January 18th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Speak like a spy: A how-to guide

By CNN's Pam Benson

You've been a ghost at Fort Fumble, left to slip and slide, but now you're retread as a lingie and can use your skills to whiffle. If you're wondering what may have been in my coffee this morning, folks at the National Security Agency–or at least those from days gone by–would probably have no problem understanding the meaning behind the previous sentence. An article about the unofficial vocabulary of the super secret NSA was published in a 1991 edition of an in house magazine. Cryptologic Quarterly is published by the History and Publications staff and is only for the eyes of NSA employees. The article was one of a number recently declassified and made public by the NSA. Jobs have no doubt changed and technology has grown in leaps and bounds, so the lingo may differ, but now you have a chance to see for yourself NSA speak.

By the way, the translation of my first sentence:

You’ve been floating among offices waiting for a permanent position at the NSA, left to waste time, but now you’re retrained as a linguist and can use your skills to read rapidly through a stack of materials to cull out usable items.

If you want to become familiar with some of the lingo, click here.

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Filed under: Intelligence
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