Make sure your Holy Joe about retreading the lingie isn’t hammered when you take it to the School.

In a December release of information previously classified as “For Official Use Only” (FOUO) by the NSA, CNN’s Security Clearance writer Pam Benson happened upon this gem of a document, an “Unofficial Vocabulary” list. Written for the agency’s internal publication, the Cryptologic Quarterly, it offers an alphabetical list of some of the common lingo used by NSA insiders (circa 1991 although it reads more like 1960s lingo).

The words are used “not only to make the cryptologic business seem arcane and exalted to outsiders but also to describe the many nonprofessional and unprofessional aspects of life at the Agency” the article states.

As the article notes, modern technology was making many of the terms obsolete. Take “diddy bopping” for instance – copying manual Morse transmissions. I can’t imagine the NSA is hiring many diddy boppers these days. The first sentence in this article is just one example of the NSA’s spy language in action. Other choice words include:

Badger – a worker’s clearance status as marked for easy recognition by the color of his or her badge, green, red or black – for fully cleared, non cleared or contractor, respectively.

Desk rats – that’s OK, you know who you are.

Fort Fumble – a not altogether affectionate designation for Fort Meade and the NSA headquarters by those stationed elsewhere.

Slip and Slide – to idle or waste time.

So, Agency spies, spooks and desk rats – any inside lingo for today you’d add to this list?

Lindy Kyzer is the editor of She loves cybersecurity, social media, and the U.S. military. She’s responsible for giving the chop to ClearanceJobs content. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer