CIA cryptonyms are code words seen in declassified documents of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. There has been much speculation as to the meaning of these.

Each CIA cryptonym in these documents contains a two character prefix called a digraph, which designates a geographical or functional area. The rest is either an arbitrary dictionary word, or occasionally the digraph and the cryptonym combine to form a dictionary word (e.g.: AEROPLANE). Certain digraphs were changed at times, for example the digraph for the Soviet Union changed at least twice.

Partial list of digraphs and probable definitions

  • AE: Soviet Union
  • AM: Cuba
  • BE: Poland
  • CK: Soviet Union
  • DI: Czechoslovakia
  • DM: Yugoslavia
  • DN: South Korea
  • ES: Guatemala
  • GT: Soviet Union
  • IA: Angola
  • KU: Part of CIA
  • MH: Worldwide operation
  • MK: Projects sponsored by the CIA's Technical Services Division
  • OD: Other Department
  • PB: President Board
  • SD: Iran
  • SM: United Kingdom
  • TU: South Vietnam
  • ZR: Normally prefixes the cryptonym for an intelligence intercept program. Seems to go with Staff D ops, Staff D being the group that worked directly with the NSA. Staff D was where ZR/RIFLE, a Castro assassination plot, was buried.

Unidentified digraphs

AV, CA, DT, EC, ER, FJ, HB, HO, HT, JM, JU, KM, LC, LI, QK, SE, SC, WS, ZI

Partial list of CIA cryptonyms and probable definitions

Operations and Projects

  • APPLE
  • ARTICHOKE: Anti-interrogation project. Precusor to MKULTRA.
  • AQUATONE: Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane Project
  • BIRCH
  • BLUEBIRD: mind control program
  • CHALICE: Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane Project
  • CHATTER
  • CHERRY: Covert assassination / destabilization operation during Vietnam war, targeting Prince (later King) Norodom Sihanouk and the government of Cambodia. Disbanded.
  • CONDOR: 1970s CIA interference in Latin American governments, some allege in the coup and assassination of Salvador Allende in Chile
  • CORONA: Satellite photo system.
  • DBACHILLES: 1995 effort to support a military coup in Iraq.
  • FIR
  • GUSTO: Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane Project
  • HTAUTOMAT: Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane Project
  • HTLINGUAL: Mail interception operation.
  • IAFEATURE: Operation to support UNITA and FNLA during the Angolan civil war.
  • LEMON
  • LINCOLN: Ongoing operation involving Basque separatist group ETA
  • LPMEDLEY: Surveillance of telegraphic information exiting or entering the United States
  • MHCHAOS: Surveillance of antiwar activists during the Vietnam War
  • MKDELTA: Stockpiling of lethal biological and chemical agents, subsequently became MKNAOMI
  • MKNAOMI: Stockpiling of lethal biological and chemical agents, successor to MKDELTA
  • MKULTRA: Mind control research. MKULTRA means MK (code for scientific projects) and ULTRA (top classification reference, re: ULTRA code breaking in WWII. Renamed MKSEARCH in 1964
  • MKSEARCH: MKULTRA after 1964, mind control research
  • MKOFTEN: Testing effects of biological and chemical agents, part of MKSEARCH
  • OAK: Operation to assassinate suspected South Vietnamese collaborators during Vietnam war
  • OXCART: Lockheed A-12 Spy Plane Project
  • PAPERCLIP: US recruiting of German scientists after the Second World War
  • PHOENIX: Vietnam covert intelligence/assassination operation.
  • PINE
  • PBFORTUNE: CIA project to supply forces opposed to Guatemala's President Arbenz with weapons, supplies, and funding; predecessor to PBSUCCESS.
  • PBHISTORY: Central Intelligence Agency project to gather and analyze documents from the Arbenz government in Guatemala that would incriminate Arbenz as a Communist.
  • PBSUCCESS: (Also PBS) Central Intelligence Agency covert operation to overthrow the Arbenz government in Guatemala.
  • SHERWOOD: CIA radio broadcast program in Nicaragua begun on May 1, 1954.
  • TPAJAX: Joint US/UK operation to overthrow Mohammed Mossadeq, Prime Minister of Iran
  • TSS: Technical Services Staff
  • WASHTUB: Operation to plant Soviet arms in Nicaragua

Organizations

  • KUBARK: CIA Headquarters
  • KUCAGE: CIA Overseas Paramilitary / Propaganda Operations
  • KUCLUB: Office of Communications
  • KUDESK: Counterintelligence department
  • KUDOVE: Office of the director
  • KUFIRE: Intelligence
  • KUGOWN: Propaganda
  • KUHOOK: Negotiations/Logistics (unsure)
  • KUSODA: CIA Interrogators
  • ODACID: State Department / US Embassy
  • ODEARL: US Department of Defense
  • ODENVY: FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • ODOATH: US Navy
  • ODUNIT: US Air Force
  • ODYOKE: US Government
  • QKFLOWAGE: United States Information Agency
  • SKIMMER: The "Group" CIA cover organization supporting Castillo Armas.
  • SGUAT: CIA Station in Guatemala
  • SMOTH: British Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6)
  • SYNCARP: The "Junta," Castillo Armas' political organization headed by Cordova Cerna.
  • UNIFRUIT: United Fruit Company

Persons

  • AEFOXTROT: Yuri Ivanovich Nosenko, a Soviet defector
  • AELADLE: Anatoliy Golitsyn, a Soviet defector
  • AMLASH: Rolando Cubela Secades, a Cuban official involved in plot to kill Fidel Castro in 1963
  • AMQUACK: Che Guevara, Argentinian guerrilla leader
  • AMTHUG: Fidel Castro, president of Cuba
  • GPFLOOR: Lee Harvey Oswald, J.F. Kennedy's assassin
  • GPIDEAL: John F. Kennedy, US president
  • GRALLSPICE: Pyotr Semonovich Popov, Soviet defector
  • JMBLUG: John S. Peurifoy, U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala
  • KUMOTHER: James Jesus Angleton, head of the CIAs counter intelligence
  • PANCHO: Carlos Castillo Armas, President of Guatemala, also RUFUS
  • RUFUS: Carlos Castillo Armas, President of Guatemala, also PANCHO
  • SKILLET: Whiting Willauer, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras.
  • STANDEL: Jacobo Arbenz, President of Guatemala

Places

  • BOND: Puerto Barrios, Guatemala
  • DTFROGS: El Salvador
  • HTKEEPER: Mexico City
  • HTPLUME: Panama
  • JMMADD: CIA airbase near city of Retalhuleu, Guatemala
  • JMTIDE: CIA airbase in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua
  • JMTRAX: CIA covert airbase/training camp in Guatemala
  • JMWAVE: CIA station in Miami (which operated against Cuba)
  • KMFLUSH: Nicaragua
  • KMPAJAMA: Mexico
  • KMPLEBE: Peru
  • LCPANGS: Costa Rica
  • LIONIZER: Guatemalan refugee group in Mexico
  • PBPRIME: the United States of America
  • PBRUMEN: Cuba
  • SARANAC: Training site in Nicaragua
  • SCRANTON: Training base for radio operators near Nicaragua.
  • WSBURNT: Guatemala
  • WSHOOFS: Honduras

Other

  • BGGYPSY: Communist
  • ESCOBILLA: Guatemalan national
  • ESMERALDITE: labor informant affiliated with AFL-sponsored labor movement
  • ESSENCE: Guatemalan anti-Communist leader
  • FJHOPEFUL: military base
  • LCFLUTTER: Polygraph, sometimes supplanted by truth drugs: Sodium Amytal (amobarbital), Sodium Pentothal (thiopental), and Seconal (secobarbital) to induce regression in the subject.
  • LIENVOY: Wiretap or Intercept Program
  • RYBAT: Indicates that the information is very sensitive
  • SLINC: Telegram indicator for PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida.

Unidentified codewords

AEBARMAN, AEFOX, AEROPLANE, AVBLIMP, AVBRANDY, AVBUSY, CABOUNCE, CLOWER, ECJOB, ESGAIN, ESODIC, ESQUIRE, FJDEFLECT, GOLIATH, HBDRILL, HOPEFUL, JUBATE, JUBILIST, KUHOOK, KUJUMP, KUPALM, KURIOT, KUTUBE, LCPANES, LICOZY, LITEMPO, ODIBEX, PBCABOOSE,

 


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