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Tuesday, February 07, 2006My Dinner with Trouble!
So I recently had dinner with a friend, who we'll call Frank Courtney Nicodemus for security reasons. Nicodemus, recently got out of the Marine Corp and now works for a certain group in Washington who we probably shouldn't talk about. For those of you who know, keep it to yourselves!
Well Nicodemus was in town for a conference on something or other and I ended up making it into the city one night for drinks, and the next day to show him the stinky sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf (to which he replied, we have those in San Diego).
We talked about many things that I probably won't post here (mainly because they were about wives and girlfriends), but there are a few exceptions I was granted.
First off, I was just impressed to hear that he reads this thing. I mean I post and post, and yell at you people to read, turns out you actually do.
I figured while I had someone in government in my grasp I would ask all the questions I really wanted to know. So I asked him about the whole government wiretap issue, and is Bush listening to me talk to my girlfriend about whether or not we are going to have pasta for dinner? (Of course the more likely would be him listening to my friend from college Muhommed call his parents in Bangladesh)
His answer was (and I was drunk at the time, so I hope I get all this right) "Tim, if there is one thing I want you to blog about, it is this." Basically, what he said is that Bush can hand down all the wiretaps he wants, but the person ultimately legally responsible is the one that runs the tap. So this person with the recording equipment is, for the most part, not going to follow through with the tap unless he feels he can fulfill all the requirements necessary to gain a warrant. They have so many other legitimate requests to process and listen to, that these requests get short shrift. So even though an actual warrant is not being obtained, the listeners are making sure their asses are covered.
The other eye-opening thing I wanted to talk about is that a few of his co-workers were in town for business as well, so we met up with them at an undisclosed restaurant in North Beach. Before we met up, Nicodemus gave me a rundown of the crew. No names, everyone was called just by an initial. So there was M, who did something, there was Sam, who did something else, and there was JT, who was this big guy, who I "don't wanna know what he did". (all letters were changed to protect the innocent)
I get a quick briefing on what to, and not to ask during the dinner. "What do you do?" is completely out, "Where do you work?" is even worse, "what's your last name?" would probably have gotten me shot. Basically, I just kept my mouth shut the whole dinner.
The funny part was, I expected the dinner to be almost mythical. Stories of rappelling down buildings, explosions, hideouts in the desert. Of course, since I have a negative security clearance, and had never met these guys, I don't know why I thought that.
At one point, one of them (I think "Sam") asked me what I do for a living. I wanted to protest that, that wasn't fair since I couldn't ask them, but then I realized they probably already knew, and just told them anyway.
Basically, they sat around and bitched about the office. Their boss was crap, everything could be organized so much better, what was with that stinky guy, and wasn't Archibald (not a real name) so annoying. Basically, all the crap that I bitch about, about my job. That's when I realized, these people are just like me. They get up in the mornings, make coffee, drudge into work, where they sit there in the coffee room and bitch about management.
So even though the combined security clearance at the table outranked God, they put their pants on just one leg at a time, same as me. (but their pants are imperviable to heat, so they can fly around in their jet packs)
I like that he's wearing a suit...