Minnesota man wins legal fight over right to parody security agencies


A Sauk Rapids man is declaring victory in an out of court settlement of his lawsuit against the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dan McCall, who runs Libertymaniacs.com from his home, tells the St. Cloud Times "They basically gave me everything I was asking for. It's a victory for First Amendment rights."

McCall filed his lawsuit with the help of the government watchdog group Public Citizen after the agencies ordered him to stop selling merchandise – shirts, mugs, and hats – bearing slogans satirizing the federal government.

As the Times reports, the NSA objected, for example, to the use of its official seal alongside the slogan "The only part of the government that actually listens."

The agencies sent a cease-and-desist letter to the maker of McCall's merchandise, Zazzle.com. The Washington Post reports that as part of Tuesday's settlement the NSA is acknowledging that the federal law it cited "does not prohibit ... items intended to parody the NSA."

Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security agrees that the law does not apply to people making a commentary about the agency, the Post says.

A blogger for The Hill quotes a Public Citizen lawyer who worked on the case saying “Citizens shouldn’t have to worry whether criticizing government agencies will get them in trouble or not." Under the settlement the agencies agree to pay McCall $500 to offset his legal costs.

In Public Citizen's statement about the settlement McCall says “I'm glad the case helped reaffirm the right to lampoon our government. I always thought parody was a healthy tradition in American society. It's good to know that it's still legal.”

Next Up


With the help of HVAC, Circus Juventas will host its first holiday shows

After months of canceled classes and shows, Circus Juventas is hosting its first ever holiday show, with safety precautions.

Cameron Dantzler

Vikings send Cameron Dantzler to COVID-19/reserve list

Dantzler's placement leaves the Vikings paper-thin at cornerback heading into Green Bay.

peterson fischbach

Elections 2020 preview: 7th Congressional District

Will Collin Peterson hang on for yet another term?

Zimmer and Hunter

Zimmer explains why he called Hunter's neck injury a 'tweak'

The coach also said Dalvin Cook should return from injury this week.


60 charged in magazine scam that netted $300M

It's being called the largest elder fraud scheme in the country.

Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 10.30.23 AM

The Star Tribune is shutting down City Pages

The free newspaper was bought by the Star Tribune in 2015.

billy's on grand

Coronavirus: Billy's on Grand will close for winter

The restaurant is among a growing list of eateries to close for the winter months.


1 dead in early Wednesday crash on Interstate 694

The 28-year-old driver was not wearing a seatbelt, the State Patrol said.

enbridge line 3

Complaint argues that Line 3 pipeline replacement is no longer needed

Honor the Earth filed the petition with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Tuesday.