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He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows you when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so the NSA wants him to take.

Santa Claus' intelligence collection systems are state of the art. The NSA has approached Santa Claus about partnering, but Santa Claus declined due to ideological reasons (so what if the NSA wants to use drones instead of coal? What business of Santa's is that?)

Anyway, the NSA has deemed it necessary to capture Santa Claus, so they can take over his intelligence systems.

Given that he already started flying under the radar, it is likely that he already knows (of course he knows, he's SANTA!)

Remember, Santa is an adaptable foe that presumably has incredibly good intel about the NSA, so this operation will be tricky.

How can the NSA capture Santa?

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    $\begingroup$ A glass of milk with sleeping pills and some cookies...hmm..no...he already knows that $\endgroup$ – rpax Dec 16 '15 at 5:57
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    $\begingroup$ Obviously they don't need to, Santa was invented by the NSA to spy on people in the first place! $\endgroup$ – nwp Dec 16 '15 at 10:27
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    $\begingroup$ I can't make this answer work, though I really want to: Cyborg reindeer spies!!! $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Dec 16 '15 at 11:05
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    $\begingroup$ The premise is simply wrong. Naughty or Nice? Santa gets the intel from the NSA. $\endgroup$ – EvilTeach Dec 16 '15 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ @keshlam Oh yeah, bribing his elfs. You should make that an answer. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Dec 17 '15 at 2:24

12 Answers 12

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Have a good kid wish for it.

Santa is omniscient, but still a slave to his chosen mechanics; you need to play by his rules.

Create an internal adoption program where NSA officers raise a reasonable number of kids in a nurturing, responsible manner. Tell them how important is Daddy's or Mommy's work at NSA, making idols out of them. Introduce the concept to them: 'Wow, kiddo, Santa is awesome! Imagine if we could join forces and know where the bad guys are!'

It takes one kid with a sincere request:

'Dear Santa, I would like you to help Daddy/Mommy catch the evil guys! Please join him/her at his work.'

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    $\begingroup$ Wow, this is by far the most imaginative answer. :) $\endgroup$ – xxbbcc Dec 16 '15 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ @xxbbcc and the most likely to succeed, I'd say! $\endgroup$ – Ciacciu Dec 17 '15 at 11:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Ibotinelly I don't think Santa is required to do service gifts, nor is he required to grant exactly what every child wishes. Otherwise, there'd be a whole lot more ponies and xbox's in the world. $\endgroup$ – SethWhite Dec 17 '15 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ @SethWhite True but none of the answers guarantee the capture of Santa - in my opinion, this still has the best chance to work. $\endgroup$ – xxbbcc Dec 17 '15 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ @SethWhite Maybe Santa works with sampling sets (X out of each N good kids gets a fulfilled wish), or it's median-threshold based (since we got 0.8Bn good kids this year let's reward the top 10.5 percentile). In that case, NSA can improve its odds by creating a larger good-kids pool size; some may deviate towards top-good. $\endgroup$ – OnoSendai Dec 17 '15 at 16:11
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Any plan based on secrecy will fail.

If even one person knows about it, Santa knows about it, right?

Any plan based on overpowering Santa will fail.

If a surprise attack won't work, then an attack so powerful that Santa can't prevent it seems like the best alternative. However, there is a small problem with this: how do you capture someone who not only can move a 350,000 ton load at a speed of 650 miles per second, but also has a demonstrable ability to enter and exit locked, secured buildings without even leaving a sign of forced entry?

I think it is safe to say that no military force would be able to cope with these abilities. Even a sky filled with drones would be completely powerless to stop an object moving at this speed. Forgetting the first objection above, even if you could launch a surprise attack, Santa almost certainly could simply escape from any ambush without being captured. He could probably even come back to the site of the ambush, deliver presents, eat cookies, and then leave again without ever being threatened.

The best bet is to use threats to secure Santa's cooperation.

The NSA could threaten to do something really bad unless Santa helps them out. It is clear that Santa has a strong preference for goodness over badness and wants to help people, and the NSA could probably take advantage of that to get him to voluntarily agree to cooperate with them. There is no need to speculate what they should threaten; there are many possibilities, and they could try various threats until they find what works.

Could Santa stop the NSA from doing the bad stuff? It seems unlikely, since lots of stuff that Santa doesn't like already happens in the world, and he other does not or cannot use his Christmas magic to stop it.

Could Santa expose the NSA's plan? He could only do this at great cost to himself. He would have to:

  1. Announce his existence to the world.
  2. Demonstrate his magic powers to prove his identity (otherwise he would not be a credible witness).

It is possible that Santa would think this is worth it, given the circumstances. However, it is equally possible that he fears that the consequences of such actions would be much worse than cooperating with the NSA. If he reveals himself to the world, it would lead to all of the crazy, evil people in the world trying to capture him and use his power to their advantage. They know how to find him. While he might not be catchable, it would probably put an end to the whole present-delivery thing. So I think there is a good chance that he would give in to the NSA's threats and cooperate.

Addendum: why the NSA should worry about their plan.

Santa's non-intervention in most world affairs, despite being a deep philosophical conundrum, should raise some concerns in the NSA. Why doesn't Santa replace all the guns in Syria with teddy bears overnight? Why doesn't he airlift food to starving populations? Why doesn't he voluntarily share at least some intelligence (if not with NSA then with others he trusts more) to stop bad things from happening? Actions such as these seem easily within his capabilities, and they also seem to do much more good than the comparatively trivial act of distributing toys yearly.

I see two main possibilities here:

  1. Santa doesn't intervene for philosophical/ideological/moral reasons. He follows a code that requires him to only do Christmas, and not participate in world affairs otherwise. This is problematic, as it appears to make Santa into a moral monster. However, it could be possibly justified philosophically. Perhaps Santa believes that all of these other interventions, while seemingly good, would actually do harm in the long run. Call it the "add toys to make it the best of all possible worlds" theory. In this case the NSA should worry, since Santa might choose not to intervene to stop the bad stuff they threaten. However, he might be responsive to threats to disrupt Christmas.
  2. Santa's power only applies in limited circumstances. The magic doesn't work for everything, but has some limitations that make it impractical to apply to non-Christmas-y objectives. In this case, the NSA should worry that Santa might not even be able to help them. However, there are possible sets of limitations that would prevent Santa from intervening in world affairs generally, but still leave him able to share intel with the NSA. Any limitations to Santa's powers also create some new possibilities for capturing him, so the NSA should research this fully before proceeding.
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  • $\begingroup$ I think a plan based on secrecy could work, so long as only one person knows, and never speaks the plan out loud. So far as we know Santa can't read minds. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Dec 16 '15 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ @AndyD273, that depends on one's interpretation of "he knows if you've been bad or good", the minutae of which we should obviously debate in great detail :) $\endgroup$ – user16107 Dec 17 '15 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe it would be a sufficient threat to Santa to cancel Christmas by federal law and indoctrinate all children from kindergarten age on to deny his existence. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Dec 19 '15 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ Going along with your addendum: smbc-comics.com/?id=3217 $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Dec 28 '15 at 0:21
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Option #1: Drones

The NSA gets drones, military drones, to cover the airspace in a particular area. Cover it so well that St. Nick can only do one of two things: get caught, or don't deliver presents. (We hope Santa shouts "YOLO" as he does this.) The alternative is to devise drones which will figure out how to coordinate on their own to make such a trap.

The trick here is that Santa will not let down the good girls and boys in this area, so we need to choose an area to set the trap in. He comes to us, and we recruit him for the greater good. Excellent!

Option #2: Santa Trap

This Santa trap is just like a monkey trap, except there is a cookie in there.GET THE COOKIE GET THE COOKIE GET THE COOKIE

I can only hope that a man who is generally known as a saint is as greedy and stubborn as a monkey when it comes to nibbling every cookie set out for him. (Okay, you need to monitor this trap. I'm sure he'll just let it go at some point.)

I suggest setting out some milk so he doesn't suspect anything until it's too late.

Option #3: Recruit Santa

Seriously, we know Santa lives at the North Pole. Just go visit him and try to convince him that helping the good(?) folks at the NSA to good(?) things. "We just want access to your lists and what you see people do... All. The. Time." I suppose the NSA can offer to help him sort people onto "naughty" and "nice" lists.

As a final note, glove and boots has shown us Santa may have backup.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you imagine him yelling,"YOLO -HO -HO -HO!" $\endgroup$ – Kit Dec 16 '15 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ Option 1 could cause some backlash. You see each year NORAD sends up a wing of escorts for Santa. Should the NSA attack Santa, we would easily get into a Blue on Blue situation. $\endgroup$ – Aron Dec 16 '15 at 9:43
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    $\begingroup$ I dunno. Why couldn't a guy who moves that fast evade drones (or maybe even just destroy them all)? $\endgroup$ – jpmc26 Dec 16 '15 at 21:45
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    $\begingroup$ I would pay to see a movie where the NSA (or anyone for that matter) sets up traps and drones and such around, say, Kansas, and Santa has to deliver the presents while having an epic air battle. It could have both good-feels and awesome-action (and no ungood-feels since he would only be destroying machines.) $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Dec 16 '15 at 22:53
  • $\begingroup$ @PyRulez how much you willing to pay? (JK) $\endgroup$ – Aarthew III Mar 23 '16 at 3:36
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Trapping Santa is easy. All you have to do is drug the cookies.

The difficult part is getting the cookies onto a plate near the fireplace of even one good little girl or boy.

They have to come from good little children, after all, Santa's no fool. He doesn't eat cookies from bad children. Would You? At best such cookies would be attempted bribery and at worse, they could be poisoned. Yes, Santa could see the evil on each cookie giver's soul; but it's hard to distinguish between a future serial killer from a current poisoner. So why chance it.

Therefore, the drugged cookies have to be given to him by good little children, but drugging Santa is evil. A child can't be good if they are complicit in an attempted Santa-napping. ...and ignorance is no excuse. Even if the child doesn't know that the cookies are drugged, their shared guilt is enough to knock them off the nice list.

It's a catch-22 that NSA's top strategists have been working on since last Christmas. It's not just their jobs or their current assignments. They want revenge for all those long years of nothing but coal.

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  • $\begingroup$ Evil idea, maybe you can consider adding it to your answer: What if you sell the poisoned cookies in the name of a benefic organization?. Recruiting some kids and making them to look like they are living in the street should not be difficult. Also, selling them december 24th increases the chances. $\endgroup$ – rpax Dec 16 '15 at 6:04
  • $\begingroup$ But that's easy. You just break into the house after the kid has put out the unpoisoned cookies and poison it yourself. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Dec 16 '15 at 6:05
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    $\begingroup$ @rpax and Kevin, Great ideas for working around the catch-22, but go sparingly with the poison! The assignment was to capture Santa... not nix St. Nick! I think I can guess which list you're each on. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Dec 16 '15 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Kevin Doesn't that mean that the cookies don't come from the kid? Wouldn't Santa know? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Dec 18 '15 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ He would see you poisoning the cookies... $\endgroup$ – Aarthew III Mar 23 '16 at 3:37
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Santas location is already known.

Children write their wish lists and mail them to Santa. It would be trivial to follow the delivery company.

Worst case scenario, you find a Santa mail sorting depot. However, the elves working there would likely talk when under pressure. I doubt Elves are trained to withstand torture.

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    $\begingroup$ So you learned that they put them in a pile by the post office chimney and Santa picks them up. What are you going to do with that information? $\endgroup$ – Joshua Dec 16 '15 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ You know that the yetis are the real workers that Santa uses, right? He just lets the elves think they're doing real work. $\endgroup$ – Martin Carney Dec 17 '15 at 23:45
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Ignorance

First you start with one person having the idea and telling no one. Then he comes up with a code name that like operation bluebird. Assigning people as if it was a training exercise, with no one knowing who the target is.

The trap could be a safe house with steel shutters and bait it with several of the most innocent kids you can find having a fun sleepover. Once Santa goes down the chimney seal it off and close all the shutters.

By keeping it a secret from everyone, Santa won't be able to know about it first, as everyone involved has a story about making a safe house to protect people.

Edit
The mastermind could get help brainstorming a better plan but making it a training exercise.
There is an anti-zombie plan in place why not a just for fun plan to catch Santa.

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe, but Santa would probably notice something funky going on. Why is there a safe house for of children with a lockable chimney? (Someone has to install that, and it will probably be while they are awake.) Also, good luck catching Santa going down. You're trap will go off, and when you go in, all you notice is the cookies are gone. Still, this is a good answer, relatively. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Dec 16 '15 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ @PyRulez The thing is that everyone working on it will have a good reason why it is that way. A chimney that can be sealed is so that bad guys can't drop a bomb down it. And it's the best plan I could come up with on short notice. The main point is that it only works if everyone thinks they are doing something else, cause otherwise Santa will know. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Dec 16 '15 at 4:15
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    $\begingroup$ Santa successfully both visits and leaves houses with no chimneys at all. This implies that he can create an ephemeral chimney whenever required. A lockable chimney isn't going to cut it. $\endgroup$ – Whelkaholism Dec 18 '15 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Welk Either that or he secretly installs hidden chimneys every Christmas and then installs them. $\endgroup$ – Aarthew III Mar 23 '16 at 3:40
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Option 1: Magic

In a world where Santa is real, magic is real.

NSA needs to find other magic-users (it wouldn't make sense if only one person could use magic in a world of magic, so it's safe to assume there are other people capable of magic in the world). NSA needs to recruit these magic-users and use them to do either:

  1. Develop an intelligence collection system that is as good as or even better than Santa's intelligence collection system. The need of catching Santa goes away if they do this.

  2. Use magic to capture Santa. If other magic-users can become as powerful as Santa, they might be able to capture Santa using their magic and powers combined. Even if they are unable to become as powerful as Santa, they can have strength in numbers. Santa is just one guy after all.

Option 2: Break into Santa's home

Another option is to locate Santa's home on the North Pole. This plan will only succeed though if Santa's home isn't protected and/or hidden by magic. The NSA will travel to the North Pole and break into Santa's home to either:

  1. Capture Santa when he's home or even better: go to Santa's home when he's out delivering presents and wait for him to return to capture him.

  2. Steal Santa's intelligence collection system (assuming it can be moved).

  3. Capture Santa's home and turn it into an NSA-controlled base. They will also have control over the intelligence collection system this way. What they do with Santa doesn't really matter now, they could either keep him as prisoner, dispose of him or just kick him and keep him out of his former home.

  4. Steal the plans and designs of Santa's intelligence collection system (assuming Santa still has those in an archive of some sort) so NSA can build a copy of the intelligence collection system.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think you want to deal with caribou that know you're coming before you see you, have a strong herd defense instinct, and have 650m/s^2 acceleration. Don't try the tranq darts. You probably didn't bring enough for even one caribou. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Dec 16 '15 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Joshua You're absolutely right. That's why I mentioned "This plan will only succeed though if Santa's home isn't protected and/or hidden by magic." $\endgroup$ – PJvG Dec 17 '15 at 8:36
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The OP states:

The NSA has approached Santa Claus about partnering, but Santa Claus declined due to ideological reasons

I do not understand what "capturing" Santa would do to change that refusal to partner with the NSA. Even if they had him caged in some kind of anti-Santa-magic force field, they could not make him do anything that he felt was wrong.

So, it would seem more effective to just go back to talking to Santa to determine what kind of help he IS willing to offer the NSA in the way of stopping bad guys while asking him what he would like in return from the NSA to promote "Peace on earth and goodwill toward men" all year long.

(And it wouldn't hurt to get a bunch of good kids from families of our more hawkish Congressional members to put that trade agreement on their Christmas list. That would have double impact.) :)

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Christmas is a federal holiday. Congress can change and/or cancel it. This is how the NSA puts the squeeze on Santa.

The NSA director walks in to a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee and makes a classified report on the ISIS-Santa link. Congress gives in and swaps Christmas with Independence Day.

If Santa tries to deliver presents on Independence Day, he gets shot down by the fireworks. He can't deliver presents on Christmas because the elves will not have had time to finish them and the reindeer can't fly in the heat.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your answer is very short and reads more like a comment. In all honesty I wouldn't be surprised if it were marked for deletion. Try to actually answer the question, and add some meat to your statement if that is truly what your main point is (why would this bother Santa, etc) $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Dec 16 '15 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM I am fine with consisity. (Still, though emory. Being a new user you should flex your typing muscles more, for practice sake.) $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Dec 16 '15 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ I don't believe the NSA has control of Congress. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Dec 16 '15 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 that's what the NSA (and Congress) wants you to believe $\endgroup$ – emory Dec 16 '15 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ This reminds me of the joke "Oxygen was discovered in 1774. Response: Really? What did people breathe before then?" Federal holiday status is not what causes Christmas to exist. $\endgroup$ – user16107 Dec 17 '15 at 8:28
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This could spell the end of NSA, CIA and other collaborators.

If they try to squeeze Santa, he will use the Christmas spirit, to make people be good, both in themselves and unto others.

If they try to attack Santa, the Christmas spirit will make them see the error of their ways, or feel compelled to be good. They will leave their jobs, or maybe convince the rest of the service of the importance to be a good person and not do harm to others. This will spell the end of the services.

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His data-center is in Antarctica.

His elves have figured out how to genetically modify reindeer to be bulletproof.

He performs billions of robberies in one day.

Any attempt to take his data will result in Santa knowing.

Whenever you attempt to make a plan, Santa is aware and will protect against it.

It's not possible to stop Santa.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, CrazyPython. Could you explain how this answers the question as asked? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 18 '15 at 19:13
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ASIA, the Anti-Santa Intelligence Agency, recommends: Kidnap an elf and use it to control Santa!

Seriously, elves are a weak link and therefore a perfect attack vector, allowing further operational exploitation. Getting a hold on just one of the elves would provide the NSA with the strong emotional trigger they need to make Santa do whatever they want. After all… while there’s a chance Santa is a big fan of puzzling, he surely would not like having to glue back together 1000 pieces of an elve. ;)

Ease of operation: as the following intel imagery clearly shows, Santa’s elves are vulnerable to be subverted via usual digital channels using current NSA equipment without the need to specifically (re-)infiltrate services like Google Mail. Based on the known, average intelligence level of the potential targets, setting up and abducting an elf should be a piece of cake.

elf using gmail

According to classified sources, CIA might be able to assist leveraging the pressure on Santa as soon as the elf is in custody. They seem to have a long history of operational success in related areas.

For the records: officially, it can neither be confirmed nor denied that NSA/CIA cooperation can and/or will result in any kind of elf abduction, psychological forcing, and/or successfull Santa capturing.

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