Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Fri Dec 3 17:23:46 UTC 2010

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

> However, Neal Stephenson in _Snow Crash_, p. 123, has the following,
> suggesting a weakened or extended sense involving any active CIA
> "... a wet operation -- doing actual cloak-and-dagger work ..."
> Normally, I wouldn't bother with this, but Stephenson is a writer who
> to Charles Hitchen's _The Regulator_ of 1718 in order to get the
> for one page in a 1500 page novel cycle (rather than, as too many
> do, excavating the execrable work of James Hardy "thrice transported"
> so he's usually fairly careful and reliable.
> So my question:  is this sense of "wetwork", as an active operation
> than specifically a killing, current already, or is Stephenson
> (_Snow Crash_ is set in the relatively near future) that this *will
be* an
> extension of the term at the time when the novel is set?

More context:

p. 132 "CIC pics out one of their agents who is involved in a  wet
operation -- doing some actual cloak-and-dagger work -- and has him put
on a gargoyle rig so that everything he sees and hears is transmitted
back to the home base in Langley."

The quote equates "wet work" with the use of a dagger -- I'm not sure
this weakens or extends the sense.

p. 150 "A big hoover for intel.  I don't think he did wet operations --
and if he did, he wouldn't do it in that get-up."

p. 346 "There are four men in the life raft:  Hiro Protagonist,
self-employed stringer for the Central Intelligence Corporation, whose
practice used to be limited to so-called "dry" operations, meaning that
he sat around and soaked up information and then later spat it back into
the Library, the CIC database, without ever actually doing anthing.  Now
his practice has become formidably wet.  Hiro is armed with two swords
and a nine-millimeter semiautomatic pistol, known colloquially as a
nine, with two ammunition clips, each carrying eleven rounds."

These quotes clearly distinguish simple intelligence gathering from "wet
work" -- I think Stephenson's use is consistent with what has been
previously described on the list, and that he means "killing" when he
uses the term.
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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