How a kitten hacked the government

Maura Kelly, Opinion Columnist

Panic! At The Disco broke up and a furry has unveiled the TSA no-fly list. The internet and my brain are in shambles … and I’m the most inspired I’ve ever been. 

We all have idols, some stranger than others. One of my newfound idols – and I grit my teeth as I am typing this – identifies itself as a furry (pronouns, it/she). 

Recently, the U.S. government was hacked. A long list containing the names of individuals who are part of the Terrorist Screening Database, meaning they are either prohibited from boarding any aircraft or subjected to increased security screening, was leaked online. The list comprised of over 1.5 million different names. Both impressive and alarming, news of the hack took social media by storm, but for an unexpected reason – the identity of the hacker.

Maia Arson Crimew, TSA’s new enemy, is a self-proclaimed “mentally ill enby polyam trans lesbian anarchist kitten” via its Twitter account. Crimew gained access to secret and volatile U.S. government documents and proceeded to upload them to its blog. On Crimew’s blog, it refers to this endeavor as “easy” and it outlines how to accomplish this task in three simple steps (with the full rundown available on 

According to the Distributed Denial of Secrets, a non-profit whistleblower site, this data will only be available to researchers and journalists due to privacy concerns. So, if you’re an average internet lurker such as myself, you will not be viewing the contents of this newly liberated list. CommutAir, the airline from which this list was accessed, affirmed the validity of the list. They also admitted to the information being federally outdated, from around four years before its release. This feline must have bucketloads of time on its hands to scroll meticulously through thousands of lines of code to discover one of America’s deepest, darkest secrets.

Illustration by M Hu.

This kitten is exceptionally active on social media. However, after multiple attempts to track it down and gain an insider interview, I have resurfaced with zero response. I have the sneaking suspicion that Crimew is ignoring my messages (rude), so I’ve made an executive decision to sever all further contact. 

This list is an exemplary representation of how America is deeply rooted in its racist beginnings. Children, and even babies, are named on this list, simply because America is convinced that their heritage signifies terrorist behaviors. According to the Twitter account of Aric Toler, Director of Research and Training at Bellingcat, an international collective of investigators and journalists, “about a third of the list had last names that started with A … obviously Arabic names.” Not surprisingly, the next most common names were Latino, Asian and Muslim names. There are endless streams of Tumblr and Reddit comments from individuals who have had personal experiences being barred from boarding an aircraft due to their names.

I think what Crimew accomplished is undeniably commendable. This may also be due to the fact that I can barely figure out how to operate split screen on my laptop. Crimew’s findings instilled a certain ambition and unwarranted confidence in me that I could uncover any piece of information on the internet if I truly wanted to. Crimew says that the first step to uncovering information like this is boredom. So perhaps next time you can’t sleep at night, you’ll venture down the same path like this crazy cat did and divulge some horrific new information the government has been keeping from us. 

Maia accomplished this feat simply because it wanted to and it could. I think that’s a pretty baller way to live, so I’ll tear a page out of Maia’s blog and maybe put my stalking abilities to better use in the future. 

Pet your cats and stay silly, folks.