CIA code names for operations, people, and facilities range from informal nicknames to a complex series of cryptonyms. Many of their major headquarters, training areas, intelligence gathering facilities, and other buildings have no official names, but have nicknames that stuck over time. They often give their operations creative and colorful designations that mean nothing to anyone but insiders - and those are just the ones that aren't classified.
Intelligence jargon is designed to be easily understood by those who need to understand it, and nearly incomprehensible to outsiders or snoops listening in. Hence the series of two-letter codes used to identify countries, or the innocuous all-caps names given to new NSA surveillance initiatives. If you know what they are, then you know what they are. And if not, then you're not supposed to.
Here are some of the best, most creative, and all around weirdest nicknames given by the CIA, NSA, and other intelligence agencies in the US to all manner of buildings, people, and even missions. Vote up the craziest CIA nicknames below!
list ordered by
Internal nickname for the CIA.
Code for the CIA training base at Camp Peary in Williamsburg, VA. Also called "Camp Swampy."
Nickname of the National Security Agency's headquarters at Fort Meade. Also called "The Fort."
Twin headquarters of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center, in McLean, VA.
Remote viewing operation masterminded by the CIA.
NSA hack that can turn on an iPhone's microphone. Revealed by Edward Snowden.
CIA training facility in Virginia that taught black ops techniques until it was torn down in 2015.
Joint CIA, Navy, and NSA plan to tap Soviet undersea communication cables.
CIA program to launch photographic balloons over the Soviet Union from West Germany.
Cyanide capsule carried by agents to commit suicide rather than be captured.
Dropping someone from the CIA payroll to do their job through a civilian company.
CIA program to recruit Iraqi spies before the 2003 invasion.
Blue-painted Blue Bird buses that transport CIA employees around the Washington, D.C. area.
NSA intelligence processing center located in Germany.
Great White Case Officer
Informal nickname for 1950s CIA chief Allen Dulles.
CIA code name for Fidel Castro ("AM" being the code for Cuba).
CIA plan to rescue an agent taken prisoner while setting up anti-Noriega radio station in Panama.
Post-Berlin Wall operation to find a CIA mole, based on information found during storming of Stasi headquarters.