'Hello, NSA? I have lost an email, can you help me find it?'--Iranian guy in Holland

I almost get through the main scenario. I know they are not going to help me. That’s why I had the build-up with extra information, where I say, ‘By the way, I’m from Iran!’ But I was surprised that they asked for my contact information and asked for my provider —

That’s kind of misleading. On the claim of the operator asking for the email provider…she never did. She told him to take it up with his email provider, and in response to that suggestion he volunteered that it was Gmail (leading in to his next topic).

It’s weird to see this thread here on BB. It’s, incongruous. I thought the video was cute, and it made someone’s day perhaps a little weirder, but didn’t ruin their day. He wasn’t insulting the person who answered the phone, just getting her to play along with his little game. “Not wittingly”, of course, but she played along. Or maybe she was playing along on purpose - she DID ask for his name and contact information - that could have been her own little attempt at a joke.

“No sir, we don’t do that, but please, give me your name, number and email, and we’ll be sure to keep all future calls and emails”. :slight_smile:


You might say they are just following orders.


" On the claim of the operator asking for the email provider…she never did."

Try again. At 0:50 the operator says “Who is your email, like, who hosts your email?”

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Oh the tears! That poor woman! She had to listen to her employer get made fun of for a few minutes! Oh the horror! Will someone please think of the NSA employees! Tell you what, if I ever see that anonymous woman who suffered unbearable psychic damage, I’ll give her five bucks for her time, pain, and suffering she had to endure.

People make choices. If the worst consequence for working for a military spy agency hard at work curb stomping liberty and privacy around the world is that someone trolls you for three minutes so that the Internet could have a good hearty laugh at the expense of your massive military spy agency, I am going to go ahead and suggest that you got off easy.


I have a feeling that your stern faced “NOT FUNNY” position has more to do with how much you like and enjoy mass spying. For people who find who like liberty and find the idea of giving up liberty and privacy to protect against the absurdly small and not scary threat of terrorism, wasting 3 minutes of a NSA operator’s time to make fun of the NSA’s mass spying is in fact, funny. Don’t worry, I am sure that the NSA has shrinks on hand who can hold her hand to get her over the unbearable and totally not funny making fun of her employer that she had to suffer through.


As someone who has answered phones in the past to make a living- I have no problem with this- I certainly wouldn’t work for the NSA.

This is the most polite trolling I’ve ever seen, if it can even really be called that. It’s clearly intended as political satire, and perfectly justifiable in those terms; it’s the sort of thing I can easily imagine The Daily Show doing.

And when I had to answer phones for a bagel shop, I got a rundown from my supervisor on how to handle prank phone calls. I expect that someone working as the first point of contact for the NSA with the general public would be expecting prank phone calls, and this one was quite easy to deal with.


I was entertained! The bit works because the supervisor just may believe the guy is an ignorant foreigner, very similar to a Sacha Baron Cohen moment.

The women taking the call actually did ok, no harm done other than some poking fun at the system.


You are pretty good at that. I hear the DPRK is hiring, you should check it out.

With a headline like this, you just know the concern trolls will not be far off.

I´m sure the poor woman will be crying herself to sleep every night for months after this.

i really don’t understand the pathology of concern trolls or their need to white knight anything that moves…

why all the concern for the operator who didn’t suffer anything at all from doing her job by answering the call which was polite, smart, funny, in good taste, and politically relevant?

why zero concern for all the readers of this blog who are actually suffering from reading your comments? the latter are a much worse offense the prior.


Well he’s hardly going to phone the president now, is he.

I hope that the NSA is paying you handsomely, because anyone making the comments you’re making willingly has some kind of issue.


So if I understand Xeni’s commentary correctly, trolling is ok as long as the person you’re trolling is evil?

I was doing you a favour by assuming as much. Hey ho.

I guess so. Do you not agree?

Look, mate. If you don’t find it funny that’s fine. Like all humour, it’s subjective, but one of the first comments addresses the root of the humour, at least IMO:

“This guy did exactly what I want to do in lots of situations; take the illegal facts of the situation and treat them as though they are a given service that we could take advantage of in a helpful manner.”

It’s silly, it’s taking something and turning it on its head - as well as putting a representative in a situation where they must address something silly, but equally perfectly reasonable. I found it funny, I’d hazard a guess by its inclusion here and the 95% positive reaction on YouTube that I’m not alone.

I see the argument come up frequently that things shouldn’t be taken out on call staff, and to an extent I agree. But it needs to be understood that it;s their job to answer the phone, they are, via their job role, a public representative for the company. I would have much preferred to have heard this conversation between the poster and the head of the NSA - but thats’ not feasible. Regardless, an employee of the NSA is an employee of the NSA, if it’s enough to desaturate liability in a court of law then it’s good enough for a troll.

But then I can’t imagine any of us have had formal humour education, so maybe we don’t find it funny and are just mistaken.

Seriously? Yes, of course trolling evil things is okay. If you had a magical time machine phone that could be used only to troll, it would be okay to give Stalin a buzz.

I really am baffled by all the butt hurt because the poor poor NSA phone operator had 3 minutes of her time wasted. I really can’t believe that any sane human could honestly be racked by guilt at all the pain and suffering she felt at the hands at the nasty man who is in fact most certainly is being spied on and taking it with good humor and making fun of it.

The only thing I can possibly conclude is that:

  1. These organizations really have paid people to go astroturf, which might have sounded a whole lot less paranoid before Snowden blew open a massive warrantless domestic spying regime.

  2. There are a bunch of military-industrial complex workers wandering around whose feels have been hurt when they learned that being giving a large salary to piss on liberty and spy on people to defend against the absurdly small and childishly small threat of terrorism makes people angry makes everyone fucking hate them.

edit: made grammar more goodest.

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Not only that, but he was actually very polite!

This call was a joke, but I’d be willing to bet money there have been identical calls from genuine callers.