Photo: Trevor Paglen
Editor’s Note: The following is an 1,500 word excerpt from “Watching the Watchers: Astrology of the National Security Agency (NSA)”, a 7,500 word article that is one of four features in our premier issue. Elements of it were originally published on this site in 2013. -Matt
The Coffin Makers and the Code-Breakers, the Black Widows and the Men-In-Black
The Sun symbolizes the conscious identity, and the Moon symbolizes deeper, more unconscious emotional needs. These are the two sources of light (energy) in a chart, and together they comprise the basic architecture of a person, project, or agency’s psychology. The NSA has its Sun in Scorpio (secrets) and its Moon in Gemini (communication). Both signs are associated with spy-craft, smuggling, and special operations, albeit in very different ways. Scorpio is the covert operative who slips through the shadows, Gemini is the double agent who plays both sides. Scorpio is the power broker, Gemini is the information broker. Scorpio probes beneath the surface, Gemini reads between the lines. Scorpio knows where the bodies are buried, Gemini knows where the phone lines are buried. Combine the secretive nature of a Scorpio Sun with a Gemini Moon’s need to constantly communicate, and you get a Sun–Moon pairing that will insist on knowing everybody’s secrets while giving up none of their own.
Scorpio likes to wear black, and Gemini always comes in pairs, so if there was ever a combination of the real-life “Men in Black,” it’s Scorpio–Gemini. Interestingly enough, the forerunner to the NSA was a 1920s government agency known as “The Black Chamber,” whose agents once persuaded Western Union officials to illegally provide them with copies of Americans’ telegrams. (Source)
Intense Scorpio and flippant Gemini are so antithetical that they may as well be from two different planets, if not different dimensions altogether. They do, however, have one thing in common: Both signs possess excellent situational awareness. Scorpio’s situational awareness comes from its prowess at navigating the hidden undercurrents of any interaction. Gemini’s situational awareness comes from its ultra flexible, ultra high-speed mental pathways. When combined together, the result is a Sun–Moon pairing that excels at “quickly sizing up a person or situation,” to quote astrologer Bil Tierney. (Source) A Scorpio–Gemini human being might have to rely on things like body language or voice tonality to quickly size up a person or situation. The NSA need not resort to such primitive methods, though, since vastly more advanced ones are at their fingertips. For instance, as of March 2013, Barack Obama plans to give the agency full access to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) database, a massive repository of information on Americans’ financial transactions akin to the surveillance world’s version of the Rosetta Stone. (Source) It was information in the FinCEN database, for example, which revealed that Eliot Spitzer had been availing himself of the services of the “Emperor’s Club” VIP call-girl operation. (Source)
Astrologers Suzi and Charles Harvey refer to the Scorpio–Gemini pairing as “the village gossip” who “takes their secrets to the grave.” (Source) Linda Goodman warns her readers: “It’s impossible to retain one’s personal privacy around either sign.” (Source) If there’s anything recent events have made clear, it is that the NSA is now the equivalent of a multibillion-dollar “village gossip,” with graveyards full of secrets and the capacity to make personal privacy impossible to retain.
Like graveyards in the physical world, the NSA’s digital graveyards are patrolled by various creatures of the night. The latest one is known as “the Black Widow”, the agency’s codename for its state of the art, parallel processing super-computer that can perform trillions of calculations per second across multiple languages. (Source) Perhaps it was “the Black Widow,” or one of her cohorts, who reached out through the catacombs (Scorpio) of the internet (Gemini) to interfere with UK Guardian journalist Luke Harding’s efforts at reporting on information leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. According to Harding, he began experiencing mysterious technological glitches shortly after being assigned to cover the story:
I wrote that Snowden’s revelations had damaged U.S. tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened. The paragraph I had just written began to self-delete. The cursor moved rapidly from the left, gobbling text. I watched my words vanish. When I tried to close my OpenOffice file the keyboard began flashing and bleeping. Over the next few weeks these incidents of remote deletion happened several times. (Source)
Even if there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the technical glitches experienced by Mr. Harding, there seems to be little doubt that the agency extensively spies (Scorpio) on writers (Gemini). In 2002 the agency began a journalist surveillance program codenamed “First Fruits” which monitored “whole groups of reporters.” (Source)
Scorpio/Gemini is probably the Sun/Moon pairing most likely to bring up sex on the first date. This is true even when the Scorpio/Gemini in question is a massive intelligence agency like the NSA. For instance, one Silicon Valley computer programmer who applied to the agency shortly after 9/11 was asked during his interview if he and his wife ever engaged in “spouse swinging.” (Source) That is a bizarre question to be asked during a job interview but it certainly fits with this pairing’s modus operandi, as Scorpio is the sign most associated with sex while Gemini is the sign most likely to display surprising levels of curiosity. According to a September 27, 2013 article in New York magazine, the internal culture at NSA is so sexually (Scorpio) curious (Gemini) that a number of NSA employees used “the agency’s phone-listening and e-mail-reading capabilities to spy on their significant others.” (Source) One NSA employee got so sexually curious that he or she even accessed the personal email account of former President Bill Clinton. (Source)
Scorpio is the sign of death while Gemini Moons often excel at work involving their hands, the body-part ruled by Gemini in medical astrology. A few centuries ago, this wouldn’t have been a bad Sun/Moon combination for an artisan coffin maker. Nobody at the NSA is likely in the literal business of handcrafting coffins but, according to a recent article by investigative reporters Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald, information in the NSA’s classified (Scorpio) databases (Gemini) is used “as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes—an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.” (Source)
The NSA is legally prohibited from spying (Scorpio) on the communications (Gemini) of U.S. citizens, but according to a former NSA intelligence analyst turned whistleblower by the name of Russ Tice, that is exactly what they have been doing. In an interview on June 19, 2013 with Sibel Edmonds’ “Boiling Frogs” podcast, Tice explained that the Edward Snowden leaks are just the tip of the iceberg. Tice then specified which prominent residents of the U.S. “village” had been targets of NSA surveillance during his time at the agency:
. . . they went after high-ranking military officers, members of Congress, heaps of lawyers and law firms, State Department officials, judges [including] one now sitting on the Supreme Court, two former FISA court judges, antiwar groups, U.S. companies that do international business around the world, U.S. banking firms and financial firms that do international business. (Source)
Tice also said the NSA even spied on current village chief Barack Obama and his staff in 2004, when Obama was an Illinois Senator, and that his sources inside NSA tell him the agency has spied on all the judges on the Supreme Court, which opens up the possibility of blackmail. In an interview with the Russia Times a month later, Tice said the NSA also spied on Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, and General David Petraeus. (Source) The agency will not be taking the secrets of these Beltway villagers or anybody else “to the grave,” but as of fall 2013, they will be storing them at a massive new data center in Bluffdale, Utah, equipped with “near bottomless databases,” according to a Wired Magazine cover article entitled “Watch What You Say.”
This all seems pretty scary, but the good news is “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”
The bad news is everybody has something to hide.
Since people often identify with their Sun/Moon combinations, it is important to emphasize that few Scorpio/Geminis will express in a manner as problematic as the NSA has. To illustrate: Levi Coffin, a nineteenth-century businessman whose Ohio home was considered the “Grand Central Station” of the Underground Railroad, is also a Scorpio Sun, Gemini Moon. Like the NSA, Coffin ran a covert (Scorpio) communications network (Gemini) and was willing to take his secrets to the grave. Unlike the NSA, there were no questions as to the nobility of his intentions. It is estimated that he and his wife Catherine assisted 2,000 fugitive slaves over the course of 30 years, often employing incredibly innovative messaging systems that were to the nineteenth century what the NSA’s intercept technologies are to the twenty-first century. Given Coffin’s fashion sense (dark suits) and modus operandi (in the shadows), you could say he and his associates were the original “Men in Black”.
In an interview he gave near the end of his life, Coffin explained that taking a secretive (Scorpio) approach to communication (Gemini) was crucial when smuggling slaves to freedom: “I would invite them to come in and they would follow me into the darkened house without a word, for we knew not who might be watching and listening.” Were Coffin and his wife plying their trade in the modern day we now know exactly who would be watching and listening.
About the Author: Matt Savinar is a California licensed attorney (State Bar #228957), voluntarily inactive as of June 2013. He can be reached for questions, comments, or consults at his contact page.
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