb.” Supposedly, it is impossible for a crazy person/dumb person to act sane/intelligently. So, I ponder a few of Alfie’s posts above. Sane and clever. Why then the pleasure in posting as a religious loon? Some perverse pleasure I am glad to be free of.

    Yea, verily.

    • Tim says:

      It is often said in movies, “Get the pubes off the lense before the celluloid gets it good!” — usually,too late, before it freezes up and the screen looks like a yawning sphincter-enveloped void to hell.

      But, I digress

  17. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    TEA-Dud in an obvious attempt to amuse us all says:
    7/7/2013 at 10:00 pm

    If I pointed to New York City and told you it evolved via some unintelligent cause over time, you would believe Iā€™m delusional. /// YES—we do.

    But even a single cell evidences technology /// Single cells have…… wait for it………………… ZERO technology. So far you have a perfect 100 for your score. How low can you go????

    far above that seen in even that great cityā€¦/// Nope. Not a single vending machine in a single cell.

    yet you not only suppose single cells came to be via unintelligent causeā€¦/// YES….we do!

    you suppose that process repeated itself and explains the uncounted variety of life all around us, infinitely more complex than a single cell. /// NO… not infinite. An amazing variety, but infinity is a big, big…. I mean really big number….. You Know?

    Yes, you are delusional. Looking through eyes whose electronic signals are interpreted by a brain we still cannot make (on purpose, although intelligent), you suppose your eye and brain just sort of happenedā€¦//// No… they happened by evolution. No “sort of” about it.

    You believe this in spite of reality which dictates entropy engulfs all organized statesā€¦.everything decays to its simplest partsā€¦nothing evolves. /// As we eventually will. But within the general vector, energy is organized and becomes complex for moments in time. Ain’t that wonderful????

    That;s the facts, Jack. //// Hmmmm….. another fact: whats more useful? A door stop, or Alfie????? One of them has to be useful…… right?

  18. bobbo, kicking retarded ass whenever they balance on their hind legs and yelp says:

    TEA Dud goes Maximum Retard and says:
    7/8/2013 at 8:44 am

    Even you can see the similarity between life and machine, DNA and programā€¦memory and storageā€¦ /// Yes, I can. Without exception there is one or more similarity between any two different subjects. Some more distant than others to perceive.

    Therefore your rejecting the analogy indicates you sensed the power of my argument, and were at a complete loss how to contradict it. /// No, I directly contradicted your ERRORS in fact. Do You Alfie see the similarity between you and an ignorant bible thumper? Or would that be the same thing the concept of similarity losing its utility?

    you canā€™t refute an argument by denying an obvious analogy. /// Dipwad!!!! Yes…… I say DIPWAD! An obvious analogy IS NOT AN ARGUMENT! What a dumb shit.

    If you really believe in your denial, you will support it with logical proofs and show how there is no possible similarity between the intelligent design found in everything living, and technology. /// Moron. There are similarities between any two things. What you leave out is that there are DISSIMILARITIES TOO!! Intelligence beyond that required in Bible School requires a comparison of both to see which dominates on what scales and to make according judgments.

    Realize you will have to prove technology never arose from comparing things in nature, because your premise isā€¦there is no analogy, they are completely dissimilar. //// You are an idiot. Surprising you and Mickey don’t exchange views more than you do……. hmmmmm….I think I just threw up a bit.

    Ah… I do crack myself up. I wouldn’t kick a diseased dog…but that is dissimilar in primary trumping characteristic from kicking Alfie.

    Yea, verily!!!

  19. deowll says:

    The NSA should be scraping the internet for readily available public information and collecting and translating public documents, speeches, etc. They also may have a duty to find out what various “friendly” governments are actually telling each other such as Egypt and Libya or even what the heads of state think in private like when the several Egyptian leaders agreed we were their main enemy.

    That doesn’t mean they need to save everything on the net. They do need to profile and pay closer attention to people who have some likely hood of attacking the nation because right now what they are best at is digging up information after the fact.

    They also look like J. Edger Hoover raised to the jillionth power. If you don’t know what that means look it up.


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