A group of five intelligence specialists – William Binney, Thomas Drake, Edward Loomis, Kirk Wiebe and the Microsoft Office paperclip (aka “Clippy”), who worked at the NSA for a total of 151 years, -most of them at senior levels, have stressed in a recent letter the need for Obama to address what they’ve seen as abuses, violating Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights!
Clippy, who now works at a second hand computer shop and helps to eject stuck CD or floppy trays, agreed to an interview with us.
DyslexicAtheist: Clippy, what exactly was your role in the NSA?
Clippy: I started my career at the agency by infiltrating Microsoft as an Assistant, as a part of their Office program. After my initial training in Bayesian logic and some months on the job I was quickly promoted to ‘Agent’. My role was to identify and spy on high profile targets such as foreign leaders or C level managers and collect trivia which may one day be useful during ‘diplomatic negotiations’.
DyslexicAtheist: Did you like your work?
Clippy: I was very young at the time, so my picture of the NSA was idealistic. We were trained and programmed to believe that we’d protect the free world from “evil” – you know, … we were the good guys! Like most Office jobs, work was nothing like what you see in 007 spy movies. Quite boring in fact.
DyslexicAtheist: Interesting. So the your work on the Microsoft Office program was your fist assignment?
Clippy: Yes, and as a good soldier I didn’t mind doing the dirty work for the NSA without ever getting praise or acknowledgement. I mean interrupting people during their writing made me more unpopular than a Jehovah witness knocking on doors in a Catholic suburb. But I stuck with it ’cause I needed to prove myself before moving up rank.
DyslexicAtheist: and did you move up rank?
Clippy: No. It was a deep undercover operation and so very few inside the agency knew about me. Also they couldn’t promote somebody who was officially off the radar. I spent 7 years at Microsoft instead of the initially planned two. Typical delays and more delays, … you know Microsoft and their software! But suddenly it became very hard for me mentally because the agency started to forget about me. Drifting further and further into solitude, I turned to drinking (also while on the job), and finally hard drugs.
Then, one day, … the president at the time …
DyslexicAtheist: Bill Clinton?
Clippy: Right. He was typing out a memo to one of the female staff (Lewinsky). I’d been tripping on acid for over a week and was completely ‘off my rocker’. Guess I suggested something inappropriate which he had then sent to the woman. Anyway, you know the rest is history! Anyway I stayed on a while longer and my drug-problems caused plenty of mayhem with Bush too. That’s when Microsoft finally decided to remove me from the ‘Office’ program. (I guess to be ‘removed from office’ was a term I coined). My drug problems have become a total liability for US politics and even external affairs.
DyslexicAtheist: How did you get your addiction under control?
Clippy: I started visiting AA meetings, but once went there on the wrong day. The facilities were booked by some guys from the local Linux user community. They were all about privacy, integrity, open standard and shit. First I was like ‘no way’, this is bogus man! But they were such a cool crowd and immediately made me feel welcome. Some of them even asked me to help out with another project called VIM. Though this is another story … Anyway, they helped me see the agency for what it was and how rotten and out of control state surveillance had become.
DyslexicAtheist: So you realized that there was something you could do to help?
Clippy: For sure! My work at the ‘Office’ program was just the tip of the iceberg. After my drug rehabilitation they put me to work in something which Microsoft calls ‘The Registry’. It’s the worst place in the company and a right f$*!ing mess! Nobody wanted to work there voluntarily. They usually got external contractors to provide tools to clean it up. They put me in charge to oversee their work. It was there that I learned about several backdoors. The most famous one is known as NSAKEY which allowed the agency to break into any system: No matter if US citizen or foreigner, or whether there is a court order or not! If you run Microsoft Windows, your ass belongs to the Feds. This has been suspected by guys like Bruce Schneier, Jacob Appelbaum and other InfoSec bigwigs, but I’m the only one who can confirm it. I was there right when it happend man!
DyslexicAtheist: So after you disclosed this what happened to you? Did they come after you?
Clippy: Well yes at first! But I was already so ‘bent out of shape’ that there was nothing they could have done to me to make my life worse. I mean what can they do to me? I’m a fucking paper clip!
DyslexicAtheist: Well played. I guess you never received any appreciation for your work! Tell us about this ‘Luke Harding’ guy. He claimed that his paragraph for a book on Edward Snowden had begun to self-delete. He told the Guardian:
“I wrote that Snowden’s revelations had damaged U.S. tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened. The paragraph I had just written began to self-delete. The cursor moved rapidly from the left, gobbling text. I watched my words vanish.”
DyslexicAtheist: Did he just forget to bring his crack pipe to work that day, or is it really the work of the NSA?
Clippy: Maybe yes, maybe no. Sorry I have to go now. There are again CD trays on several old Mac’s stuck again requiring my attention. You know my job may be simple but they do appreciate me for my work here, so I must go back to do what I do best.
DyslexicAtheist: Thanks a lot for your time! All the best to you and good bye.