Heard on the Hill

NSA Is 'Aware' of Impending Trolling

Hours after his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee this afternoon, National Security Administration Director Keith Alexander might have to answer to a much more formidable force: a legion of ticked-off netizens who will be sending deliberately loaded messages to test the NSA's capabilities. But according to the NSA's press flacks, the agency is "aware" of the situation.

"If millions of us, all at the exact same time, call or email someone with our keywords-of-terror-filled script, we can give our nation's impressive surveillance apparatus the kind of test it deserves," the Troll the NSA website reads.

Two BuzzFeed staffers cooked up the project and bought the domain name trollthensa.com June 9,

June 9, The Daily Beast reports.

The top-rated definition for "troll" on Urban Dictionary is "one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument." The term can be generalized to broader instances of disruptiveness on the Internet and other media, of course.

HOH called the NSA Public and Media Affairs Office for comment on Troll the NSA. Spokesman Louis J. Leto requested an emailed inquiry, as per a protocol he said requires him to keep records of all press communication. When HOH asked if that wasn't redundant, given The Guardian's recent revelation that the NSA is recording just about everything communicated domestically, Leto said, "They contacted us and we made sure our personnel were aware of [Operation Troll the NSA] in the office here and — in the office here." He refused to indicate who the word "they" referred to — or to answer the question directly.

"We're aware of it and that's all we can say," he said.

So when it comes to the media versus an opaque federal agency, who is trolling whom?