Echelon Scrapped After Finding Too Many Examples Of Government Misconduct

Fake News written by James Baughn on Thursday, March 8, 2007

from the how-'bout-them-apples dept.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The idea was simple. Develop the world's largest electronic surveillance system to search for suspicious activities by criminals and terrorists. The resulting system, however, worked a little too well -- it kept finding dubious transactions that it traced back to Congress and the White House.

Now the so-called 'Echelon' system has been temporarily suspended until researchers can develop a way to ignore criminal activities committed by prominent Congressmen, while continuing to invade everybody else's privacy.

"It's a nightmare," explained an anonymous surveillance expert at the NSA (No Such Agency). "Our system kept generating these tantalizing leads -- but every time we investigated, it pointed back to a powerful Congressman that we couldn't touch. What a waste of time."

He or she added, "And then, just a few weeks ago, Echelon discovered that another $1.7 billion was missing from the reconstruction effort in Iraq. We assumed that terrorists were involved, until we realized it was just the Bush Administration."

Efforts to improve the system have proven fruitless so far. "We've upgraded to Echelon 2.0, but the quality of our surveillance hasn't improved," explained a programmer at the CIA (Constitution Infringing Agency). "The system keeps identifying Rep. William Jefferson as a 'person of interest', but it completely misses all of the lemonade stands operating without a business license -- sure, they might seem like harmless adolescent ventures, but for all we know they could be fronts for terrorist fundraising organizations! That's who we need to be watching."

Congress is clearly unhappy with the present situation. At a hearing earlier this week by the House Ways and Means of Bossing People Around Commiteee, Rep. Robert Fatcatte demanded an explanation for why Echelon can't distinguish between terrorists and Congressmen.

The poor schmuck sent by the NSA to testify, Mr. Skay Puhgoat, responded, "It's a surprisingly difficult problem. When you build a system capable of monitoring every telephone call, Internet packet, GPS receiver and surveillance camera worldwide in real-time, you're going to get a bunch of false positives. This would be a lot easier if we had more funding."

After the hearings, the NSA, CIA, and FBI (Federally Botched Intelligence) agreed to suspend Echelon until the system can be made foolproof and Congressproof, a feat that isn't expected to be accomplished until at least Echelon version 5.0 in three years or so.

"For now, we're reverting back to the old standbys developed by our dear friends J. Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy," explained a source at the FBI. "Tapping phone lines, infiltrating enemy organization such as the ACLU, intercepting snail mail, and accusing random people of un-American activities -- it's all good."

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