Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An Apt But Too Obvious Acronym

The WaPo reports that:

The CIA has launched a task force to assess the impact of the exposure of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and military files by WikiLeaks.

Officially, the panel is called the WikiLeaks Task Force. But at CIA headquarters, it's mainly known by its all-too-apt acronym: W.T.F.

I like the acronym, but I have to take away points for lack of subtlety. The best ironic acronyms are the ones that not everybody gets.

Way back in the Cold War days, my office created a new branch to handle Congressionally-mandated certifications of newly constructed embassy office buildings. ('Certification' is the process by which the Department raises its right hand and swears to Congress that a new embassy has no bugs, unlike the notorious one that was built in Moscow during the 1980s.) We made up the branch name "Certification and Core Chancery Policy" so that we would have "CCCP" in our office symbol. We thought that was amusing since the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in Russian, is spelt Союз Советских Социалистических Республик.

Not everybody got the reference. We were on the Department's organization chart with an office symbol of XX/XX/CCCP for about a month before our Principal DAS made us change the name to something more bland.


The Snake's Mommy said...

And if you find yourself meeting that Task Force head at some holiday function soon, take along as a gift the WTF self-inking stamp, "now with smooth, satisfying ker-chunk". $10!

Right here:

And, yeah, you're welcome!

TSB said...

An office must-have! That image is going on my post.