Author Jack King has put together this interesting list of "intel lingo", well worth a browse. Live links lead to expanded details.
AGENT / ASSET - person obtaining intelligence for an intelligence service, under control of a CASE officer
AGENT provocateur - for example a cop posing as member of a subersive group and enticing riots etc.
AIR America - CIA front company
ALLIANCE BASE - Alliance Base is the cover name for a secret Western Counterterrorist Intelligence Center (CTIC) that was allegedly established in 2002 in Paris. According to a Washington Post article, Alliance Base is funded by the CIA and its French equivalent, the DGSE. It allegedly hosts officers from Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and the United States and is used for intelligence exchange and operational planning.
ALPHA Group, The
AMAN - Israel's military intelligence
ASIO - Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
ASIS - Australian Secret Intelligence Service
BIRDWATCHER - spy, usualy used in the UK
BLACK BAG operation - breaking in to install eavesdropping equipment, e.g. by the FBI
BLACK SITE - any classiffied facility for which the US government will deny existence (for example US torture prisons).
BLACK VAULT - funds free of governmental scrutiny - laundered, stolen, etc - every intelligence agency's fallback option
BLOWBACK - term used to describe the unintended consequences of covert operations
BLOWN - exposed as being a spy
BND - Bundesnachrichtendienst - German Foreign Intelligence Service
BRAINWASHING - in Societies where the government maintains tight control of both the mass media and education system, and were media stand firmly behind the government, brainwashing is used to disseminate propaganda on a particularly intensive scale, the overall effect can be to brainwash large sections of the population (See FOX News). This is particularly effective where nationalist or religious sentiment is invoked and where the population is poorly educated and has limited access to independent or foreign media.
BRUSH PASS - momentary person to person contact, usually to exchange physical intelligence.
BUG - a covert listening or recording device. Listening device is easier to detect as it emits signals. Recording device is 'on' only during recording, but is usually bigger. Both can be remotely turned on/off
BURNT - exposed spy, operative who became known as a spy.
C3I - command, control, communications and intelligence - Command and control refers to the ability of the military commander to direct his forces. The addition of Communications to the grouping reflects the fact that communications is required to enable this coordination. In modern warfare, computers are also a key component. Intelligence is the knowledge relevant to the coordination of forces. Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance are methods of obtaining this intelligence. These terms can be used to refer to infrastructure, a role of military units or individuals, or procedures employed.
CANARY TRAP - A canary trap is a method for exposing an information leak, that involves giving different versions of sensitive information to each of a group of suspects and seeing which version gets leaked.
CASE officer - staff officer of an intelligence agency, also called an OPERATIONS officer or AGENT handler or controller
CENTER - Moscow headquarters of the KGB
CHICKEN FEED - mineal information offered to a double agent, used to establish him as someone with access to intelligence
CHRISTIANS in Action - slang for the CIA
CLANDESTINE operation - actions that are meant to be undetected
COBBLER - specialist who forges passports
COMPARTMENTALIZATION of information means to limit access to information to persons who directly need to know certain such information in order to perform certain tasks. The idea is that the fewer people know, the better, because as the number of people "in the know" grows, so does the risk or likelihood that such information could be compromised or fall into the hands of the opposition. As such, there tend to be varying levels of clearance within organizations. However, even if someone has the highest clearance, certain "eyes only" information may still be restricted to certain operators, even of lower rank. In intelligence administration, it is particularly useful to keep close watch on "sources and methods" information, so as to prevent disclosure of people and their activities, whose lives may be at risk, if such information were publicly disclosed, or, once again, fall into the hands of the opposition.
CONSUMER - person or an organization on the receiving end of intelligence obtained by spies
COOKED Intelligence - distorted intelligence passed on to a double agent, containing some truth
COUNTER-ESPIONAGE - spying directed against an enemy's spy system, such as by recruiting agents in foreign intelligence organs
COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE - the activity of preventing the enemy from obtaining secret information.
COUSINS - slang for CIA operatives
COVERT operation - those actions for which the government will deny knowledge or responsibility
CRYPTONYMS and CODEWORDS used by the CIA
CSE - Communications Security Establishment (UKUSA Alliance member - Canada)
CSIS - Canadian Security and Intelligence Service - Canada's spy agency
CT - CounterTerrorism
CUT-OUT In espionage, a cut-out is a courier or mechanism used to pass information and devices from one spy to another while operating in a "denied area" or a hostile environment. The two forms of cut-outs are the block and chain. A block cut-out is an agent familiar with the entire spy network or cell and those who are in it, while the chain cutout is simply an agent who is aware of only the person providing the information and the spy who is receiving the information. The chain cut-out helps to maintain the compartmentalization of the spy network, which increases security by maintaining everyone's anonymity. The term cut-out may also be used more generally to describe a person or agency used as a pawn by intelligence agencies. (see also LETTERBOX)
DEAD DROP - pre-arranged location for dropping off secrets / receiving instructions and money
DECOY - person used to distract, confuse the adversary
DEFENSE MESSAGING SYSTEM (DMS) - secure electronic mail system used within the defense community
DEFCON - Defense Condition
DEFECTOR - In politics, a defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state or political entity in exchange for allegiance to another. This act is usually in a manner which violates the laws of the nation or political entity from which the person is seeking to depart, as opposed to a change of citizenship, which does not typically defy the law of any nation.
During the Cold War, the many people escaping from the Soviet Union or Eastern Bloc to the West were called defectors.
DGSE - General Directorate for External Security - The Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) or General Directorate for External Security is France's external intelligence agency. On April 2, 1982 it replaced the Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE). Its motto is Partout où nécessité fait loi ("In every place where necessity makes law").
DST - Domestic Security - The Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST; Directorate of Territorial Surveillance) is a directorate of the French National Police operating as a domestic intelligence agency. Its attributions include counterespionage, counterterrorism and more generally the security of France against foreign threats and interference, including economic. It was created in 1944 with its headquarters situated at 7 rue Nélaton in Paris.The DST Economic Security and Protection of National Assets department has units in the 22 regions to protect French technology. It has been operating for 20 years, not only on behalf of defense industry leaders, but also for pharmaceuticals, telecoms, the automobile industry, and all manufacturing and service sectors.
DIPSEC - Diplomatic Security
DISINFORMATION - deliberately false information released to mislead an enemy
DOUBLE and TRIPLE AGENT
DOUBLESPEAK - language used to disguise actual meaning, used by military and government agencies (for example: 'physical persuasion' instead of torture, 'neutralize' instead of kill, 'preemptive war' instead of illegal invasion, 'terrorist' instead of freedom fighter, etc.)
DRY CLEAN - to dry clean means to evade surveillance
DSD - Defence Signals Directorate (UKUSA Alliance member - Australia)
ECHELON - a global network of Signals interceptors serving SIGINT agencies of the UKUSA alliance. Intercepts anything from telephone conversations (private, political, diplomatic, military) to fax, email, internet searches...
ESCAPE and EVASION (E&E) is an advanced set of skills taught to select personnel prone to enemy capture, particularly aviation crews and Special Forces operators. It involves escaping from and eluding enemies until one reaches friendly units. Survival skills are vital in escape and evasion, as one is expected to live off the land while avoiding enemies.
ESPIONAGE - obtaining secrets from enemies or competitors
EVOC - Emergency Vehicle Operation Course - as tought at Quantico - how to drive offensively
EW - Electronic Warfare
EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION - fancy title used by the US government to describe second-hand torture, that is torture done on behalf of the US government by other regimes.
FALSE FLAG Operation - for instance: when a terrorist attack was in fact orchestrated by someone else posing as terrorists
FALSE FLAG recruitment - occurs when recruiting officer makes you think he's working for a friendly government (ie yours) when in fact he is working for the enemy
FLOATER - person used sporadically for intelligence operations
FLOATING BOX - when surveillance team follows a target by covering him from all angles
A FORCED DISAPPEARANCE occurs when an organization forces a person to vanish from public view, either by murder or by simple sequestration. The victim is first kidnapped, then illegally detained in concentration camps, often tortured, and finally executed and their corpse hidden.
FORT HUACHUCA - a American military installation in the Southeastern part of the state of Arizona. All non SIGINT Military Intelligence (MI) Advanced Individual Training (AIT) is conducted there, as well as the MI Officer Basic Course.
FPCON - Force Protection Condition
FRIEND - agent who provides information to an operative / handler
FSB - Federal Security Service, Russia
FSK - Federal Counterintelligence Service, Russia
FORTEZZA - card used by the US Government to encrypt digital communications (voice and data). Includes NSA microprocessor (meaning the NSA can read the communication).
Fortezza Plus - newer version of the above.
FRENCHELON - French answer to ECHELON.
FUBAR - Fucked up beyond all recognition.
FUNNY PAPERS - section of an intelligence organization that specializes with forging documents
GCHQ - Government Communications Headquarters (UKUSA Alliance member - UK)
GCSB - Government Communications Security Bureau (UKUSA Alliance member - New Zealand)
GOST DETAINEE - Ghost detainee is an official term used by the American President George W. Bush administration to designate a person held in a detention center, whose identity has been hidden by keeping them unregistered and therefore anonymous.
GREY MAIL - a person who is in position to expose an intelligence operation, for example when arrested or on trial
GRU - Main Intelligence Directorate, Russia
GSG - 9 - Grenzchutzgruppe - 9, Elite German CT unit
HARD TARGET - a person who sucessfuly maintains low profile / secrecy and / or is hard to place surveillance on.
HUMINT - HUMINT, short for HUMan INTelligence, is one of a series of intelligence gathering disciplines. NATO defines HUMINT as " A category of intelligence derived from information collected and provided by human sources." Contrary to what most people think HUMINT, does not necessarily refer to people involved in clandestine/covert activities. While clandestine/covert agents are part of HUMINT, HUMINT in fact, refers to any information collected from a human source. The person(s) providing the information could be neutral, friendly or hostile.
HUNTING PACK - surveillance team
IAFIS - The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) is a national fingerprint and criminal history system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The IAFIS provides automated fingerprint search capabilities, latent searching capability, electronic image storage, and electronic exchange of fingerprints and responses. The IAFIS maintains the largest biometric database in the world, containing the fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information for more than 47 million subjects in the Criminal Master File.
ICBM - Instant Calm Breath Method - technique to overcome anciety
ILLEGAL - an intelligence officer who operates in a foreign country without an official cover (usually diplomatic or trade) Illegals are the elite among 'spies'.
ILLNESS - arrest
INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE - espionage conducted for commerical gains (most intelligence agencies aid their country's business community through surveillance of competitors)
INFILTRATION - penetration, placement of an agent / operative inside adversary's organization
INFORMATION Warfare - is the use and management of information in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent. Information warfare may involve collection of tactical information, assurance that one's own information is valid, spreading of propaganda or disinformation among the enemy, undermining the quality of opposing force information and denial of information collection opportunities to opposing forces.
INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY of the United States
INTELLIGENCE Gathering Disciplines:
* HUMINT - Human Intelligence - gathered from a person on the ground.
* GEOINT - Geospatial Intelligence - gathered from satellite, aerial photography, mapping/terrain data
o IMINT - Imagery Intelligence - gathered from satellite and aerial photography
* MASINT - Measurement and Signature Intelligence
o ACINT - Acoustic Intelligence - gathered from acoustical sources
o CBINT - Chemical and Biological Intelligence - gathered from chemical and biological weapons and hazards
o DEWINT - Directed Energy Weapon Intelligence - gathered from weapon related radio frequency, microwave, electromagnetic pulse, laser, and particle beams
o Effluent/Debris Collection - gathered from atmospheric effluents and debris
o EOINT - Electro-Optical Intelligence - gathered from optical monitoring of the electromagnetic spectrum
+ IRINT - Infrared Intelligence - gathered from the infrared spectrum
+ LASINT - Laser Intelligence - gathered from laser systems
o MATINT - Materials Intelligence
o NUCINT - Nuclear Intelligence - gathered from the analysis of radiation
o RADINT - Radar Intelligence - gathered from radar sources. Note that this is often considered to be part of ELINT (q.v.).
o RF/EMPINT - Radio Frequency/Electromagnetic Pulse Intelligence - gathered from radio frequency and electromagnetic pulse emissions
o Spectroscopic Intelligence
* OSINT - Open Source Intelligence - gathered from open sources
* SIGINT - Signals Intelligence - gathered from interception of signals
o COMINT - Communications Intelligence
o ELINT - Electronic Intelligence - gathered from non-communications electronic emissions
* TECHINT - Technical Intelligence - gathered from analysis of weapons and equipment used by the armed forces of foreign nations
* FININT - Financial Intelligence - gathered from analysis of monetary transactions
* MEDINT - Medical Intelligence - gathered from analysis of medical records and/or actual physiological examinations to determine health and/or particular ailments/allergetic conditions for exploitation.
IRANIAN DIRECTORATE - The Iranian Directorate or Directorate for Iran is a unit of the Pentagon created in 2006 to deal with intelligence on Iran in the context of diplomatic and military tensions between the United States and Iran. Critics compare it with the Office of Special Plans (OSP) which cooked up intelligence reports about Iraq.IRIS RECOGNITION
JOE - deep cover agent
JTF2 - JTF 2 - Joint Task Force 2, Canada's special forces, CT unit.
KATSA - Case officer in Mossad
LEGAT - Legal attache, FBI agent working at an embassy.
LEGEND - life story created for a covert agent.
LETTERBOX - a go-between
LLB - Live Letter Box - a forwarding address to an intelligence agency
MI5 - British Security Service (internal)
MI6 - British Secret Intelligence Service (external)
MICROEXPRESSION is a tiny facial expression that lasts less than a quarter of a second. They often occur involuntarily, and can reveal emotions people are trying to hide, or may not even be aware of themselves.)
MILITARY SLANG - examples of military slang from around the world
MLEs - Military liaison elements - Pentagon's intelligence operatives attached to embassies, often comprised of special forces, operating illegaly on foreign territory, including allied.
MOLE - an agent who penetrated an organization or a group
MOSSAD - Israel's spy agency
MUSIC BOX - radio transmitter
NAKED - spy that does not have a cover
NIGHTCRAWLER / TALENT spotter - person who scouts various establishments (bars, clubs) for potential recruits
NOC - Non-official cover
NO-SUCH-AGENCY - slang for NSA.
NUMBERS Stations - shortwave radio stations of uncertain origin, broadcasting people reading streams of numbers, words, or letters.
OGA - Other Government Agency - slang for the CIA, used mainly within the military; also referes to intelligence operations conducted outside of oficial DOD channels.
OIG - Office of Inspector General, CIA.
OMON - Otdel Militsii Osobovo Naznachenyia - Russian SWAT team
ONE TIME PAD - unbreakable randomly generated code, use only once and discard, hence the name
OP - observation post
OPEN SOURCE Intelligence - Information gathered from publicaly available sources such as: Open Sources Center (select "Intelligence" section), Bloomberg, CIA World Fact Book, credit rating agencies, Dow Jones, Internet search engines such as Google, LexisNexis, newspapers of record, such as the New York Times, private investigators, public libraries...
OPO - Offensive Penetration Operation - penetration / infiltration into an enemy / targetted organization / group.
OPPENHEIM MEMORIAL PARK - mythical place where spies supposedly "retire"
ORDEN - right-wing, paramilitary terrorist organization that murdered and disappeared the opposition and civillians of El Salvador.
OSAMA - terrorist to some, hero to others, possibly a code name for a FALSE FLAG intelligence operation
PAROLE - password used to confirm identity between agents
PATTERN - repeat actions / behaviour of a spy that may lead to his detection
POCKET LITTER - items a spy will carry on him to help establish his identity
POLYGRAPH - A polygraph (commonly and inaccurately referred to as a "lie detector") is a device which measures and records several physiological variables such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and skin conductivity while a series of questions are being asked, in an attempt to detect lies. The above measurements are posited to be indicators of anxiety that accompanies the telling of lies. Thus, measured anxiety is equated with telling untruths. However, if the subject exhibits anxiety for other reasons, a measured response can result in unreliable conclusions. A polygraph test is also known as a psychophysiological detection of deception (PDD) examination. The original polygraph was invented by John A. Larson. Today, polygraph examiners use two types of instrumentation, analog and computerized. In the United States, most examiners now use computerized instrumentation.
POTUS - President of the United States.
PSYOPS - Psychological operations - influencing behavior of the masses, through mainstream media such as radio, press and TV. Sometimes called brainwashing.
QUANTUM CRYPTOGRAPHY - quantum mechanics-based way of securing communication (still in theory).
R2I - resistance to interrogation is a name for a set of techniques taught to UK, USA and other NATO soldiers ostensibly to help them, after capture by the enemy, to resist interrogation techniques such as humiliation and torture.
RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police
RING - a network of spies
SAFEHOUSE - a place where a spy can hide from an enemy / security services of country where he operates
SELECTIVE ASSASSINATION - Selective Assassination is a policy of selecting targets, using arms, training personnel and cover-up strategies designed to justify assassination as the means to meet a political agenda.
SEMTEX - Czech-made plastic explosive
SERE Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape
SHABAK - SHIN BET - Israel's internal security
SHOE - false passport
SIGINT - signals intelligence - intercepted signals
SIT REP - situation report
SLEEPER - deep cover agent with a mission to penetrate the highest reaches of the target nation - long term project
SLO - Security Liaison Officer - officer of CSIS
SOA - School of the Americas (Escuela de las Américas) - Terrorist training center located at Fort Benning, Georgia. Responsible for training human rights violators in the Spanish Latin and South Americas. Public outrcries forced the US government to rename SOA to: the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC or WHINSEC).
SODIUM PENTOTHAL / Sodium thiopental / thiopental / thiopentone sodium / trapanal - "truth drug"
SOFT TARGET - someone who is not properly trained to evade surveillance
SPETSNAZ - Recon / Sabotage Special Forces of the Main Intelligence Department od the Russian Army
SPYWRITER - Jack King
SPOOK - spy, intelligence officer
STATION - a place where spies operate from, for example an embassy where an intelligence officer is posted
STOCKHOLM SYNDROME is a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage exhibits loyalty to the hostage-taker, in spite of the danger (or at least risk) in which the hostage has been placed.
SVR - Foreign Intelligence Service, Russia
SWIM - means: to travel
TANGOS - slang for terrorists
TARGET - target (person, place etc) of intelligence agency's interest
TERMINATED - assassinated
THREATCON - Threat Condition (replaced by FPCON)
TRADECRAFT - proficiency / experience in espionage
TRAFFIC ANALYSIS - communication patterns examined to determine information they might carry (even secure communications which cannot be decrypted)
TRUTH DRUG \ TRUTH SERUM - A truth drug (or truth serum) is a drug used for the purposes of obtaining accurate information from an unwilling subject, most often by a police, intelligence, or military organization on a prisoner.
UAV - unmanned aerial vehicle - controlled remotely, this can be as large as a plane or as tiny as an insect with implanted microchips and sensors - currently in research.
UKUSA - a SIGINT alliance consisting of the English Speaking countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand). Its main purpose is to operate the Echelon
VOICE STRESS ANALYSIS (VSA) is a controversial technology that attempts to examine and measure a physiological stress component, by extracting micro tremors from the voice of a person and measuring their amplitude. Voice stress analysis is often applied as a type of lie detector. The technique's effectiveness remains debated. Multiple studies have concluded that VSA's accuracy at determining a subject's truthfulness is not significantly better than chance. However, many police and intelligence agencies have alleged that VSA is indeed useful in determining a person's truthfulness.
WALK-IN - someone who volunteers to offer its services as an agent
WATCH LIST - contains paople who are of interest to intelligence agencies
WET JOB / WORK - euphemism for murder, assassination
WHITE SOUND, PINK SOUND - emitted to foil electronic eavesdropping devices
Jack King www.SPYWRITER.comA new king of thrillers on the horizon
Specific to the United States:
AFI - Air Force Intelligence
AI - Army Intelligence
FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation
CIA - Central Intelligence Agency. Slang: Christians in Action, Other Government Agency or OGA
CIFA - Counterintelligence Field Activity (DoD). Much controversy surrounds this unit, particularly in light of its proposed merger with the Defense Security Service (DSS), which would create what amounts to Secret Police.
CSS - Central Security Service
CT - Counterterrorism Office (State Department)
DCIA - Director of Central Intelligence Agency
DS (DIPSEC) - Bureau of Diplomatic Security (State Department)
DIA - Defense Intelligence Agency
DoE - Department of Energy
DoT - Department of Treasury
G-2 - officer's rank in the military intelligence (related: J-2, S-2)
INR - Bureau of Intelligence & Research (State Department)
MI - military intelligence, officers are trained at Fort Huachucha, Arizona
NCS - National Clandestine Service - new, HUMINT agency.
NGA - National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency - these are the folks who watch you from the skies.
NI - Navy Intelligence
NIC - National Intelligence Council, reports to DCI
NIMA - National Imagery and Mapping Agency
NRO - National Reconnaissance Office
NSA - National Security Agency (UKUSA Alliance member). The officers often refer to it as "Never Say Anything". Others call it "No Such Agency".
NSC - National Security Council. Executive body overseeing national security issues, chaired by the POTUS
OSP - Office of Special Plans
SAD - Special Activities Division (CIA)
SOC - Special Operations Command (CIA)
SSB - Strategic Support Branch (DoD) Pentagon's humint espionage branch responsible directly to the Secretary. Created to free DoD from relying on the CIA. Free of Congressional oversight. Rogue. Hires mercenaries for covert ops.
USSS - United States Secret Service
WHISC or WHINSEC - Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Formerly: School of the Americas (SOA) - This is where the US trains terrorists / assassins who aide puppet governments of Central and South Americas.
Jack King www.SPYWRITER.comA new king of thrillers on the horizon
Polish (in "The Fifth Internationale"):
ABW - Agencja Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego - Internal Security Agency
AW - Agencja Wywiadu - Foreign Intelligence Agency
BOR - Biuro Ochrony Rzadu - Polish Secret Service
FBS - Federalne Biuro Sledcze - Federal Bureau of Investigation, fairly new agency loosely modeled on the FBI
GROM - elite special forces / counter-terrorist unit
Kiejkuty Stare - training camp for spies
Komisja Senacka do spraw Sluzb Specjalnych - State Senate committee on intelligence and security agencies
NJW - Nadwislanskie Jednostki Wojskowe - Military unit under the Ministry of Interior (rather than Defense) with policing powers.
SB - Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa - Internal Security and Counter-Intelligence agency during communist times (renamed 'UOP' after the fall of communism and staffed with the same officers)
Solidarnosc - Solidarity - The Union Movement that toppled the Communist government of Poland
Solidarnosc Walczaca - The fighting arm of the Solidarity
UB - Urzad Bezpieczenstwa - Intelligence Service during the communist time - staffed and modeled on the KGB
UOP - Urzad Ochrony Panstwa - Intelligence Agency - successor (simply renamed) to the notorious and feared SB. In 2002 split into two agencies: AW and ABW
URM - Urzad Rady Ministrow - The Council of Ministers
WSI - Wojskowe Sluuby Informacyjne - Military Intelligence Services
WIR - Wspolnota Informacyjna Rzadu - Government Intelligence Community
ALSO check out his CIA Cryptonyms at his site below