NSA Mad Libs: Choose Your Own [Redacted]

On Wednesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a 2011 FISA Court ruling striking down a top-secret National Security Agency online-surveillance program. The court, whose opinions are normally classified, found that the agency had accessed as many as 56,000 electronic communications (such as emails) from American citizens and foreign nationals over a three-year period by tapping into fiber-optic cables.

The ruling is 86 pages long, but don’t expect to read all of it: It’s so heavily redacted that large portions of the text look like some sort of cubist Rorschach test. As a result, much of the declassified ruling’s contents will still be unknown to the general public.

But don’t let that stop you! Below, you can take your best guess at what the redacted opinions should say with our NSA Choose-Your-Own-[Redacted] Mad Libs:













Think the results of your NSA Mad Lib looked crazy? Check out some of the actual redactions on the newly released FISA rulings:

Page 1

The black marker was definitely working on page 1. Behold, a nearly perfect square, redacting the entire opening paragraph.

 

Page 4

Page 4 informs us that something is limited to the "the targeting of non-United States persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States." And that's about it.

 

Page 12

Hoping to find the bibliography information for citation No. 11 on page 12? Fuhgeddaboudit.

 

Page 27

Page 27 might not tell you much about the new provision, but this redaction does kind of resemble an American flag. So at least it's patriotic.

 

Page 58

It appears one lucky word on page 58 was not redacted for a brief, shining moment. But eventually, the black marker won. What do you think that word was? Leave your comments below.

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.