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What's the Good Word?

February 29, 1996|MICHAEL HAEDERLE

Jargon.

It's the stuff that separates the animals from the first-timers, the knockoff artists from the hogwagons.

Over the years, outside forces have attempted to ban the paper hangers and the SACs and other jargonese, but private-speak has survived and thrived.

Last week jargon was attacked once more when Eugene Hickok, the Pennsylvania education secretary said enough already! "Any bureaucrat who slips an acronym in, uses a noun as a verb or submits a garbled memo must put a dollar into the Jargon Jar," he said clearly--the proceeds to be donated to buy CD-ROM dictionaries for schools.

If Mr. Hickok had a dollar for some of the jargon we found at the Department of Water and Power (hogwagon), the FBI (SACs), the Postal Service (animals) as well as in the worlds of movies (first-timers), law (paper hangers) and fashion (knockoff artists), every kid in Pennsylvania would have a CD-ROM dictionary.

Read on. We promise you'll never look at a mule or a pig the same way again.

FBI-Speak

* Desk: the person who supervises a squad of special agents.

* Task: to assign someone to a duty as in, "She was tasked to secure the wiretap," "He was tasked to bring the pizza."

* SAC (pronounced "S-A-C"): Special Agent in Charge, which is the head of a local field office. The SAC's assistant is the ASAC (pronounced "a-sack").

* BUCAR: a bureau car. You know, one of those inconspicuous sedans with a small antenna in back. Example: "Special Agent Scully, driving a dark gray BUCAR, observed the male subject across the street acting suspiciously, whereupon he melted."

* UFAP: a suspect who is arrested in a state other than where the crime was committed. The FBI holds the UFAP with an Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution warrant until extradition.

* Bad Guy: the suspect.

* UFAC: if the Bad Guy happens to make a getaway, or Unlawful Flight to Avoid Confinement.

* USA: United States of America, but for FBI purposes, U.S. Attorney.

* DOJ: Department of Justice. (The USA and the FBI work for the DOJ.)

* CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

* CDC, FBI-style: Chief Division Counsel, as in Doug Beldon, CDC and spokesman for the Albuquerque, N.M., field office, who said, "I can give you acronyms all day."

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