Displaying either its sense of humor or its absolute lack of it, the CIA has named its task force studying the effect of WikiLeaks "WTF," for "WikiLeaks Task Force." The Internet, creator of he original WTF, thinks the task force's name is pretty funny. But, as Wired's Spencer Ackerman points out, WTF's mandate is even funnier.
This is "literally a WTF operation," Ackerman writes, designed to study how much the WikiLeaking could affect the CIA's ability to recruit spies. The answer? Not very much at all.
"Score one for the CIA's distaste for sharing information," Ackerman says. The CIA didn't use SIPRNet, the government's secret internet, from which the state department cables were stolen. And while the Pentagon is rushing to ban thumb drives, those pesky little virus transmitters are unthinkable at the CIA. One reason the agency is so good at secrets is its experience with early digital mishaps, as when a single unfortunate reply-to-all revealed the identities of the agency's entire network in Iran. Ackerman notes, "All those are WTF moments--though, as a reporter, I'm not complaining--but chances are they're not going to merit their own task force."
- Opens Up Other Bureaucratic Naming Possibilities, Colby Hall writes at Mediaite. "Hopefully this spells a new trend in appropriate acronyms for government agencies. For example, a task force assigned to look at the recent debate over the rampant growth of the omnibus spending bill could be called the Omnibus Management Group, or OMG."
- Recalls Another Classic Acronym, Jonathan Turley muses. "This reminds me of the old section in the Environmental Division of the Justice Department Leaking Underground Storage Tank office or LUST office. There was even a LUST fund controlled by Justice in 1986. The Reagan Administration [shortened] it [so] that it was called UST out of concerns that lawyers were introducing themselves as LUST specialists working for President Reagan."
- Curious Name, Stan Schroeder notes at Mashable. WTF is "an acronym that carries a set of connotations the CIA probably doesn't want to be associated with."
- More Please, Robert Quigley says at Geekosystem. "[D]oes this make them the men in the black ROFLcopters?"
- Stranger than Fiction, The Daily What writes. "You could make this stuff up, but no one would believe you."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.