CIA cryptonyms are code names or code words used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to refer to projects, operations, persons, agencies, etc.[1][better source needed]

Format of cryptonyms edit

CIA cryptonyms sometimes contain a two character prefix called a digraph, which designates a geographical or functional area.[2] Certain digraphs were changed over time; for example, the digraph for the Soviet Union changed at least twice.[3]

The rest is either an arbitrary dictionary word, or occasionally the digraph and the cryptonym combine to form a dictionary word (e.g., AEROPLANE) or can be read out as a simple phrase (e.g., WIBOTHER, read as "Why bother!"). Cryptonyms are sometimes written with a slash after the digraph, e.g., ZR/RIFLE, and sometimes in one sequence, e.g., ZRRIFLE. The latter format is the more common style in CIA documents.[3]

Examples from publications by former CIA personnel show that the terms "code name" and "cryptonym" can refer to the names of operations as well as to individual persons.[citation needed] TRIGON, for example, was the code name for Aleksandr Ogorodnik, a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the former Soviet Union, whom the CIA developed as a spy;[4] HERO was the code name for Col. Oleg Penkovsky, who supplied data on the nuclear readiness of the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.[5] According to former CIA Director Richard M. Helms: "The code names for most Agency operations are picked in sequence from a sterile list, with care taken not to use any word that might give a clue to the activity it covers. On some large projects, code names are occasionally specially chosen—GOLD, SILVER, PBSUCCESS, CORONA. When Robert F. Kennedy requested a code name for the government-wide plan that Richard Goodwin was drafting, an exception was made. Goodwin was on the White House staff, and the plan concerned Cuba. Occasionally the special code names come close to the nerve, as did MONGOOSE."[6] A secret joint program between the Mexico City CIA station and the Mexican secret police to wiretap the Soviet and Cuban embassies was code-named ENVOY.[7]

Some cryptonyms relate to more than one subject, e.g., a group of people.[3] In this case, the basic cryptonym, e.g., LICOZY, will designate the whole group, while each group member is designated by a sequence number, e.g., LICOZY/3, which can also be written LICOZY-3, or just L-3.[3]

Digraphs edit

Partial list of digraphs and probable definitions edit

Unidentified digraphs edit


Known cryptonyms edit

Operations and projects edit

  • APPLE: Agent team seen in 1952 by CIA/OPC as best bet to successfully continue BGFIEND Project aimed to harass/overthrow Albanian communist regime. Team was arrested, communists controlled radio ops for 16 months, luring more agents into Albania in 1953, and trying and executing original agents in 1954 to suddenly end BGFIEND.[59]
  • ARTICHOKE: Anti-interrogation project. Precursor to MKULTRA.
  • AZORIAN: Project to raise the Soviet submarine K-129 from the Pacific Ocean.[60]
  • BGGYPSY: Communist.
  • BLACKSHIELD: A-12 aircraft reconnaissance missions off Okinawa.[61]
  • BLUEBIRD: mind control program
  • BOND: Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.
  • CATIDE: Bundesnachrichtendienst
  • CHARITY: Joint CIA/OSO-Italian Naval Intelligence information gathering operation against Albania (1948–1951).
  • CHERRY: Covert assassination / destabilization operation during Vietnam war, targeting Prince (later King) Norodom Sihanouk and the government of Cambodia. Disbanded.
  • CKTAW: Wiretap operation in Moscow, Russia[62]
  • DTFROGS: El Salvador
  • ESCOBILLA: Guatemalan national.
  • ESMERALDITE: Labor informant affiliated with AFL-sponsored labor movement.
  • ESQUIRE: James Bamford, author of "The Puzzle Palace".
  • ESSENCE: Guatemalan anti-communist leader.
  • FDTRODPINT: Afghan tribal agents, formerly known as GESENIOR, reactivated in the 1990s by the CIA to hunt Mir Aimal Kasi and later Osama bin Laden.[63]
  • FIR
  • FUBELT: operation against Salvador Allende in Chile
  • FJGROUND: Grafenwöhr, Germany paramilitary training ground.
  • FJHOPEFUL: Military base.
  • FPBERM: Yugoslavia
  • GESENIOR: Afghan tribal agents working with the CIA during the Soviet–Afghan War. Later called FDTRODPINT.[63]
  • GPFLOOR: Lee Harvey Oswald[2]
  • GPIDEAL: John F. Kennedy, US president.[64]
  • GRATTIC : Pyotr Popov, CIA Soviet agent[65]
  • GUSTO: Project to design a follow-on to the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Succeeded RAINBOW. Succeeded by OXCART.[66]
  • HBFAIRY: France
  • HTCURIO: American or U.S. [Not Government]
  • IAFEATURE: Operation to support the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) during the Angolan civil war.
  • IDIOM: Initial work by Convair on a follow-on to the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Later moved into GUSTO.[67]
  • Project JBEDICT: Tripartite Stay-Behind project.
  • JENNIFER: Document control system for Project AZORIAN.[60]
  • KEMPSTER: Project to reduce the radar cross section (RCS) of the inlets of the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft.
  • KMHYMNAL: Maine-built motor sailer JUANITA purchased by CIA to use as floating, clandestine, propaganda broadcast facility in Mediterranean/Adriatic (1950–53).
  • LNWILT: US Counterintelligence Corps (CIC)
  • LPMEDLEY: Surveillance of telegraphic information exiting or entering the United States.
  • MAGPIE: US Army Labor Service Organization
  • MATADOR: Project to recover section of Soviet submarine K-129 dropped during Project AZORIAN. Cancelled after Soviet protest.[60]
  • MOCKINGBIRD: a wire tapping operation of two journalists in 1963 to determine the source of leaked information[68]
  • MONGOOSE: "Primarily a relentless and escalating campaign of sabotage and small Cuban exile raids that would somehow cause the overthrow of Castro," which "also included plans for an invasion of Cuba in the fall of 1962".[69]
  • OAK: Operation to assassinate suspected South Vietnamese collaborators during Vietnam war.
  • PANCHO: Carlos Castillo Armas, President of Guatemala, also RUFUS.
  • PAPERCLIP: US recruiting of German scientists after World War II.
  • PHOENIX: Vietnam covert intelligence/assassination operation.
  • PINE
  • RAINBOW: Project to reduce the radar cross section (RCS) of the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.[70] Succeeded by GUSTO.
  • QKWAVER: Egypt
  • RUFUS: Carlos Castillo Armas, President of Guatemala, also PANCHO.
  • RYBAT: Secret[2]
  • SARANAC: Training site in Nicaragua.
  • SCRANTON: Training base for radio operators near Nicaragua.
  • SGCIDER: Germany
  • SGUAT: CIA Station in Guatemala
  • SHERWOOD: CIA radio broadcast program in Nicaragua begun on May 1, 1954.
  • SKILLET: Whiting Willauer, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras.
  • SKIMMER: The "Group" CIA cover organization supporting Castillo Armas.
  • SLINC: Telegram indicator for PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida.
  • STANDEL: Jacobo Arbenz, President of Guatemala.
  • STARGATE: Investigation of psychic phenomena.
  • STBAILEY: political action and propaganda part of STBARNUM[71]
  • STBARNUM: CIA Tibetan program (covert action in Tibet, 1950s onwards)[72]
  • STCIRCUS: aerial part of STBARNUM[72]
  • STSPIN: Three P-3A Orion aircraft operated from Taiwan in 1966.[73]
  • SYNCARP: The "Junta", Castillo Armas' political organization headed by Cordova Cerna.
  • THERMOS: Unclassified codeword used in lieu of RAINBOW[74]
  • THROWOFF/2: Albanian ethnic agent/radio operator employed by Italian Navy Intelligence/CIA in several early Cold War covert operations against Albania. Was captured, operated radio under communist control to lure CIA agents to capture/death, tried in 1954, death sentence commuted, freed after 25 years. CIA paid his son $40,000 in 1996.[75]
  • OPERATION TILT: The CIA's name for "an operation put together by John Martino, who was fronting for his boss Santo Trafficante and his roommate Johnny Roselli".[76] OPERATION TILT used "some of the same people working on the CIA-Mafia plots in the spring of 1963 ... [and] involved sending a Cuban exile team into Cuba to retrieve Soviet technicians supposedly ready to defect and reveal the existence of Soviet missiles still on the island".[77]
  • TROPIC: Air operations flown over North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union by CAT pilots during the 1950s.[61]
  • VALUABLE: British MI-run Albanian operations 1949 to 1953.
  • WASHTUB: Operation to plant Soviet arms in Nicaragua.
  • WBFISHY: UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • WSBURNT: Guatemala
  • WSHOOFS: Honduras
  • ZAPATA: Bay of Pigs Invasion 1961.

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd "Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Guatemala: Abbreviations and Cryptonyms". US Department of State Office of the Historian. May 15, 2003. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Assassination Records Review Board (September 30, 1998). "Chapter Five: The Standards for Review: Review Board "Common Law"". Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. pp. 52–53. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "False Names in CIA Documents". Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  4. ^ Wallace and Melton, pp. 88–102
  5. ^ Helms 2003, p. 216
  6. ^ Helms 2003, p. 197
  7. ^ Weiner 2008, p. 258
  8. ^ a b c d David Wise, Nightmover: How Aldrich Ames Sold the CIA to the KGB for $4.6 Million, HarperCollins Publishers, 1996 p.15
  9. ^ "'Our War' in Angola". Time. May 22, 1978.
  10. ^ Spy Anonymous. (2013). True Accounts of Espionage: The Anonymous Spy (Vol. 3). Retrieved March 8, 2016, from
  11. ^ a b Seymour M. Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, New York, Random House, 1991 pp. 5
  12. ^ Friedman, John S. (2005). The Secret Histories: Hidden Truths That Challenged the Past and Changed the World. Macmillan. pp. 278–279. ISBN 0-312-42517-1.
  13. ^ a b Kai Bird, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, Crown Publishing Group, New York, 2014 p. 95
  14. ^ Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2002, p. 269
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Richard H. Cummings, "From the Secret Pages of History", Kyiv Post, December 21, 2021
  16. ^ a b c d e Cummings, Richard H. Cold War Radio: The Dangerous History of American Broadcasting in Europe, 1950-1989.
  17. ^ CIA/IWG 2007, p. 5.
  18. ^ Ronald Kessler, Spy vs. Spy: Stalking Soviet Spies in America, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988 p. 53
  19. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 878
  20. ^ Escalante, Fabian. 1995. The Secret War: CIA Covert Operations Against Cuba, 1959–62, p. 93, ISBN 1-875284-86-9
  21. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2009, p. 262
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h Waldron & Hartmann 2009, p. 204
  23. ^ a b Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 215
  24. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2009, p. 38
  25. ^ a b c d Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 794
  26. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2009, p. 35
  27. ^ a b Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 216
  28. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2009 p. 224
  29. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2009, p. 19
  30. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2009, p. 13
  31. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 589
  32. ^ CIA/IWG 2007, p. 13.
  33. ^ a b Benjamin Weiser, A Secret Life: The Polish Officer, His Covert Mission, and the Price He Paid to Save His Country, New York: PublicAffairs, 2003 p. 344
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mendez, Antonio J.; Mendez, Jonna (2019). The Moscow Rules: The Secret CIA Tactics That Helped America Win the Cold War.
  35. ^ Smith 2003, p. 377.
  36. ^ David Ignatius, "A Big Man To Watch In Baghdad", Washington Post, February 1, 2004
  37. ^ Annie Jacobsen, Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins. (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2019), p. 371-383
  38. ^ Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack
  39. ^ CIA/IWG 2007, p. 26.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Case of Otto Albrecht Alfred von Bolschwing
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n CIA/IWG 2007, p. 36.
  42. ^ a b c d e f CIA/IWG 2007, p. 37.
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i Agee, Philip. 1975. Inside the Company: CIA Diary
  44. ^ "Libro descubre labor de la CIA en México :: La Razón :: 4 de marzo de 2016". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-03-24.
  45. ^ George Washington University
  46. ^ a b "El espía que impactó a México". [El Universal] (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
  47. ^ "LITEMPO: Los ojos de la CIA en Tlatelolco".
  48. ^ "La Jornada: Documenta periodista la cercanía de la CIA con el poder en México". 19 May 2011.
  49. ^ "Archives". Los Angeles Times. 27 March 1996.
  50. ^ "Nothing found for Blog 2008 04 Six Questions for Jefferson Morley on Our Man in Mexico".
  51. ^ a b c d Forging an Intelligence Partnership: CIA and the Origins of the BND, 1949–56
  52. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2009, pp. 35, 136
  53. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 527
  54. ^ CIA/IWG 2007, p. 47.
  55. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2009, p. 709
  56. ^ Bill, James A. (January 1988). "The Islamic Republic and America". The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-300-04412-6. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  57. ^ Smith, W. Thomas Jr. (2003). "Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Code Names". Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency. New York: Facts on File, Inc. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-4381-3018-7. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  58. ^ CIA/IWG 2007, pp. 1, 57.
  59. ^ OBOPUS/BGFIEND, RG263, Various documents, include Vol. 6, Box 47, National Archives, College Park, MD
  60. ^ a b c Sharp 2012
  61. ^ a b Smith 2003
  62. ^ Antonio J. Mendez and Jonna Mendez, "How the CIA Used the Illusions of Magicians to Fool the KGB", Daily Beast, June 8, 2019
  63. ^ a b Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, p.372
  64. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 894
  65. ^ Kevin Conley Ruffner, Eagle and Swastika:CIA and Nazi War Criminals and Collaborators, draft working paper, chapter Thirteen, p.15
  66. ^ Pedlow & Welzenbach, p. 274.
  67. ^ Contracting officer, Change of Project Funds Obligated Under Contract No. SS-100, Convair, San Diego, California, Project CHAMPION, DPD-2827-59, CIA, Washington, DC, 30 April 1959.
  68. ^ Robarge, David (2005). "McCone and the Secret Wars: Counterintelligence and Security". John McCone as Director of Central Intelligence, 1961–1965 (Part 2). Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence. pp. 328–329. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  69. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 37
  70. ^ Pedlow & Welzenbach, p. 129.
  71. ^ John B. Roberts II and Elizabeth A. Roberts, Freeing Tibet: 50 Years of Struggle, Resilience, and Hope, New York: AMACOM, 2009 p. 82
  72. ^ a b Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2002, p.
  73. ^ Pocock, Chris. The Black Bats: CIA Spy Flights Over China From Taiwan, 1951–1969. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978-0-7643-3513-6.
  74. ^ Bissell, Richard M., Jr., "[...] Cable Handling Procedures", SAPC-21143, CIA, Washington, DC, 8 November 1957.
  75. ^ OBOPUS/BGFIEND, AHMET KABASHI, RG263, Name Files, National Archives, College Park, MD
  76. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 471
  77. ^ Waldron & Hartmann 2005, p. 438

Bibliography edit

External links edit