Magazine | August 24, 2015, Issue

National Security Agency Radio-Frequency Monitoring

LOCATION: Manchester, New Hampshire


Begin Extract:


Female Voice: “Why is she standing there frozen?”

Male Voice: “Mrs. Clinton? Can you hear us?”

Female Voice: “Oh my God. A voter asked her a question and she’s just standing there with that creepy smile on her face.”

Male Voice: “Mrs. Clinton? Do you read?”

Female Voice: “I told you the van was too far from the venue! We’re too far! She can’t hear us!”

Male Voice: “Can you hear me, Mrs. Clinton? Nod and wave if you can hear me.”

Female Voice:: “Is she waving?”

Second Male Voice: “I can’t get a visual on the wave. Her earpiece may have slipped.”

Second Female Voice: “Can we tell one of her security detail to let her know that her earpiece has slipped? We’ve lost communication with her.”

Second Male Voice: “Just have her slip it back into her ear.”

Female Voice: “Casually! Tell her to do it casually!”

Second Female Voice: “Did you hear that? Just tell her to brush back her hair and push it in, like we practiced.”

Male Voice: “I have visual. She’s doing it.”

Female Voice: “Okay, okay. God. I am not going to make it through this campaign.”

Male Voice: “Mrs. Clinton, you’re doing great. Just keep smiling. Tell her about how you’ve stood up for working families and women your whole career. Tell her all of these issues are important and that you’re excited to talk about them. Tell her you can’t wait to get into the issues.”

Second Male Voice: “I’ll tell security to black-bag that voter now.”

Female Voice: “And move her down the line. Get her out of there. Too many voters!”

Second Female Voice: “She is moving. We are moving. Repeat: Nanabot is on the move! Look alive, people! Voters everywhere!”

Male Voice: “You’re doing great, Mrs. Clinton. Keep smiling and laughing. Point to something in the middle distance and smile at it. Doesn’t matter what. Okay, great! Now you’re approaching some local political figures. Remember: It’s ‘Nice to see you,’ not ‘Nice to meet you,’ because you know them, right? They’re friends and you’re friendly and this is a fun friendly thing with friends.”

Female Voice: “She’s doing that thing again with her teeth.”

Male Voice: “Mrs. Clinton? You’re doing that scary biting face again. Relax your jaw. Let your lips just fall naturally around your teeth — right! Great! And now just pretend the corners of your mouth are attached to wires and those wires are being pulled back to your ears — exactly! You’re smiling, Mrs. Clinton! Just like we practiced! Wonderful! Now point to something and laugh! And we’re all set.”

Female Voice: “What’s she laughing at? What is that?”

Second Male Voice: “Security? Need intel on the poster that Nanabot just laughed at.”

Second Female Voice: “Oh God. It’s a photo from those Planned Parenthood videos.”

Female Voice: “What?”

Male Voice: “What?”

Female Voice: “Why was that person allowed within the perimeter?”

Male Voice: “It’s a public park.”

Female Voice:  “Not when we’re here it isn’t. Okay, okay. Deep breath. I call the Times and everyone else and tell them not to run that footage.”

Male Voice: “They won’t anyway. They’d have to explain what the Planned Parenthood videos are in the first place.”

Female Voice: “Oh. Right.”

Male Voice: “You need to calm down.”

Female Voice: “I am not going to make it to next November.”

Male Voice: “Mrs. Clinton, we’re doing great! Now what you see up ahead of you is a table, and on that table are a lot of little purple things, and these are what we call blueberry pies. Behind the table are some people, most of them old people and some of them are children. All of them are human people, Mrs. Clinton, so remember not to smell or lick or stare at any of them. Just interact with them the way we practiced — smile a little, laugh, tell them how great those pies look, and remind them that when you were a little girl you were a pretty good baker yourself — ”

Second Female Voice: “Uh . . . fact check?”

Female Voice: “Shut up. It’s good texture.”

Female Voice: “Nice, Mrs. Clinton! Great banter!”

Female Voice: “Did she just ask for a taste? That’s fantastic!”

Second Male Voice: “I’m telling you, she’s getting more and more lifelike every day.”

Male Voice: “Wonderful, Mrs. Clinton. This is your best voter interaction ever!”

Female Voice: “What’s she doing? Get her to stop that!”

Male Voice: “Mrs. Clinton! Please don’t pat the old lady on the head! Don’t do that! Just move on! Move on!”

Second Female Voice: “Nanabot on the move!”

Female Voice: “Is that a reporter in there? What’s he saying?”

Second Male Voice: “He’s showing her the Times piece about Joe Biden running.”

Female Voice: “What’s she doing?

Second Female Voice: “Uh-oh.”

Second Male Voice: “System shutdown.”

Second Female Voice: “Nanabot down! Nanabot down!”

Male Voice: “We have shutdown, people. We’re going to need the handcart to load her back onto the van. Prepare for system restart.”


In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Calculating Cruz

When Donald Trump’s presidential bid started attracting serious attention, it was perhaps unsurprising that Ted Cruz was the only other Republican candidate to offer kind words about his new rival. ...
Politics & Policy

Born in the U.S.A.

One of the most important questions America will face over the coming decades is how to successfully integrate the children of immigrants. As of 2013, there were 17.4 million children ...
Politics & Policy

My Tomboy Heaven

The transgender trend has reached down to children. I wonder what people would have thought of my gender identity as a child. My experience says, yes, gender identity is complicated, ...


Books, Arts & Manners



Cecil-Justice Warriors

The Aussie voice on the other end of the phone explained that it was calling from a Melbourne talk-radio station, and could I say a few words about Cecil the ...
Politics & Policy


VASE OF ROSES The sunrise burned so bright behind and within the mists of daybreak as to overspill a radiance across the long curve of horizon, broken by the dark line of trees above the ...
Happy Warrior

Socialism for Dummies

When I first heard that Debbie Wasserman Schultz couldn’t explain to Chris Matthews the difference between what Democrats believe and what socialists believe, I chalked it up to her incompetence. ...
Politics & Policy


Sanders: Not a Nazi, Just a National Socialist In “Adventures in National Socialism” (July 6), Kevin D. Williamson conflates Senator Bernie Sanders’s “democratic socialism” with National Socialism, the system of Adolf ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Planned Parenthood is clearly worried that this story has legs ($22/lb.). ‐ Telling a pollster you support Donald Trump, for some large percentage of those who do, is a way ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik's line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing ... Read More
White House

Trump vs. the ‘Policy Community’

When it comes to Russia, I am with what Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman calls the American “policy community.” Vindman, of course, is one of the House Democrats’ star impeachment witnesses. His haughtiness in proclaiming the policy community and his membership in it grates, throughout his 340-page ... Read More
Law & the Courts

DACA’s Day in Court

When President Obama unilaterally changed immigration policy after repeatedly and correctly insisting that he lacked the constitutional power to do it, he said that congressional inaction had forced his hand. In the case of his first major unilateral move — “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” which ... Read More
White House

Impeachment and the Broken Truce

The contradiction at the center of American politics in Anno Domini 2019 is this: The ruling class does not rule. The impeachment dog-and-pony show in Washington this week is not about how Donald Trump has comported himself as president (grotesquely) any more than early convulsions were about refreshed ... Read More