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Such A Strange Numb

It was August. I’m at the mall in the basement of the buildings – it’s huge. I walk into the Barnes & Noble bookstore, to buy a book. I was being a bad customer because I was taking my time. I was limiting myself to one book.

Eventually I decide to buy James Bamford’s book on the National Security Administration, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency. It had just been published in April of that year.

I knew all about the NSA. Growing up, I heard the dad joke constantly – “no such agency, am I right? Har, har!” I thought of the NSA as the Special Forces for computer nerds. A little bit older, I came to think of the NSA as a tribe of surprisingly attractive people with waterfront mini-mansions and sexually voracious daughters. One gal I knew from high school – she was a math genius – went to work for them right out of high school, they apparently put her through college. I once wrote a song about her, but we never hooked up because she was dating a guy I was in a band with.

So over the next week I read the book – it’s really fascinating. One thing is quite odd about the book, it has an appendix that has nothing to do with the NSA. It’s called Operation Northwoods, a Pentagon proposal to stage a “false flag” attack against America to be blamed on Cuba, giving the Kennedy administration an excuse to invade and overturn Castro’s communist government.

Among other acts of terrorism, the Pentagon proposed hijacking airplanes and flying them into buildings – to include remote controlled military planes painted to look like civilian airliners. They proposed both actually killing people – actually killing Americans – as well as staging fake deaths including fake funerals.

Apparently, Kennedy refused the plan and demoted the general who proposed it, General Lyman Louis Lemnitzer. Researchers have often noted that the language in the document appears to be more British English than American English; for example, it uses the phrase “go on holiday” which is what Brits say; Americans say “go on vacation.”

The document is from 1962 and as nothing to do with the NSA – it’s a Pentagon document – so it was weird that Bamford included it in his book on NSA. Some have speculated that Bamford was working with General Michael Hayden, at the time Director of the NSA, and the only man to ever head up both the NSA and CIA, and it may have been him that gave the document – which has never been released before – to Bamford.

Now I had just gotten the job. It paid great, I working in what to me was a quite prestigious place in a very promising job. I was living in Manhattan, living it up dating all these different women and just generally having a blast.

So one day, late August I think, I decided to treat myself to lunch at the “sky view” restaurant at the top of the building. Anytime I go to a city I always love to go to those “sky view” places because, well, the views. And this one was the best of all. You could almost see the curvature of the earth.

I even order a martini – I’m playing it up like I’m the Wolf of Wall Street. I mean, really, I felt like I had “arrived.”

And more importantly, to me, I felt like I had finally escaped the Chain. As far as I knew, this job had nothing to do with them.

So I am up there, for lunch, enjoying the view – the amazing view. Sipping my martini, feeling quite proud of myself. I was thinking all sorts of things, but the Bamford book was just sort of in the back of my mind.

Now I have never put much stock in coincidences or premonitions. I still don’t. But I’m looking out the windows and the thought just pops into my head. “Holy shit, could you imagine if a plane flew into here? It would be like something out of a movie!”

I get all numb
When she sings it’s over
Such a strange numb
And it brings my knees to the earth

So God bless you all
For the song you saved us, oh
For the hearts you break
Every time you moan
God bless you all on the earth



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