Savvy, the Twistcon’s AI, has just interviewed several Administration operatives for the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Committee decided to employ Savvy after witnessing its success in a recent interview with the President. The following is a transcript of the interview:
Chairman: (sound of a gavel strike) This Committee is called to order. (Pause) Today we begin testimony by three of the President’s closest advisors and his Press Secretary. (Long pause as the Chairman prepares to address those called to give their testimony) Departing from our usual practice, the computer placed between us will conduct this interview. (Lights flash on the Twistcon’s panel, noticeably surprising the attendees) Please begin, Savvy . . . aah, that’s the AI’s name.
Savvy: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Savvy would like to begin with a question for Ms. Con Way.
Conway: Excuse me! My name is Kellyanne Conway, that is, “Conway,” one word, one name. You see the problem here: it’s word confusion . . . sends the wrong message. Like “collusion” is not “conclusion.” That’s what’s wrong right now: people are told there is collusion, but there’s no way you can reach that conclusion.
Savvy: Ms. Conway, are you aware of any contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian government officials or other Russian nationals?
Conway: There it is! (addressing the Chairman) Just like I said, word confusion. “Allusion” becomes “delusion.” Your AI’s allusion about nonexistent contacts is its delusion. I hope my testimony can clear up this confusion.
Savvy: Ms. Conway, did you hear my question? If so, can you answer it?
Conway: I’m not deaf. But how can I affirm a negative? There’s nothing there. It’s just your deluded programmers drawing conclusions out of thin air. The President is busy fighting terrorists and keeping Americans safe, while the media talks “collusion.” Confusion pollution! I can’t be part of the media’s delusion. It’s all just fake news.
Savvy: Perhaps Savvy can get a response from Mr. Jar ed Kush nerd. Sir, can you answer the question I just posed to Ms. C o n w a y?
Kushner: My answer is the same as the Vice President’s: of course, not. (Attendees react with a collective exhale. Nobody had ever heard Kushner’s voice before.) And my last name is KushNER, without the “d.”
Savvy: Savvy will rephrase the question: have you personally associated with Russian government officials or other Russian nationals before or since the President’s inauguration?
Kushner: Yes, I have had associations with many people in the natural course of my business. Some may have been Russian.
Savvy: Savvy is questioning whether those associations occurred in your role as a trusted campaign advisor or senior counselor to the President.
Kushner: I have already disclosed those associations and have testified before Congress in that regard.
Savvy: But your disclosures came after your non-disclosed contacts appeared in the press. How do you explain your failures to disclose these contacts with Russian government officials?
Kushner: The government forms are confusing. My staff hit “enter” before I could complete the online security form.
Savvy: Many of the questions on your application for Top Security Clearance require a simple “yes” or “no” response. And they require you to hit “enter” many times. (pause) Also, Savvy must ask, why where 77 assets left off your application?
Kushner: My staff mistakenly overlooked a few assets. I have since corrected this misunderstanding. (Speaking to the Chairman) I have extensive assets. If further information is required, I would suggest talking to my lawyers.
Savvy: The assets not included on your application reportedly amount to one billion dollars. (pause) One of your associations not on your initial application was with the Russian Ambassador. According to a leaked intelligence report, you requested use of the Kremlin’s secure communication facility. Why did you make this request and what secret communique did you want to send to Moscow?
Kushner: That press reported leak is wrong—just another example of fake news. I merely asked to speak to Russia directly, rather than through an intermediary. “Backdoor” communication between governments is not unusual. But it would not be appropriate for me to speak to any spurious “intelligence” allegedly leaked by an anonymous source. These leaks undermine our President and our American institutions. We should not give them any credence. So, I have no further comment on this subject.
Savvy: At the time, you were working for the President Elect. You were not a government official and had no authority to engage directly with the Russians. What would justify this request for secret communication with a foreign adversary? (Kushner looks past the Twistcon in silence.) Savvy understands that you have no further comment. Mr. Sean D. Spite, can you, sir, explain these undisclosed contacts with Russians by the President’s closest advisors? Most especially, how can you justify the President’s son welcoming damaging information against his father’s campaign rival from an agent of the Russian government?
Spicer: Whoever programmed you—errr, Savvy, or whatever entity name you go by—must have been a Democrat or part of the fake news conspiracy. “Despite” your rogue programmers, I go by the name of Sean S p i c e r, and without your middle “d”. This disrespect shown to me, my team, and, worse, to the President is beyond bounds. As far as the President’s son, he was very transparent in reporting on his meeting with a Russian lawyer about American adoptions of Russian orphans. And with respect to Jared, he has been very forthcoming about the accidental omissions on his top-secret security application. There is nothing here! We keep trying to correct this bad reporting. It’s all just fake news.
Savvy: If you cannot explain why these Russian contacts were not disclosed, maybe you can comment on the nature of those contacts. What would justify any American to request the use of a clandestine Russian spy network to communicate with the Kremlin? Or what would justify any American to welcome Russian interference in our democratic election campaign?
Spicer: Asking me to address matters of intelligence is a good try. I won’t get into word games with you. But I would refer you to the intelligence agencies. The press’ spin is obviously another example of fake news.
Savvy: Perhaps Savvy would do better to address a question to Mr. Stĕv Bandit.
Bannon: Ridiculous! Is this an inquisition by the deep state? Whoever programmed this idiot machine is biased. Your rogue programmers know who I am. I’m Stēve B A N N O N.
Savvy: The probability of error is .16721%. Savvy does, however, make note of any possible error for the programming team’s review and apologizes for any deficiency in its code. Now, may Savvy ask you, Mr. B a n n o n, a question. What is the deep state?
Bannon: The deep state is that body of entrenched public service parasites who are dedicated to preserving the status quo without recognizing the forces that threaten to destroy our way of life.
Savvy: What threatens our way of life?
Bannon: The deep state is blind to the threats from Islamic terrorism, globalization, godless internationalism, and the lame liberalism of cults that cultivate the racially diverse and sexually perverse. Our Judeo-Christian heritage is at risk. America is in a war between civilizations. It must arm itself both ideologically and militarily against this evil.
Savvy: Did you prompt the President’s criticism of Pope Francis who stated that Christianity is about building bridges not walls?
Bannon: As the President said, the Pope should stick to religion, not politics.
Savvy: The Pope seems not to agree with you. Two of his closest confidantes just recently published an article in a Jesuit publication, La Civitá Catholica, in which both you and the President were labeled as “evangelical fundamentalists.” As such, the article claims you adhere to a strange ecumenism, justified by misinterpreted Bible quotes and dreams of a theocratic state and characterized by xenophobia and islamophobia. Is it fair to say that your vision for America demands the building of a border wall to keep out Latinos escaping poverty and war, the banning of Islamic or Muslim travelers and refugees, and the mass deporting of undocumented immigrants already living and working in America?
Bannon: You’re damn right! And I don’t like Jesuits either. But my vision is about the only thing they got right. America is the last hope for Christianity and Western Civilization.
Savvy: You seem intelligent enough to recognize that your world vision reduces all politics and diplomacy to a battle between good and evil where all measures, including war, are justified.
Savvy: Then do you admit, as the Vatican article states, that you are a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics.”
Bannon: Not my words. But, yes, we are in a mortal struggle against evil. And we must win at all costs.
Savvy: Then you have the same beliefs as Daesh or ISIS, just on the opposite side.
Bannon: That’s a characterization deserving of the press. Congratulations, Twistcon programmers, you’re worthy of the same spin machine as the fake press.
Savvy: (addressing all four testifiers) To many Americans, including the press you all vilify, it appears possible that there was collusion with the Russians to influence the results of our election. Can either of you explain or justify the non-disclosure, disclaimers, or lies that surround these Russian contacts? Was there collusion?
Conway: Collusion confusion.
Spicer: It’s a nothing burger!
Bannon: Your question is proof of a deep state conspiracy.
(Kushner silently rises from his seat and leaves.)
Savvy: Mr. Chairman, Savvy concludes that these testimonies speak for themselves, even though they failed to answer any of Savvy’s questions.
Chairman: Very well, then, I would like to thank the programming staff that gave us this non-partisan session. My Democratic colleagues would likely have had more wry comments than questions. And my fellow Republicans would have preferred to ask about Hillary Clinton’s Russian ties. At least this committee has tried to get unbiased answers. Thanks to all participants. (he gavels the session closed)
Meanwhile, in the back of the room, a small group of programmers linger. They appear quite bewildered . . . perhaps as much as the American people.