FBI And CIA Have A Sense Of Humor?

English is not a static language by any means. Just this month the Oxford English Dictionary has already added “selfie,” “bezzie,” “flexitarian” and “hashtag” to the lexicon of silly words it already includes in the fabled reference work.

FBI And CIA Have A Sense Of Humor?

The list which is presumably growing quite quickly includes “about 2,800 entries” and was made public following a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request made in January by Jason Smathers via the website MuckRock.

FBI’s employment of “Leetspeak”

Smathers’ request was for all documentation available to FBI agents, personnel and direct contractors over the “leetspeak” they employ. “Leetspeak”, which is yet to find it’s way into the OED, refers to online jargon when users replace letters with other characters to form “words.”

While “Leet” is popular in the hacking community, presumably computer crime investigators need to be fluent in “Leet” as well.

His request was not just a “one off” as he continued to follow up with the FBI while he awaited what was ultimately a low-res copy of the FBI’s documents that he posted on MuckRock yesterday.

It doesn’t make for easy reading given the abysmal quality of the disclosure, one would hope, or at least law abiding ones would hope, that FBI workers are using a considerably clearer version of the same list that was compiled by the Justice Department’s Intelligence Research Support Unit (IRSU).

“With the advent of Twitter and other social media venues on the Internet, the use of shorthand and acronyms has expanded,” the document said, adding that this is an extensive, “but far from exhaustive” record.

I’m old and the government funny?

Looking at it in my 40s I was a touch taken aback by “ALOTBSOL” (always look on the bright side of life), “GNSTDLTBBB” (good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite), and “WYLABOCTGWTR” (would you like a bowl of cream to go with that remark?).

I am truly old, but “This list has almost 2,800 entries you should find useful in your work or for keeping up with your children and/or grandchildren,” the agency suggested.

Apparently June is “Show the Federal government has a sense of humor month.” Earlier this month the CIA joined Twitter…maybe.

“We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet,” the CIA wrote on the micro-blogging site, resulting in almost 300,000 retweets and more than 180,000 favorites.

They stopped short of, “We could tell you but then we would have to kill you.”



About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com