Media Musings: The Cone of Silence ensures KAOS

It seems no one can Get Smart. In fact, we seem to be in a constant state of KAOS.

The plot goes something like this: Change your mind. Attempt to obfuscate. Pretend to be in CONTROL.

First frame: Rat with a guitar, goat and pig.  Rat says:

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis, June 29, 2013

President Obama is one of the leading men of this comedic miniseries. When he served as the junior U.S. senator from Illinois, Barack Obama decried then-President George W. Bush’s intelligence-gathering operations. Obama even cosponsored “legislation that would have constrained the ability of intelligence officials to get a court order to obtain records from U.S. companies in terrorism investigations,” noted the Washington Post.

But he was not in CONTROL then. As we have seen this past month, once President Obama gained use of the Cone of Silence, he persuaded a secret court to expand Bush’s operations because, well, they were just Bush league. Millions of Americans’ phones and computers have been legally, if unconstitutionally, hacked by the federal government to keep KAOS at bay.

Sorry about that, chief.

We know this because another character in this drama, Edward Snowden, leaked the program to the Guardian in Great Britain and the Washington Post here in the good old U.S. of A.

Snowden worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, a private National Security Agency contractor that did much of the surveillance – because everyone knows bureaucrats just would have screwed it up. But unlike Obama, who was against it before he was for it, Snowden was for it before he was against it. Snowden used the handle “TheTrueHOOHA” in 2009 to post in online chat rooms to decry the leak by WikiLeaks’ of a covert operation to cripple Iran’s nuclear capabilities. No one knows if it was the Booz that made Snowden have a change of heart.

Obama: How can we believe a man who would sell out his friends?

Snowden: Dumkopf! Who else are you supposed to sell out? You can’t betray enemies!

Ironically, it may have been the investigation into Snowden that led to the spinoff probe of retired four-star Marine Corps Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright as the person who leaked the Iran operation. At the time of the leak and TheTrueHOOHA’s postings, Hoss was deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and said to be Obama’s favorite general. Snowden wrote that whoever leaked the operation “should be shot in the balls.” Hooha, by the way, is variously defined as an uproarious laugh or a vagina.

Missed it by that much.

Of course, this is America and there’s a dollar or two million to be made on every political development. Start-up company Silent Circle got a shoe up on the Cone of Silence by developing software that encrypts phone calls and texts so the users do not leave a trail. Since TheTrueHOOHA came out of the closet, sales have increased 400 percent, cofounder Mike Janke told the Washington Post.

Pardon me while I get my shoe phone. Can you hear me now?

Speaking of hoohas coming out of the closet, in yet another spinoff, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gays – a condition often noted by uproarious laughter – no longer need to live under a Cone of Silence. They can now marry and suffer the consequences of heterosexual couples, most notably that of no longer being gay. Strong and outspoken public opinion has been credited with swaying the court’s decision to dismantle the Defense of Marriage Act. For too long, non-heterosexuals were told to “shush” and not reveal their predispositions.

But as pre-president Obama, and post-HOOHA Snowden know so well: “This is KAOS. We don’t ‘shush’ here!”

The Cone of Silence never worked for the Chief and Maxwell Smart, either. Or for Paula Deen. But those in CONTROL keep trying.

Stay tuned for the next episode. It, too, promises to be uproariously funny.



“Get Smart (TV Series 1965–1970) – Quotes – IMDb.” IMDb. 29 June 2013.

Censer, Marjorie. “PGP inventor, Navy SEAL find surveillance niche in Silent Circle.” Washington Post. 23 June 2013.

Finn, Peter, and Tate, Julie. Jia Lynn Yang, Anthony Faiola and Timothy Lee contributed. “Snowden voiced contempt for leakers in newly disclosed chat logs from 2009.” Washington Post. 26 June 2013.

Liptak, Adam. “Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings.” New York Times. 26 June 2013.

Miller, Greg, “As Obama defends counterterrorism tactics, he finds himself in Bush territory.” Washington Post. 8 June 2013.

Miller, Greg, and Horwitz, Sari. Peter Finn, Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Ellen Nakashima contributed. “Justice Dept. targets general in leak probe.” Washington Post. 27 June 2013.

Rucker, Philip, and Eilperin, Juliet. “Obama undergoes a philosophical shift on counterterrorism surveillance.” Washington Post. 7 June 2013.

Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at


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