After a brief debate, the Senate voted 98-0 today to confirm Santa Claus, bag-toting icon of festive home invasions, for a lifetime term as director of the FBI. Upon learning of the decision, Mr. Claus let out a triumphant “HO HO HO,” shook his ample red belly, and handed out gaily wrapped presents to all, senator and page alike.
Santa’s appointment, along with the ouster of current FBI chief Robert S. Mueller, is hoped to quell decades of accusations that the Federal Bureau of Investigation abuses its power by spying on civilians. Last March, for example, the Inspector General’s audit found 22 possible breaches of internal FBI and Justice Department regulations, when the FBI made thousands of secret demands for private information on U.S. residents not suspected of terrorism.
“With Santa at the reins,” said President Bush, “no one can criticize U.S. intelligence again. Hey, what say we get Santa to take the fall for destroying those CIA interrogation tapes?”
During a half-hour confirmation hearing, Santa argued that, as an archetype of Western Culture’s bounty, with magic powers to look into the hearts of every U.S. resident, he needs no permission to monitor email, phone calls, or financial records. Simply by riding around in his sleigh, says Santa, he can circumvent the courts in a way previous FBI administrations could only dream of doing.
Senate Judiciary Committee member Tom Coburn (R-OK), reflected bi-partisan approval in stating, “The guy’s an investigative genius; he’s also a pagan symbol, so the church-state-separation loonies can’t hammer us. Plus, Santa’s so darn likeable, who could resist him? Look – he gave me this nifty HIV test kit.”
But Santa has a master plan, warn anonymous Santa’s Helpers concerned with a turn toward McCarthyism. In order to cut through surveillance red tape, Santa is creating one all-encompassing List, designating everyone as either “Naughty” or “Nice.” There are, say the Helpers, no legal safeguards to ensure that the List will be checked once, let alone twice.
Telephone companies, Internet service providers, and banks have sometimes been reluctant to surrender client information to the government. Now, in hopes of making the “Nice” list, most appear eager to be shaken down by a merry fat man. However, reactions of ordinary Americans are mixed.
Clyde Lichtenloafer, sequin placement manager for the Ice Capades, said he was delighted by Santa’s appointment, which makes routine intrusions into his privacy more appealing. “Now, whenever I pick up the phone,” said Mr. Lichtenloafer, “instead of the usual nasty hums and clicks, I hear the distant jingle of sleigh bells.”
But Memphis beautician Thelma Plattsburgh has qualms. “I don’t mind that Santa knows when I’m awake,” said Plattsburgh. “That’s his job, to catch the terrorists and all. But I don’t like that he can see me when I’m sleeping. I mean, who is he – Freddy Krueger? Like, last night, I had a dream that tiny red and green demons kidnapped me to the North Pole for interrogation. I woke up in a cold sweat, screaming, ‘I’ve been good, for goodness sake, stop HURTING me!’”
Prominent American intellectuals generally support Santa’s appointment, with the exception of the minority who employ irony and sarcasm. Noam Chomsky spoke for the caustic few when he stated, “In a country that seriously debates whether evolution should be taught in our schools, it makes perfect sense that Santa Claus is appointed head of the FBI.”
Chomsky, ever the current-events maven, cited the case of plucky, 8-year-old Billy Wiggims of East Lansing, Michigan, who has already been put on the “Naughty” list for writing a letter to Santa saying that he wanted world peace more than a new catcher’s mitt. Billy was kicked out of the Cub Scouts and will be tried as an adult on seven counts of terrorism and two counts of being a crybaby.
Yet no one appears to doubt that Santa Claus’s law enforcement methods are far superior – and kindlier – than those traditionally used by the FBI. Since its inception, the agency has been known for making wrongful arrests, illegally breaking into homes, vandalizing, stealing evidence, and hounding social justice activists including Albert Einstein, the Black Panther Party, and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Interestingly, denizens of the crime underworld, who have cooperated with the FBI, are familiar with its new director. “Sure, I know Santa,” said Turdface the Snitch, minor drug dealer on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, who declined to give his real name. “He’s a bagman. Also known as Nick, alias ‘Saint’ Nick, alias Pere Noel, alias Sinterklaas, alias Baba Christmas. Now, he’s J. Edgar Kringle. The dude’s got a rap sheet as long as your arm.”
Meanwhile, because of Santa’s busy new schedule, deposed FBI chief Mueller has been asked to fill in at holiday venues. Mueller currently appears as “Santa” at the Macy’s on 34th Street, dandling little children on his knee and emitting what has been described as a strained and rather disappointing “heh-heh-heh.”
Ultimately, say Justice Department insiders, until the government can put a jolly face on all its clandestine activities, every good little American will be well advised to (a) watch out, (b) not cry, (c) avoid pouting. Above all, cautions Turdface, “if somebody sneaks into your house late at night and cleans you out of everything, down to your very last cookie – don’t call the cops.”