Editorial— F.B.I. Tries to Nab Santa’s List; PATRIOT Act Invoked to Find Terrorist Suspects
Nightlife North Pole Bureau— An attorney for Santa Claus Industries, in defiance of the law, revealed today that his client received a National Security Letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The F.B.I.,” according to celebrity lawyer Sue A. Buse, “is trying to get Santa to fork over his Naughty and Nice lists in an attempt to identify terrorists who might be operating in the United States. It’s a fishing expedition and a clear case of harassment.”
Under the USA PATRIOT Act, passed during the paranoia that swept America in the aftermath of the September 11 atrocities, federal agents may demand private records in attempts to uncover the acts of criminal suspects. They may do so by issuing National Security Letters that don’t require court warrants. Recipients can face charges if they reveal or discuss any National Security Letters given to them.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, reading from a prepared statement in front of a cheering audience in Cedar Falls, Iowa, said, “Donald J. Trump today called Santa a loooza for refusing to cooperate with the F.B.I., and told him to immediately let the American government know what the hell is going on. ‘If I was president,’ said Trump,” added Trump, “‘I’d order the Air Force to shoot Santa down if he crossed our borders, with cruise missiles if necessary.”
Former Bush administration vice president Dick Cheney, who has lately sparred with Trump over the admission of Muslims into the United States, stopped short of endorsing the use of military firepower against Santa Claus. But he reprised one of the Bush administration’s mantras when addressing Santa Claus’s refusal to cooperate with the F.B.I.: “You’re either with us or with the terrorists,” he said.
Buse said that Santa Claus Industries, incorporated in the North Pole, isn’t subject to U.S. law. But the USA PATRIOT Act does attempt to legislate how foreign companies may do business on American soil.
Most of those provisions deal with banks and other financial institutions, or the unapproved import or export of weapons. An F.B.I. official who spoke on condition of anonymity stated that Santa knowingly brought at least one Red Ryder B.B. Gun across U.S. borders, an act that could trigger PATRIOT Act provisions. Buse countered that the B.B. gun in question was delivered decades before the PATRIOT Act became law in 2001.
In addition, because Santa doesn’t discriminate against children based on their geographic locations, he has been known to deliver toys to good little boys and girls in Iran and North Korea. Under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, both nations may be considered “primary money laundering concern[s].” The law could put Santa at risk of doing business, however indirectly, with state sponsors of terrorism. That he is doing it with a revenue stream of unknown origins could, under the law, additionally classify Santa Claus Industries as a money-laundering organization.
Advancing that argument, tangential presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, flanked by Arizona Sen. John McCain on Capitol Hill, demanded that the Obama administration immediately mount an invasion of the North Pole to shut down Santa’s operations. In summary, Graham said: “Benghazi!”
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, the most liberal Democratic presidential contender, came to Santa’s defense, sort of. Sanders blasted what he called “government overreach,” but in the same breath decried “all the ways in which corporations invade our privacy, in most instances without our permission or even knowledge.” He called on Santa to be far more transparent about what constituted Naughty and Nice, to provide due process for movement from the former list to the latter, and to make opting out of the list Santa’s default rather than opting in. He also expressed concern about Santa’s use of elf labor and demanded that his North Pole workforce was paid a living wage with full healthcare benefits, “like the rest of the industrialized world.”
Meanwhile, invoices obtained by Nightlife from Amalgamated Mining and Lumber show that Santa has stocked up on lumps of coal and switches since the National Security Letter was issued. Buse, who said that Santa would be too busy to speak to the press until at least December 26, added that many of the government officials who backed the F.B.I.’s use of the National Security Letter might wish to hold their tongues or they will dread what they find in their stockings on Christmas morning. “If you really want to make those lists public,” she said, “be careful what you wish for.”— satire by Chris Wissmann
Thanks for another great year! Everyone at Nightlife wishes all of our readers a happy, safe holiday season!