It seems like every week brings more dire allegations regarding the NSA's blatant abuse of power and rampant Constitutional violations. One of the most disturbing reports involved Der Spiegel's examination of the spy agency's own internal documents, which revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with the FBI and CIA, were intercepting laptops purchased online and diverting the shipments to secret warehouses, where they installed spyware on the computers, repackaged them, and then return the units for regular delivery to the unsuspecting target -- a process known as interdiction.
Now, it appears that Bleeding Cool Editor-in-Chief Hannah Means-Shannon may have been the victim of a similar NSA honey-pot while attending last night's early screening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in New York City.
In a report on Bleeding Cool, Means-Shannon expressed surprise and dismay that patrons of the early screening were not allowed to bring electronic devices such as cell phones into the theater, despite such embargoes being standard practice for many years now, as any reviewer or critic who has attended an early screening can attest to. In the era of the ubiquitous smart phone, it's too easy for some spoiler-happy wonk to snap footage of the film and post it online later, leading to various studios sending DMCA takedown requests en masse and Dan Slott hollering at people on Twitter (not to mention the industry's efforts to curb piracy and bootlegging).
Says Means-Shannon: "I was unfortunate enough myself to have come directly from work with my brand new laptop... Handing it over, without a secure case (because I hadn't been forewarned about this) to be placed in a public hall on a plastic table... and leaving it simply sitting on a table for hours was very off-putting for me. Had I been warned, I would have left it at home... There were attendants who assured there would be someone at the table at all times, but I did not feel particularly calmed by this statement..."
Nor should she have, because according to one source, who spends his day trolling the Infowars forums and wishes to remain anonymous, the attendants were not employees of Marvel Studios or the venue, but instead, part of the NSA's Interdiction Unit, determined to learn the identities of Rich Johnston's various informants, especially whistle blowers from within DC Comics.
We can only assume that spyware has now been installed on Means-Shannon's laptop, and the next time Geoff Johns emails Rich to anonymously report Dan DiDio changing his mind seven times during one editorial meeting like a spider monkey on meth, or Bob Harras eating paint chips, or Eddie Berganza groping the Superman statue in the reception area, or the existence of Scott Snyder's 'short-timer' calendar (with 'MAKE MINE MARVEL' scrawled hastily across the top), the US Government will know his true identity.
Chilling times for comics journalism, indeed.
It is also curious to note that this may very well be the first Means-Shannon penned article in which she doesn't figure out a way to plug comic creator Dean Haspiel. Conspiracy? Coincidence? Or something more sinister...?