Codebreaker unlocks the 3,000 secrets of US military vocabulary

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The Independent US

If you had heard of "Power Geyser", "Titrant Ranger", "Toychest" or "Barracuda" before today, you were privy to the innermost workings of the US defence establishment. Now, however, those secrets are being exposed to general scrutiny for the first time.

If you had heard of "Power Geyser", "Titrant Ranger", "Toychest" or "Barracuda" before today, you were privy to the innermost workings of the US defence establishment. Now, however, those secrets are being exposed to general scrutiny for the first time.

In a remarkable book to be published this week, William Arkin, a former intelligence officer and analyst, lists and defines 3,000 codenames for military and national security plans past and present, several of them involving Britain and many of them still classified.

"Project 19" is about the defence of Taiwan against an attack by China. "Beady Eye", "Barracuda", "Soothsayer", "Delphin", "Pinemartin" and "Odette" are among the 13 codenames listed by Mr Arkin for British intelligence operations related to the "war on terror".

Mr Arkin, a campaigner for greater government disclosure, says the 600-page Codenames is intended as a "DNA map of American national security".

"Titrant Ranger" apparently refers to a top-secret counter-terrorism unit once engaged in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Among other titbits in the book are "Sites 51 to 56", said to be secret US bases in Israel.

"Toychest" was the plan for the deployment of US nuclear weapons in the Netherlands. Similar plans existed for Germany ("Tool Chest") and Italy ("Stone Ax").

The book may even resolve the mystery of the "secret undisclosed location" of Vice-President Dick Cheney after the 11 September attacks. "Site R" a granite mountain shelter 50 miles north of Washington, was built in the 1950s to withstand a Soviet nuclear attack.

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