‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
Not a hacker was hacking along the broadband.
The laptops were plugged by the chimney with care
With hopes that the outlets would work over there.
The children were nestled with their iPhones 4S
While visions of Candy Crush danced in their heads
And I, Edward Snowden, with a sense of foreboding,
Had just settled down with some Christmas Eve coding,
When in my neighbor’s lawn there are arose such a clatter
I hacked their surveillance to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew with a dash
When I realized the video feed was blurred with no flash.
The moon on the waves (this was Hawaii—no snow!)
Shed some much-needed sunlight to objects below,
When what to my vigilant eyes should appear
But a government sleigh and eight contract reindeer.
An overpaid driver with an oversized head—
I knew in a moment it must be the Feds.
Less eager than usual his coursers they came…
He must’ve used their vet records to call them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
If you know what is good for you jump over that wall!
Now dash away quick! I have dirt on you all!”
To a familiar housetop the coursers they flew
(From satellite footage they already knew),
And then in a twinkling I heard in the roof
Jingling GPS trackers attached to their hoofs.
As I turned to make sure my Constitution was near,
The Fed Man jumped right down the chimney—oh dear!
He was dressed all in black, and on his lapel
Was his NSA badge—it was real, I could tell.
Arraying his gadgets and wires as he stood
I could not deny he was up to no good.
His eyes—how they twinkled! He clearly enjoyed
Taking on the worst deeds of his place of employ.
He was red-faced and plump, but this was no elf,
And I shivered as I saw him in spite of myself.
The glint in his eye as he tapped my whole home
I shudder to think of as I write you this poem.
But since I’m familiar with the Fourth Amendment,
I’d put up a fight. I was more than offended!
With my technical skills I had no need to cower.
I could reveal to the world these abuses of power.
Typing quite softly his system I hacked
Calls, photos, emails—there was nothing he lacked!
But laughing aloud at my government foes
I copied his files and up my own chimney rose.
I jumped in his sleigh—I was ready to whistle!
To Hong Kong I’d flee like the down of a thistle.
And I called to Feds ere I drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all! Enjoy tracking my flight!”
This post originally appeared on Ahmed Moor’s blog.
Editor’s Note: Edward Snowden was chosen to give an Christmas message this year for Britain’s Channel 4, which has a tradition of airing an alternative to the Queen’s Christmas message. Here it is: