We’ve all watched movies or read books where spy terms were used. It’s commonplace. I’ve used several of these words myself, not to be cool (even though some of them sound cool) but to add an air of realism to the story. If nowhere else except in your mind. Because let’s face it, that’s where it counts.

If you’re like me, then you’ve heard (or read) these words used and only had a vague idea what the term meant. Some meanings are obvious and the definition of the word is reflected by the word(s) itself. Others, not so much.

I won’t ramble; let’s get down to it. Here’s a short list of some of the more commonly used words and phrases. I’ll add more later. Please feel free to add your own in the comments…but keep them clean and accurate. Enjoy.

AGENT – a person under the control of an intelligence agency.

ASSET – an agent.

BLIND DATE – the first meeting with an unknown person.

BLOWBACK – unexpected negative consequences of spying activity.

BRUSH CONTACT – a clandestine, momentary contact between two agents who are passing information, documents, or equipment.

BRUSH PASS – same as brush contact.

COBBLER – a spy who creates false passports, visas, diplomas and other documents.

COUSINS – slang for CIA.

DOPPELGANGER – a look-a-like.

EARS ONLY – material too secret to commit to writing.

EYES ONLY – documents that may be read but not discussed.

HANDLER – a case officer who is responsible for handling agents in operations.

HONEY POT – aka-Mata Hari, Raven, lady, femme fatale; a female agent using romance to compromise a target.

HONEY TRAP – Slang for use of men or women in sexual situations to intimidate or snare others. This use of sex to trap or blackmail an individual is standard practice in intelligence operations.

JANITORS-a team sent in to clean up after and operation.

MUSIC BOX – Slang for Clandestine Radio

NAKED – a spy operating without cover or backup.

POCKET LITTER – items in a spy’s pocket (receipts, coins, theater tickets, etc.) that add authenticity to his or her identity.

SLEEPER AGENT – an inactive deep-cover agent.

SPOOK – a spy.

TRADECRAFT – The methods used in clandestine operations such as espionage. The skill acquired through experience in a trade; often used to discuss skill in espionage.

WET JOB– results in death of target or major bloodshed.

WET TEAM-a team sent in to clean up after an operation that involved major bloodshed.

1 Comment

  1. Patricia Welsh on January 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    How fascinating Im now thinking of some face book friends and twitter colleagues I could apply some of these spy terms to ! Classified Business Espionage !!! Thanks M

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