Glossary of Terms
Many of these come from Ronald Kessler's excellent book The
FBI which I strongly recommend. Others come from the FBI Handbook
For New Employees. Others, I have obviously made up.
- (pronounced "ay-dick".) Assistant Director. There are ten publicly
known Assistant Directors of the FBI: the eleventh, Assistant Director
Levy, has direct control over the Special Affairs Division. The title is
honorary, but reflects the generally higher rank of SAD agents.
- The Agency
- The CIA. Also, "the Company", "Intelligence", and "penny-loafers."
(The origin of "penny-loafers" is an
interesting story.) Rarely refers to the NSA.
- 1. An employee of the FBI. (The corresponding term in the CIA and
NSA is 'officer'.) 2. In intelligence, someone besides an intelligence
officer who provides intelligence.
- Any human or technical resource.
- In-depth cover stories. For example, if someone is investigating an
agent, and goes to their fictional place of business, and the agency has
put a false business with false employees there, they are said to have
'run up against the backstop'.
- To leave the office for the afternoon, to leave the office early.
- Betty Bureau
- A female employee "married to the Bureau", generally support staff,
but occasionally applied to an agent.
- Black Sky Case
- SAD only. Refers to a case involving unexplained incidents involving
unidentified flying objects and related issues, including conspiracy to
destroy evidence of such. See "Blue Rose" and "Pig's Wings" Cases.
- When propaganda in another country is picked up by domestic news
services and spread as truth in this country. For example, if the CIA
spreads rumors that the President of Honduras is about to be
overwhelmingly voted out, and the New York Times prints it as a news
story, that's "blowback."
- National Intelligence Estimates, bound in blue covers, generally
address a specific topic. They are of varying security classifications.
- Blue Rose Case
- SAD only. Refers to a case involving paranormal activity normally
associated with accepted, European legends of the supernatural, including
vampires, werewolves, and events of that ilk. Non-European legends are
sometimes called "Black Roses", but this term is not widespread. See
"Black Sky" and "Pig's Wings" cases.
- In counterintelligence, a visitor to an official establishment whose
identity is not known. Also, 'stray'.
- Brick Agent
- A field agent, also called a "street agent".
- A Bureau airplane or helicopter.
- (pronounced "Boo-car"). Bureau vehicle. Also "Buc" ("boo-see") and
"Busteed" ("boo-steed"). One of the "Three B's". See below.
- The Bureau
- The FBI. Few agents refer to it any other way when speaking to other
- The Bureau Proper
- SAD only. The FBI, excluding the Special Affairs Department.
- Hallucinogen approximately ten times the strength of LSD, used in
experiments on US soldiers by the CIA.
- Case Agent
- The agent in charge of a particular case. Generally only assigned to
high-profile or extremely wide-ranging cases.
- Case Death
- When a case fails for mysterious reasons, leads going nowhere, etc.
- Criminal Investigation. (pronounced "see-eye") A division of the
- Communications Intelligence
- Continental United States
- British intelligence slang for the CIA.
- In the intelligence world, policymakers and elected officials.
- Short for credentials. See "roast beef".
- Doodys and Judys
- SAD only. Puppets of the paranormal, male and female respectively.
(from Howdy Doody and Judy of Punch and Judy.) Derogatory.
- Dry Cleaning
- Attempting to detect surveillance.
- Electronic Intelligence.
- The Farm
- The CIA training facility near Williamsburg, VA, operated under the
guise of Camp Peary. Also, a private intelligence training facility
outside Atlanta, Georgia, operated mostly by former federal intelligence
- Foreign Counterintelligence. A slight misnomer, but plain "CI" means
Criminal Investigation, so no change has been made. (pronounced
- In the intelligence community, a FBI agent. Often abbreviated to
- The Firm
- MI-6, the British foreign intelligence service.
- To use a polygraph examination with extremely stressful and/or
personal questions and/or accusations in intelligence personnel testing.
- 40 Committee
- An interdepartmental committee which sets the secret foreign policy
agenda for the United States, including the action of the CIA.
- Internal discipline standard for the Bureau: censure, transfer,
suspension and probation.
- The Game
- Intelligence work.
- High Bureau Official. Informal term.
- Honey Trap
- Sexual blackmail.
- Hush Puppy
- In intelligence, a silenced automatic pistol whose action has been
altered to prevent it from ejecting an empty shell after firing. In more
general gun parlance, a weapon expressly designed to work with a silencer.
- The Institute
- The Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.
- Short for "kiss my ass", active agents who have passed the retirement
- Knuckle Dragger
- Military personnel assigned to intelligence work.
- A cover story, including documentation.
- Linear Drawer Foot
- The amount of paper it takes to fill a one-foot-long file drawer
completely. Example: A House Armed Services Committee in 1969 discovered
that there were 517 linear drawer feet of unalayzed intelligence
regarding Southeast Asia on file with various US intelligence agencies.
- Mahogany Row
- The high-security area of the J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington
DC. An elaborate security process must be done to enter the area: top
secret documents are viewed there, and the FCI program often operates from
the area. To reach the SAD offices, you must pass through Mahogany Row.
- To recognize someone. As in "I've been made." or "I've made the
- SAD only. Other government agents on a case, be they fellow
investigators, adversaries, conspirators in a coverup, or merely
- SAD only. Shapeshifter involvement.
- National Intelligence Daily, an UMBRA TOP SECRET document that
summarizes the main intelligence items of the previous day. About 200
copies are printed.
- A SWAT team member in full gear.
- In intelligence, ficticious.
- Office of Professional Responsibility. The FBI internal inspection
body, which investigates the activities of the Bureau. The OPR often
comes into conflict with SAD.
- A prearranged verbal exchange by which intelligence personnel
identify each other. What is in layman's terms, 'sign and countersign'.
- Photographic Intelligence.
- Pig's Wings Case
- SAD only. A term for a case that is truly bizarre, involving
strangeness nowhere else classifiable. A common SAD motto is "All cases
are Pig's Wings." See also "Blue Rose" and "Black Sky" cases.
- SAD only. To disappear. Can be used as an active or passive verb.
"The subject poofed." "He poofed the subject." "The subject was poofed."
- Radar Intelligence.
- Informal term for agents from other field offices temporarily
assigned to an investigation. Not derogatory, believe it or not.
- Resident Agency
- A smaller satellite of a field office, employing anywhere from one to
twenty agents. Agents assigned to Resident Agencies are called "RA"s
(like the Agency itself,) or "Resident Agents". See "SARA"
- SAD only. Vampires. "Throwing rice" and "baking rice" are euphemisms
for destroying a vampire. "Fried rice" is a rarety, a vampire corpse,
also referred to as a "Lugosi". "Rice paper" is documents or money
indicating vampiric influence.
- Roast Beef
- Credentials, or, to show credentials, as in "I roast beefed the
subject." There is, of course, a story
behind this term.
- Special Agent in Charge, pronounsed "ess-ay-cee". SACs are in charge
of a field office in the Bureau Proper, but are often used as Case agents
- Special Affairs Resident Agent. Pronounced "Sair-uh".
- Schnoblin's Goblins
- SAD/CIA only. An informal term for Operations Group C972 of the
Central Intelligence Agency, headed by Senior Comptroller Robert A. "Bob"
- 1. SAD only. (pronounced "ess-see-eye") Formerly "Supernatural
Counterintelligence", renamed in 1976 to "Strategic Counterintelligence."
Many agents still use the first meaning. 2. Sensitive Compartmentalized
Information. The process of restricting access to sensitive information
by imposing special controls and handling. TOP SECRET UMBRA and TOP
SECRET COSMIC documents are two examples of this sort of
- SAD only. To destroy a shapeshifter.
- To be sheep-dipped is to resign an overt military post for reasons of
covert operations with the understanding that you would be returned to
overt military duty after the operation is concluded. Sometimes,
arrangements are made so that time spent on the covert operation counts
towards pension and retirement time.
- Sodium pentothal. Rarely used to refer to other interrogation drugs.
- Agent who places electronic surveillance equipment.
- Term for female agents. Also "skirts" (no joke) and, a term
originating in California, "breast-Feds".
- The Three B's
- The three things most likely to get an FBI agent in trouble: booze,
broads and Bucars. (See "Bucar")
- Too-Hard Box
- A mythical box between "In" and "Out" for impossible cases.
Assistant Director Levy of Special Affairs supposedly has one.
- Unless Advised to the Contrary by the Bureau.
- The unknown subject of an investigation.
- Wise Men
- National Intelligence Officers, a small group of senior intelligence
officials who prepare "blue books" of varying security levels for
policymakers from intelligence sources.
The terms in this glossary are just that: terms. They are distinct from
'code words', which are assigned (supposedly) at random. Here is a list of cryptonyms which might be of interest.
back to the FBI-SAD Page.