code word

(and response) was in intelligence activity a spoken word (or phrase), which when uttered to the other person involved in the communication with the intelligence officer confirmed that the person who provided the code word was authorised by the intelligence officer to carry out a particular measure. The code word had to be followed by the correct response. Code words and responses were indispensable for the sake of secrecy and security when fixing meetings. The code word served to confirm that it was "our" secret collaborator and to prove that the secret collaborator was actually being contacted by an intelligence officer. For this reason, the code word had to be at least three-step, i.e.  officer – collaborator, collaborator – officer, officer – collaborator. In principle, it had to correspond to the situation where it was meant to be uttered, had to be clearly identified by the secret collaborator and the intelligence officer, had to be easy to remember, and the individual parts of the code word had to have distinctive markers. For every code word, it was also necessary to consider that the code word could be used in critical situations elsewhere than at the expected meeting. The solution was to formulate a fundamentally universal code word that could be used in any situation, and yet was sufficiently definite. The code word had to be pronounced accurately, but unconditionally, and code word markers had to be adhered to consistently. The code word and response were the main guarantee that contact had been established with the right person.

Also see: communication plan

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