MHCURB: CIA Eyes on the Black Panthers
A case study in the coded language of CIA surveillance
Knowing my interest in CIA lingo, a friend asked via email, “Have you ever come across any reference to MHCURB? It's a slug that appears on several CIA documents next to MHCHAOS, but no one seems to know what it was.”
Anytime I get a question like that, I click my way post-haste to an invaluable and unique online resource: the “CIA Cryptonym Database” of the Mary Ferrell Foundation (MFF).
This handy tool is invaluable for understanding the U.S. intelligence community (known colloquially as “the deep state”). And the database is unique because no other source explains and explores the secret codes of the CIA during the Cold War in such documentary detail.
By the way, I don’t use the term “deep state” in the Trumpian sense, which I find rhetorical and partisan. I use the term “deep state” in a narrower bureaucratic sense, as a synonym for the influence of the “U.S. intelligence community (IC),” which consists of the 18 intelligence organizations run by the federal government.
So when I say “deep state” (or “IC”) I’m not subscribing to a “conspiracy theory.” I’m describing a political reality. The annual U.S. intelligence budget is $93 billion, about 11 percent of the $842 billion defense budget. Whatever you call it, the secret intelligence sector of the U.S. government is a double digit factor in the exercise of American power, at home and abroad.
To put it another way: In Washington, people lie. Budgets do not.
How Cryptonyms Work
Now back to my friend’s question: What was MHCURB?
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