The oceans are rising! Forests are burning! Terrorists on the loose! Donald Trump is running amok!
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Saturday, May 24, 2003
Admiral John Poindexter
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203-1714

Dear Admiral Poindexter,

It’s good to see you’re “back in business.” It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good man down! I see you have a nice mustache now. I think it has softened your look--makes you more grandfatherly than the Iran-Contra days.

I don’t know what those liberals are always whining about. All in all, we came out ahead on the “Arms for Hostages” deal. We got our hostages home safely (the day of Reagan’s inauguration--nice touch!) and we funded the Contras which helped keep the world safe for Democracy. The downside was giving arms to Iran, but now that we’ve taken away the weapons we gave to Iraq, we can go into Iran and do the same thing! It all comes out in the wash.

Anyway, I’m glad to see you back at work with the “Terrorist Information Awareness” program. That was a good move to change the name from Total Information Awareness to Terrorist Information Awareness. Total gave people the wrong idea. They thought you wanted total information on everybody -- right down to their credit card transactions, book purchases, and even the way they walk! Now we’re all relieved to know that it’s just the terrorists you’re after.

Speaking of the way we walk, I saw that you’re doing a study on just that. The theory is called “Gait Signatures,” and it looks like you’re going to be able to spot a terrorist by the way he walks. I have to say, I’m a little bit skeptical. I mean, I’m sure there are some no-brainers you could spot by their walk like Michael Jackson (especially when he moon-walks), or Mick Jagger, or Truman Capote, or for that matter, what about George W? He’s got a real distinctive walk--it’s kind of a strut. But none of those guys are terrorists, are they? Then you have guys like Muhammed Ali--if you had profiled his gait signature ten years ago, you’d never recognize him now. And those terrorists will go to all kinds of extremes--they might break their leg just to change their walk! Or they might ride around in a wheelchair! Then what are you going to do? Are you going to pore millions of dollars into a study of people’s wheelchair gaits?

I just think you should be spending our tax dollars on the tried and true methods: phone tapping, computer file interception, citizens spying on each other, and secret arrests. Stick with what works!

Carl Estrada

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