High-Tech at a High Level


President Obama was holding his weekly security briefing in the oval office. “You look like the cat that ate the canary,” he remarked to a smiling James Jones, his National Security Advisor.

“We did it, sir!” replied Jones. “We’ve tapped Putin’s iPhone! George here, my assistant, will explain.”

“Well, sir,” continued George, “we know that Putin is a real sucker for high-tech gadgets. Always has to have the latest iPhone and the latest BlackBerry, you know? So we made a clandestine deal with Apple, and got them to add some software to the new iPhone 4GX that tests for Putin’s telephone number, and then it sets up a data connection to the CIA servers, and bingo! We can listen in, all the time, not just when Putin’s using his iPhone, but as long as it’s turned on! How about that?!”

“Hey, neat!” replied Obama. “Can you also listen in on Karl Rove? Ha, ha, just joking. So, have you learned anything of interest?”

“That’s why I brought Dmitry with me to this meeting,” replied James Jones, referring to a young man with an ear-piece stuck in one ear. “He’s listening to their conversations right now, and … what is it Dmitry?”

Dmitry had a shocked expression on his face. “They’re listening to us! They’re listening in on this meeting, right now! Putin’s security advisor is yelling at Putin for not getting his new iPhone checked for bugging software! And now, well now they’ve all stopped talking because they know that we’re listening to them.”

There were several seconds of pained silence in the oval office.

Finally George spoke. “Have you bought any new electronic gadgets recently, sir?” he asked Obama.

“Ah, no, I know I’m not supposed to do that,” replied Obama.

“What’s that thing over there?” asked George, pointing to a flat object on a side-table.

“Oh, that’s Michelle’s birthday present to me. I just turned 49, you know. It’s Sony’s new e-book reader. Pretty neat, now I can read books and magazines and newspapers, all in one gadget. It downloads the newspapers automatically using a cell phone connection. It even has a microphone so you can use it as a dictaphone … Oh, my God …”

There were several more seconds of pained silence, and then George suggested, “Maybe you should turn it off, sir.”

Dmitry broke in, “They’ve just confirmed it, sir. Putin’s security advisor just said, ‘Damn, they’ve figured it out.'”

Obama raised his voice a bit and said, “Hi there, Vladimir. You know, we’ve really got to stop meeting like this.” He had a wry smile on his face.

In an elegantly-furnished office in the Kremlin, Putin, wearing a similar wry smile on his face, replied in accented English, “You are right, Barack. Let’s get together and play some chess one of these days. You take care, OK?”

One Response to “High-Tech at a High Level”

  1. First posted Aug. 20, 2009.

    We’re surrounding ourselves with more and more advanced electronic gadgets. Pretty soon our mobile phones will be smarter than we are, and not long after that our cars too. Microsoft Windows is the ultimate example of how NOT to make a secure product. Yes indeed, it’s a brave new world…

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