By: Sara Yin
Type ‘WTF’ in Google search and you’ll draw up all sorts of non sequitors: the World Taekwando Federation, South Park, the PSP game Work Time Fun, and, curiously, the Central Intelligence Agency.
Yesterday the CIA announced the formation of a task force to determine the impact of WikiLeaks’ recent e-dump of state secrets, called the WikiLeaks Task Force, a.k.a. WTF.
“The Director asked the task force to examine whether the latest release of WikiLeaks documents might affect the agency’s foreign relationships or operations. This group, which is made up of seasoned officers, will conduct a thorough review and present their findings to senior agency officials,” said Jennifer Youngblood, a CIA spokesperson, in a statment.
Predictably, virtually every media outlet has focused on the coarse humor behind the acronym of the task force, which is also a very popular Internet abbreviation.
It would make sense if the acronym, if unintentional, was ironic. After all, of all the implicated U.S. departments and agencies, the CIA emerged relatively unscathed, perhaps because of its reluctance to share secret information electronically.
“Some might say the acronym is regrettable,” a U.S. official, who didn’t want to be named, told PCMag. “Perhaps we should consider that the CIA has a sense of humor after all.
“No agency or department is immune from possible leaks, but one thing’s for sure: the CIA is known to have among the highest information security standards in the U.S. government,” the offical continued. “The agency is alert for changes in threats, has robust computer auditing tools, triggers that can flag possible insider threats, and rigorous personnel screening.”
“It’s just a huge vulnerability,” a former high-ranking CIA told the Washington Post. “Nobody could carry out enough paper to do what WikiLeaks has done.”