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[liberationtech] NSA flag terms

Erich M. erich at
Wed Jun 19 08:02:04 PDT 2013

On 06/19/2013 03:40 PM, Griffin Boyce wrote:
> Michael Azarkevich <michael.azarkevich at
> <mailto:michael.azarkevich at>> wrote:
>     I find it hard to believe the list is authentic. It has words like
>     "Java", "Quiche" and "Redheads" for gods sake. Also, they misspelled
>     the name of the Israeli equivalent of the Navy SEALS (They wrote
>     "Shayet-13" instead of "Shayetet-13"). 
>     The NSA aren't stupid, they're running the biggest spying operation
>     in the world. I know size doesn't imply competency but I'm inclined
>     to believe they know what they're doing.
>     The list is, in all probability, fake.
> Well, sure. A coworker mentioned that it strongly resembles the output
> from the emacs "spook" command. ;-)

The older farts amongst us may remember the 90ies. During the "crypto
wars" such fake lists were circulated before. Even then simple keyword
catalogue searches were outdated, even then they were part of a much
bigger surveillance programm. They had long started searching primarily
for communications patterns by then.
During the late 90ies some similar efforts to "jam the NSA" took place.
Aside from jamming, you can't even troll them this way.

What we did for fun on the civil lib and crypto lists was exchanging
lists of really harsh swearing expressions in various languages.

I would use words from the Turkish swearing catalogue as a regular
e-mail footer, the Spanish speaking used the worst expressions in
Viennese argot I could find, the Italians swore in Greek transcripts
etc. There were Armenian and Italian catalogues as well. All swearing
was openly addressed to the NSA.
We knew they were on our lists, because we were such a small lot then,
easy to oversee worldwide.

> ~Griffin
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