HOFFMAN, MN - Everyone in Hoffman knows Agnes Wolff's large white Victorian house on the corner of Florida Ave and 4th St. S. Every day joggers, children on bicycles, and neighborhood dogs on the prowl pass by tranquil grotto near the corner of the lot, decorated with huge peonies and roses and tulips and lilies of the valley. And right in the middle of the grotto, under a small white trellis, sits a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). Tucked away under the additional protection of a half-buried claws-foot bathtub, she smiles out on the town with a beautiful, benevolent smile. Many of those who pass by the statue on a daily basis believe that the BVM is watching over them. And she is. Her eyes probe the daily activities on all of Hoffman's residents as secret government cameras and microphones recorded every movement and conversation that is occurring.
It's true. Recently declassified documents obtained by Big Dave and Company Investigative Reports reveal that the CIA began systematically bugging American neighborhoods in 1971 as a way to counter potential Communist insurgency within our nation. After discovering in March of 1970 that the KGB was using the wildly popular Russian nesting dolls as recording and data transmission devices to spy on American citizens, the CIA decided to take a page out of the enemy's book and Operation Saving Grace was initiated to root out the Communist menace. Roland A. Smith, now the Secretary to the Farm Credit Administration Board, was a low level CIA operative at the time and was instrumental in the implementation of the plan. "It became clear very early on that the one place that the KGB, despite being Godless cretins, would not look for bugs was inside religious idolatry. Using the Blessed Virgin Mary statues was an easy choice for us."
The statues were perfect for the CIA. They were weather resistant, inconspicuous, hollow, and large enough to house the bulky camera equipment of the day. Larger versions, over 5 feet tall, were able to support heavy radio frequency transmission antennas cleverly disguised as neon halos. By autumn-1971 agents disguised as elderly women, religious zealots, and even men of the cloth had finished setting up a network of over 294,000 camera across the nation. The first arrests of suspected Communists as a result of the BVM network were recorded in early 1972. Says former CIA chief of technology and current mercenary-for-hire John Doe, who didn't want his actual name used, "we discovered that the BVM network allowed us unprecedented access into the lives of not only potential enemies of the state, but of our own people.
In 1984 the CIA, in a bid to fund its growing operations in South America, struck a deal with Pepsi in which the soft drink giant would be allowed access to certain BVM network recordings of average American households for marketing purposes. Wayne Calloway, who was in his first year as President of PepsiCo and who struck the deal with the CIA "was looking for a way to put Pepsi over the top, to vault us over Coke and win the cola wars. The BVM network was perfect for us. It allowed us to unobtrusively enter American homes and backyards and figure out exactly what Americans wanted in terms of beverage options. It was a Godsend to be honest." It was no use that 1985 was a banner year for PepsiCo, with it beginning distribution in China and becoming the largest beverage company in the beverage industry.
The BVM network continued to be used by the US Government as time went on. In the 90s the Clinton Administration used the advanced camera network to "scope chicks for Bill. It was gaudy but he always had a voyeuristic streak to him, and there are some hot hotties in this country..." relayed former United States Ambassador to Senegal George E. Moose. "...We had a lot of fun with those tapes." But it wasn't until the tragic and eye-opening events of September 11, 2001 that the BVM network took on a new significance.
Faced with the daunting task of rooting out American enemies within its borders once again, the newly formed Department of Homeland Security and the NSA realized that they already had a built-in network of spy equipment installed across the nation. In 2003 the NSA spent 144.61 trillion dollars to update the BVM network with the latest in camera, infrared, microphone, and claws-foot bathtub technology. Under the laws laid down in the USA PATRIOT Act over 75,000 people were arrested and detained based on surveillance from the BVM network. It has become a key part in the fight against terrorism. The BVM statues were so successful at rooting out American enemies some were actually places in Afghanistan in an attempt to discover the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, with limited success. When the first Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, was asked about his department's use of the BVM network to spy on Americans, he had this to say. "The general theme of it's-not-a-matter-of-if-but-when is legitimate."
Recently, many nations across the world have taken issue with the American BVM spy network. When asked about some of the detractors, current Secretary of State and former head of the National Security Agency Condoleezza Rice said "Punish France, ignore Germany, and forgive Russia." France has called for an immediate end to all spying using the BVM network because, as a largely Catholic nation it considers the network to be a mockery of religion. Germany contends that the BVM spy network hampers its small but rapidly growing electronic religious idol industry. And Russia is asking for reparations or at least a public apology for offenses against it during the Cold War era using the BVM network. Yet the CIA and the NSA continue to use the network to "...collect information that reveals the plans, intentions, and capabilities of our adversaries..." Regardless of whether those people are adversaries or Agnes Wolff.