A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 20, 2012
TLA (three letter agency)

"TLA” is Washington, DC, federal government lingo for a “three letter agency,” such as ATF, CIA, DHS, FBI, NSA, and so on. “TLA (Three Letter Agency)” has been cited in print since at least 1993.


Wiktionary: TLA
Initialism
TLA

1. Three-letter acronym; or, three-letter abbreviation.
2. (US, humorous) Three-letter agency; used in reference to CIA, NSA, and so on.

Urban Dictionary
Three-letter Agencies
Three Letter Agencies are a general category of “spook” agencies, which defend America, but generally act mysteriously.
(...)
ATF - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
CIA - Central Intelligence Agency
DEA - Drug Enforcement Agency
DHS - Department of Homeland Security
DIA - Defense Intelligence Agency
DOD - Department of Defense
DOE - Department of Energy (yes, them too)
FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation
INR - Bureau of Intelligence and Research
ISR - Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency
NRO - National Reconnaissance Office
NGA - National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
NSA - National Security Agency
ONI - Office of Naval Intelligence
TFI - Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence

Google Groups: soc.culture.new-zealand
Bruce Hoult
7/18/93
(...)
Don’t worry about looking after your down-on-his-luck neighbour—we’ve got a TLA (Three Letter Agency) who will care for him.  Those agencies haven’t really worked, and worse, the tax money that has been taken from citizens to fund them has resulted in people having a lot less money they can use to be generous in their personal lives.

Google Groups: rec.humor.d
Bruce Carter
5/10/94
“TLA” REALLY STANDS FOR.....
(...)
Around Washington, DC, TLA also stands for “three letter agency”, i.e. FBI,CIA, NSA, DOD, etc.

Google Groups: talk.politics.guns
Lew Glendenning
11/17/96
(...)
However, given our TLA’s (Three Letter Agencies) penchant for intrigue, it pays to be really paranoid.

Google Groups: mail.cypherpunks
Bryce
11/28/96
(...)
TLAs—Three Letter Agencies (the alphabet soup of the US government—FBI, DEA, IRS, CIA, DIA, NRO, ATF, NSA—all your favorites).

Google Books
Text Processing in Python
By David Mertz
Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
2003
Pg. 169:
But rotor will not help much against TLAs (three letter agencies).

InfoWorld
APRIL 02, 2004
Microsoft smacked, CI Host attacked
The company Cringesters love to hate

By Robert X. Cringely
(...)
Spelling the Beans: Seems the Feds are fed up with Microsoft too, judging by the open source GPL found on the Workforce Connections site, a joint project of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Labor (DoL). But with contracts to supply the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other three-letter agencies (TLAs), Microsoft will probably be AOK.

Google Books
White: A Novel
By Christopher Whitcomb
New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company
2005
Pg. 30:
“Everyone from FEMA to DOE to the CDC and every other TLA you can name is pulling out all the stops to make sure the on-scene commanders have what they need to deal with this.”
“TLA?” the president asked. “What’s the TLA?”
“Three-letter agency,” Alred explained sheepishly. “It’s an expression we use to . . .”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, September 20, 2012 • Permalink