Monday, November 12, 2012

brief espionage lexicon

The following is from a so-called "Terms and Definitions section of Spylopedia." We find the claim that "The most common terms related to espionage and intelligence can be found within this page. This is an on-going dictionary- all of these terms have been pulled from common sources including encyclopedias and internet reference sources." One should keep in mind that apparently they really were writing this in alphabetical order; they only get up to the letter C. The website was last update March 13, 1999 at 7:24 PM. It was published on tripod. Who remember Tripod?


  • ACCESS- the ability to obtain classified information through the possession of appropriate security clearances.
  • ACOUSTIC INTELLIGENCE- intelligence derived from the collection of acoustic data.  The best example is the collection of noice "signatures" of surface ships and submarines detected by sonar.
  • AGENT- an individual who acts under the direction of an intelligence services to obtain or assist in obtaining information for intelligence purposes or perform a variety of intelligence functions..
  • AGENT OF INFLUENCE- an asset usually in an important government position, who is assigned the job of influencing policy, rather than collecting intelligence.
  • AGENT PROVOCATEUR- an asset, usually under control of a counterintelligence agency, assigned to infiltrate a political organization and instigate violent action designed to discredit that organization.
  • ANGEL- slang used by intelligence officers for member of an opposing intelligence service.
  • APPARAT- an espionage ring or cell.
  • ASSET- any resources available to an intelligence service for operational use.
  • ATTACHE- officers assigned to foreign capitals to provide laison to foreign military forces, overtly to collect information and to gather intelligence.


  • BABYSITTER- slang for a bodyguard.
  • BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION- a detailed inquiry to determine an individual's reliability and honesty, usually required to prodive an individual with a security clearance.
  • BIOGRAPHIC LEVERAGE- use of secret background information to force or blackmail a person to work in the intelligence field.
  • BLACK LIST- listing of hostile collaborators, sympathizers, intelligence suspects, or other person.
  • BLIND DATE- a meeting by an intelligence officer and another person at the time and place of the other person's choosing.
  • BLOWBACK- deception planted by an intelligence agency to mislead people in other countries, then returning to the originating country, where it misleads the government.
  • BLOWN- exposure of intelligence personnel or similar elements.  A blown agent is one whose identity is known to the opposition.
  • BRUSH CONTACT- a brief, public but discreet meeting of an agent and an intelligence officer in which information are exchanged, usually with no conversation between the two.
  • BUG- a concealed listening devise used in audio surveillance.
  • BURN- slang term for the deliberate sacrifice of an intelligence agent, usually to protext a more important spy or when there are indications that he has already been compromised.


  • CASE- an intelligence operation as a whole or a record of the operation.
  • CASE OFFICER- an intelligence officer who is responsible for providing direction to an agent.
  • CELL- the lowest and most expendable group in an intelligence network.
  • CHICKEN FEED- intelligence knowingly provided to the enemy through an agent or double agent.
  • CLEAN- any intelligence asset, including an agent, safehouse, or material that has never been used operationally and is probably not known to enemy intelligence.
  • COLD APPROACH- an attempt to recruit a foreign national as an agent without any prior indication that the person might be perceptive to such an offer.
  • COMBAT INTELLIGENCE- knowledge of the enemy, weather, and terrain that is used by a commander for the planning of tactical operations.
  • COMMUNICATIONS INTELLIGENCE (COMINT)- Intelligence derived from the intercept of communications.
  • COMPANY, THE- term used within the CIA and by CIA intelligence officers for the organization.
  • COMPROMISE- known or suspected exposure of classified personnel or materials to unauthorized persons.
  • COMPUTER ESPIONAGE- the tapping of computers to gain access to classified information or to alter data.
  • CONFIDENTIAL- U.S. security classification for national security information- the lowest security classification.
  • COUNTER-ESPIONAGE- activites to protect classified information from enemies.