Weird History The Best CIA Nicknames  

Mike Rothschild
904 votes 385 voters 17.6k views 21 items

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
1
127 43
The Company is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
The Company
Internal nickname for the CIA.
2
67 32
The Farm is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
The Farm
Code for the CIA training base at Camp Peary in Williamsburg, VA. Also called "Camp Swampy."
3
40 18
Stargate is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Stargate
Remote viewing operation masterminded by the CIA.
4
46 24
Puzzle Palace is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Puzzle Palace
Nickname of the National Security Agency's headquarters at Fort Meade. Also called "The Fort."
5
45 26
Nosey Smurf is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Nosey Smurf
NSA hack that can turn on an iPhone's microphone. Revealed by Edward Snowden.
6
25 11
Liberty Crossing is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Liberty Crossing
Twin headquarters of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center, in McLean, VA.
7
24 12
Blue Goose is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Blue Goose
CIA training facility in Virginia that taught black ops techniques until it was torn down in 2015.
8
17 6
Ivy Bells is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Ivy Bells
Joint CIA, Navy, and NSA plan to tap Soviet undersea communication cables.
9
27 16
Moby Dick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Moby Dick
CIA program to launch photographic balloons over the Soviet Union from West Germany.
10
19 9
Sheep Dip is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Sheep Dip
Dropping someone from the CIA payroll to do their job through a civilian company.
11
17 8
L-Pill is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
L-Pill
Cyanide capsule carried by agents to commit suicide rather than be captured.
12
25 17
DBROCKSTARS is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
DBROCKSTARS
CIA program to recruit Iraqi spies before the 2003 invasion.
13
13 6
Dagger Complex is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Dagger Complex
NSA intelligence processing center located in Germany.
14
14 7
Blue Birds is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Blue Birds
Blue-painted Blue Bird buses that transport CIA employees around the Washington, D.C. area.
15
15 9
Great White Case Officer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Great White Case Officer
Informal nickname for 1950s CIA chief Allen Dulles.
16
19 13
Acid Gambit is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Acid Gambit
CIA plan to rescue an agent taken prisoner while setting up anti-Noriega radio station in Panama.
17
16 11
AMTHUG is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
AMTHUG
CIA code name for Fidel Castro ("AM" being the code for Cuba).
18
17 12
BLARNEY is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
BLARNEY
NSA telecommunications intelligence gathering program.
19
7 3
Lace is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
Lace
Post-Berlin Wall operation to find a CIA mole, based on information found during storming of Stasi headquarters.
20
9 7
QKFLOWAGE is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
QKFLOWAGE
Code name for the now-defunct United States Information Agency.
21
10 15
JIB is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best CIA Nicknames
JIB
Stands for "jack-in-the-box" - an inflatable dummy used to evade Soviet surveillance.