NSA Surveillance Hits the World of Warcraft

No Evidence Mass Surveillance Ever Caught Anybody

Months of leaks from Edward Snowden reveal the NSA surveillance spans the globe, with large chunks of the Internet and virtually all telephone calls under their purview. Apparently that wasn’t quite enough.

With the post-9/11 spending frenzy leaving them with hordes of agents with apparently nothing better to do, the NSA sent them, en masse, into the World of Warcraft.

An online game that at its peak enjoyed well over 10 million subscribers worldwide, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft was dubbed an “opportunity” by NSA analysts, who figured terrorists were probably playing it too, and set a slew of agents to work playing the game on that assumption.

The NSA document claims al-Qaeda terrorist target selectors are associated with World of Warcraft, but there’s no evidence that the surveillance ever accomplished anything, and they had so many NSA players that the agency had to set up a whole group just to make sure the players weren’t wasting time spying on each other.

Blizzard issued rather a tame statement on the scandal, saying they were never informed of the surveillance and didn’t know it was going on. Players within the game took a different tack, noting that several of the characters within the game universe have been telling players for years that they believe there are “spies everywhere.” It turns out they were right.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.