The National Security Agency generates lots of reports. Though we do not get to read these communiques, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request we know the standards its authors are expected to maintain. The NSA has a style guide—a Strunk and White for spooks—which we're delighted to publish here for the first time.
Most of the document is an alphabetized compendium of ambiguous, easily-misused or otherwise troublesome words. As style guides go, it's standard fare: more interesting than the grammar tips are clarifications on obscure intelligence terms and the usage examples, which often lean toward military operations, geopolitics, killings and diplomacy.
NSA SIGINT Style Manual 2010
Download the NSA Style Guide
• PDF (Tidied)
• PDF (As released)
• TXT (Beta)
The FOIA request was filed on April 30, 2010 by Government Attic, and it took the NSA almost a year to release it.
Posted above is a version of the guide that we've cleaned up for readability's sake. The version released by the NSA was clearly printed out from a website: pages often have crude graphical headers, denuded hyperlinks and other web-cruft. There are numerous redactions throughout, including--on every page--the URL from which the document was saved or printed before release.
Please note that the text version was simply OCR'd from the cleaned-up PDF: there are many formatting errors and typos.
The bad news is that, due to the sheer tininess of certain components, iPhones are particularly vulnerable to going haywire in the presence of helium. The good news is that helium just isn’t a problem you run into often. Sure enough, Apple’s user guide for the iPhone and Apple watch admits this is a problem: […]
A single smut-addicted official at the US Geological Survey led to an IT crisis there, according to an official report, with visits to more than 9000 porny URLs resulting in a malware infestation. The recommendations? Filter the web, and plug those damned USB ports. Correction: More than 9000 sites, not 9000 infections.
Social network Gab was the online sanctuary of Robert Bowers, the antisemitic killer of 11 Jewish people in Pittsburgh. Gab lost its payment processors Paypal and Stripe over the weekend. On Tuesday, it loses its webhost, Joyent. Godaddy, its domain name registrar, gave it the boot on Sunday. Gab co-founder Ekrem Büyükkaya, who once wrote […]
A picture can be worth a heck of a lot more than just a thousand words. If you’ve squinted for ages trying to get just the right photo, you might have the right passion for a career behind the camera. You might even have the right equipment, but do you have the know-how? The Beginner-To-Expert […]
In case you hadn’t noticed from the sleigh bell-heavy music and the hues on your Starbucks cup, the holiday season hasn’t shown any more patience this year. But that doesn’t need to be a bad thing, especially if you’re hoping to get a jump on your shopping. Retailers aren’t waiting til Black Friday to dish […]
What do you get for the techie who has everything? How about giving them a Raspberry Pi and letting them make pretty much anything. Or better yet, do it for yourself with the Ultimate Raspberry Pi eBook Bundle. This trove of ideas and education unlocks the unlimited potential of this mini-computer, whose affordability and versatility […]