Media Blog

NRO’s MSM watchdog.

A Matter of Terminology


Right now I’m watching Rep. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Tucker Carlson scream at each other on “The Situation” about whether Karl Rove should resign over the outing of CIA “agent” Valerie Plame.

CIA “officers” are not the same as CIA “agents”, but surprisingly few in the media get the terminology right.

A CIA “officer” or “analyst” is an American who works for the CIA.

A CIA “agent” is a foreign citizen who is spying for the CIA.

Former CIA counterintelligence chief Jim Olson, when I took his class, told me that CIA officials hate it when media people get this wrong, so I thought I’d pass it on.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review