learn something new every day

sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Fri Feb 17 00:48:39 UTC 2006

>Thank you, Jon. FWIW, now that I've seen your analysis, "P" as "pee" =
>"piss" strikes me as clearly transparent. ;-)
>Re "spook": that term was not used within the Agency. I heard it from
>outsiders. Because the Agency was supposed to be secret, there was no
>"collar brass" with a symbol for it. Instead, we wore collar brass
>with the symbol for "not yet assigned to any particular kind of unit,"
>otherwise worn only by basic-trainees. So, of course, we stuck out
>like sore thumbs. As soon as non-Agency GI's saw us, they'd say, "Oh,
>we know who you guys are. You're 'spooks'!" They were under the
>impression that we monitored U.S. Army-internal communications for
>breaches of security.
>Actually, my unit intercepted the radio-relayed telephonic
>communications of the Red Army, the German Army, whether East or West,
>and the East-Gernan police and translated them into English. Another
>unit, about which we knew nothing, intercepted and read all snail-mail
>commo between East Germany and West Germany. They sent weekly
>summaries of their work to my unit. Of course, this does not preclude
>the possibility that there was some unit of the Agency that did
>monitor U.S. Army-internal commo. We had no need to know, so we
>A while ago, someone wrote a letter to the editor of The Times that
>discussed intel. What he had to say was pure ignorance. Intel
>absolutely does not work the way that that guy thinks it does. Those
>who say don't know. Those who know don't say. And when those frrom the
>NSA or the CIA who know pretend to say, as long as their lips are
>moving or their moving fingers write, they are LYING! E.g., any
>official discussion of intel that may appear in the paper, such as the
>NSA interception of e-mail. A secret agency really *is* secret,
>whether it's the Gestapo, the KGB, or the NSA.
>The Army Security Agency has been defunct for about the past
>quarter-century. Otherwise, I still would not be saying anything about
>I guess that it's time that I get back on point. ;-)
>The official name of this job in the protocal of Military Occupation
>Specialties was "voice-intercept operator." However, that was just a
>cover name. Within the Agency, the job was actually known as
>"scanning." The one doing it was known as a "scanner," as an "MG
>scanner," or as a "Mercury-Grass scanner." All scanners were graduates
>of the old U.S. Army Language School at the Presidio of Monterey, CA,
>now known as the "Defense Language Institute (West-Coast Branch)," The
>concept of intercepting radio-relayed telephony and translating it in
>real time was itself known as "Mercury Grass." Supposedly, the British
>were the first to develop this concept and "Mercury Grass" was their
>code name for it. Further deponent knoweth not.
Er, are you by any chance, pulling a whatsit paradox thing here?  "All
Cretans are liars.  I am a Cretan."

~@:>   ~@:>   ~@:>   ~@:>

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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