NSA Is a Registered Trademark of National Security Marketing Enterprises Worldwide, Inc.

by Mark Steyn

America’s money-no-object security apparatus missed Major Hasan and the Tsarnaev brothers and the Pantybomber, but if you make a joke about them they’ll get you in nothing flat:

McCall put up a handful of T-shirts and bumper stickers for sale on the custom goods marketplace Zazzle, which distributes most of Liberty Maniacs’ goods. Each of those items had the NSA logo, plus a common joke as a slogan: “The only part of the government that actually listens.”

“Within an hour or two,” as McCall told the Daily Dot, Zazzle emailed him to say the shirt had been removed from the Zazzle site.

As Zazzle explained to Mr McCall:

Your product contained content which infringes upon the intellectual property rights of National Security Agency.

Which is cute considering that the NSA’s entire purpose is to infringe upon the intellectual property rights of everyone else — literary works from your e-mail account, vocal performances from your telephone. But they’re deadly serious. If Osama bin Laden had made the mistake of wearing a T-shirt saying, “Come and get me, you NSA®©TM pansies,” they’d have got him a decade earlier. The NSA publicist cites Public Law 86-36:

which states that it is not permitted for “. . . any person to use the initials ‘NSA,’ the words ‘National Security Agency’ and the NSA seal without first acquiring written permission from the Director of NSA.”

You can’t use “NSA” without written permission? This may present problems for the National Scrabble Association.

(via my sometime co-host)