Monday, July 12, 2010

Interesting Things I Learned While Researching Other Things

by Julia Buckley

The Internet is an amazing place. It reminds me of those stores you can wander into, looking for one item, and then become distracted by endless other items which fascinate for various reasons. And of course you spend more money than you intended to spend.

As I wandered through the amazing information store that is the Internet, doing research for a recent project, I ended up learning some interesting things and taking them away with me (but at least these tidbits were free).

1. On the CIA Website, students interested in a career in the CIA can find ways to become involved early, with internships available to "the best and brightest." I was also pleased to note that the CIA tells students up front that they need excellent writing and communication skills (foreign language is even better), and that they have to be free of drug or alcohol habits.

I'm glad that young people who might think the CIA seems glamorous as a career choice might also realize that agents are held to rigorous standards.

2. The FBI Website offers up the ol' "Ten Most Wanted" list, and Osama bin Laden (they spell it "Usama") is in the SECOND position. Ahead of him is Eduardo Ravello, a notorious drug trafficker. Interesting that one would precede the other.

3. All of the people on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list are men.

4. Of the 500 "historical" most wanted, twelve are women.

5. Of their "Most Wanted Terrorists," all are men of Middle Eastern descent, except for Daniel Andreas San Diego, who is from Berkeley, California.

6. Information about the Most Wanted fugitives is available in many languages.

7. On the NSA Website, I learned that the NSA was named Employer of the Year by BWI Business Partnership, "an association that focuses on economic development and transportation issues in the Baltimore-Washington corridor."

8. The first part of the NSA's strategic plan is "to dominate global cryptology."

9. The NSA provides explanations of common terms and acronyms. So, for my last note, I'll ask if you know what some of them stand for!

10. Can you identify these NSA acronyms?


How did you do? I knew none of them. I'll post the answers at 5:00 Central Time today!


Sandra Parshall said...

Why anyone would want to work for the CIA is beyond me.

We live close to CIA headquarters, and I've always thought it was an odd place that gives mixed signals. It has a guarded entrance, of course, with a gatehouse. For a long time after 911, a surveillance van was parked at the entrance, but that's gone now. Next to the gate is a memorial to the CIA employees who were shot and killed during morning rush hour a number of years ago as they were preparing to turn into the driveway. The memorial consists of a very small brick-paved area, a bench and some flowering plants. I have never seen anyone sitting on the bench, and I doubt anyone ever has.

The compound is on beautiful wooded land, with a meadow that has a purple martin house on a pole. I've never seen any martins (or other birds) around the birdhouse. Maybe it has a surveillance camera in it, aimed at the road.

Julia Buckley said...

How interesting, Sandra! Have you ever tried to get a tour, or do they not do that sort of thing?

I love the Purple Martin house detail. Sounds quite plausible, actually.

Julia Buckley said...

Okay: Here are the answers from the NSA website:

COMINT - Communications Intelligence - Information obtained for intelligence purposes from the intercept of communications by other than the intended recipient.

NSC - The National Security Council - A governmental body specifically created to assist the President in integrating all spheres of national security policy.

NSCID - National Security Council Intelligence Directive - Instructions issued by the NSC.

NSCID 9 established NSA, and several other NSCIDs provide regulations to NSA/CSS missions.

SIGINT - Signals Intelligence - Information which contains communications intelligence (COMINT), electronics intelligence (ELINT), and foreign instrumentation signals intelligence (FISINT), either individually or in combination, however transmitted.

SSCI - The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which provides oversight on NSA/CSS intelligence activities.

lil Gluckstern said...

Thank you very much. All those letters make my head ache. Isn't that the wonder of the internet? Sometimes, I have to remind myself there are other things to do-like clean up, or better yet, read!

Julia Buckley said...

Yeah, I have to get to that cleaning up, Lil. :)

And my vacuum cleaner died today!