NSA surveillance linked to paranoia

Leaks are all the rage in America right now.

The strange case of Edward Snowden revealed that our government is scooping up data we once thought was private as part of its effort to protect us from terrorist jerkwads — like the ones we learned this week, through a leak, are looking to blow up something somewhere in the near and/or distant future.

Now, in a controversial new surveillance program to protect us from various unspecified threats to our quality of life here on the Seacoast, I have obtained heretofore unseen communications from a variety of local agencies and entities. You know what they say: One cannot be too paranoid these days.

(Note: certain passages have been redacted in the interest of national, regional and local security.)

The following excerpts are from an internal memo from the highest echelons of Portsmouth city government — specifically, from the City Council’s clandestine Top-Secret Subcommittee on Parking.

Subject: Prescott Parking Lot

Despite the widespread belief and a growing body of evidence that Portsmouth suffers a parking shortage that greatly impact’s the local economy, efforts to take action on this critical local issue have become mired in controversy, with all possible sites for a second parking structure deemed unsuitable by one or more local interest groups.

However, one swath of open area that has not yet even been the subject of a feasibility study is the expansive riverfront open space known as Prescott Park.

A quick fiduciary analysis reveals this lucrative, centrally located downtown real estate generates no direct tax revenue for the city.

Though in the summer months the site hosts cultural events that place added pressure on city emergency preparedness, throughout the late fall and winter the property in question lies comparatively dormant.

It would seem to be incumbent on the city’s elected representatives to commission a feasibility study to ensure that no potential site goes unexplored and to gauge public opinion on the viability and desirability of a waterfront Prescott Parking Lot.

Subject: Sticking it to the locals

Just riffing for revenue ideas here. But what if every time some hapless downtown resident was foolish enough to accumulate 10 parking citations during the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) we jacked up the fine from $15 to, let’s say, $25?

Oh wait, just read the fine print. Apparently we already do that.

* * *

The following text message exchange was intercepted between two unidentified parties using a foreign-sounding, Eastern or possibly Middle Eastern term while ostensibly conversing about the practice of yoga at one of Portsmouth’s 43 yoga studios.

Party A: “Namaste.”

Party B: “Yes. Namaste to you.”

* * *

The following wireless communication brings to light a potentially problematic breach regarding an apparent weak spot in the city’s water infrastructure system.

Alleged plumbing dispatcher: “You gonna be able to get over to Market Street this afternoon to take care of those leaks?”

Alleged plumbing contractor: “Yep.”

* * *

Portsmouth Police HQ:

Dispatcher: I’m getting reports that that troublemaker (J—- B———-) over at the Portsmouth Herald is fomenting public unrest again. You better go over there and check it out. And make sure to bring some tasers.

Me: Uh-oh.

* * *

The following exchange of “tweets” was intercepted from the local bird community in Market Square.

Bird A: “Life’s pretty sweet here, eh?”

Bird B: “Yep. All those dogs can be a bit much, but you never go hungry — plenty of crumbs for all.”

Bird A: “You said a beakful, buddy. Popovers and BNG are great, but my favorite is the scones over at Ceres Bakery #yum”

* * *

Additional covert operations have revealed an unidentified local real estate salesperson may be functioning as a double agent (possibly even triple or quadruple).

I have also learned through back-channel communications that one of those cute, fuzzy groundhogs out at Four Tree Island is actually a mole.

— John Breneman

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