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United States Security

The Story Behind National Reconnaissance Office's Octopus Logo ( 133

v3rgEz writes: When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn't get quite the response they hoped. That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth. Researcher Runa Sandvik wanted to know who approved this and why, so she filed a Freedom of Information Act with the NRO for the development materials that went into the logo. A few months later, the NRO delivered.
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The Story Behind National Reconnaissance Office's Octopus Logo

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  • Hail Hydra (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2016 @11:13PM (#51341545)
    opps, did we let the logo go public?
    • I was thinking more along the concept of tentacle rape.... a large organization screwing everyone within reach. Maybe it was a Freudian slip.

      • I didn't make the tentacle porn until your post, I love it!

        • I did not know that Tentacle Porn even existed...
          so i did a google search ... holy cow ( well tentacle ) google search link

          • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

            I envy the combination of your low user ID and your until-now ignorance of tentacle hentai. This sort of shit was a go-to shock link in college (not because it was the most shocking, which it isn't, but because it combines "someone worked hard on this" with "why on earth" pretty solidly- other topics would actually have a victim or something sad).

            In any event, welcome to one of the sillier dark punctuation points for humor on the net. And remember- anything you find in that search category has been fapped

            • Don't be Envious ( I had a user id in the 147K range that I lost in 2000 ). Get into the habit of citing sources, makes slashdot more educational for all of us. and yes, I am rather sure that all types of people have flapped to all sorts of things
              great example : car sex


            • I miss my lower ID number, but I can't remember the login password or even which email I set it up with originally.
          • I did not know that Tentacle Porn even existed... so i did a google search ...

            Enjoy your new nightmares.

      • That would be the NSA..and DHS...and CIA...and ATF.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Turns out it was a bit like those silly hacker in-jokes that end up in open source names and logos.

      • Re: Hail Hydra (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Exactly, it was a joke on the engineering team about a malfunctioning octopus harness.

        Everybody came up with some BS reason for the octopus as the "official" explanation (majestic intellIgent animal, etc), but it's all basically an inside joke.

        • Never mind how you feel about the mission itself, just think of all the man-hours wasted doing the paperwork for a logo on the side of a rocket that is going to burn up in the atmosphere.

          And the cost of the design and execution of the artwork, the paint or decal or whatever it is.

          Then add more time for someone to redact a bunch of stuff to comply with the FIA request.
    • Re:Hail Hydra (Score:5, Informative)

      by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Wednesday January 20, 2016 @11:27PM (#51341609)

      Hydras are supposed to have lots of heads on one body. Not one head on one body with lots of arms.

      Stupid secret Hydra organization. That's why you keep getting beaten.

    • The article mentions SPECTRE the James Bond villain organization, though I to couldn't help thinking of the hydra logo first...

    • I think it came from the psychology of having a sense that all of the surveillence capabilities would probably be frowned upon if it ever went public. The next choice was likely C'thulu, but they went with the squid swallowing Earth instead. I remember seeing this on the Daily Show and going, "So the government can now measure individual methane contribution to global warming." Data is beautiful.
  • Hydra!

  • I like it (Score:5, Funny)

    by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2016 @11:15PM (#51341557)
    It's something you can really wrap your arms around.
  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Wednesday January 20, 2016 @11:19PM (#51341575)

    I'd love to have that on a sticker on my laptop or a patch on my punk rock hoodie.

  • Good. It always helps to put some good, healthy fear into the enemy.

    • Good. It always helps to put some good, healthy fear into the enemy.

      With us US citizens being the enemy, I guess...

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        With us US citizens being the enemy, I guess...

        You guess wrong. (That's the NSA. The NRO is just satellites.)

        • You guess wrong. (That's the NSA. The NRO is just satellites.)

          It's adorable how people think that only one agency is involved with mass internet & telecom surveillance.

          The NRO has a budget comparable to the NSA and they have already been caught hiding billions of dollars of their budget for undeclared purposes.

          Oh yeah, and the NRO sends people to DEFCON.

          • by Nutria ( 679911 )

            It's adorable how people think that ...

            satellites are somehow useful in tapping fiber optic cables.

            • It's adorable how people think that ...

              satellites are somehow useful in tapping fiber optic cables.

              Yes. They have nothing but satellites at NRO facilities. Satellites and satellite dishes. No computers or telecommunications equipment whatsoever. The eggheads deep in their secret underground bases haven't even heard of fibre optics yet. Our intelligence community is rigidly segmented with absolutely no overlapping activities or duties whatsoever, conducted in complete transparency and cooperation, definitely with no dark projects whatsoever being funded by $1.5+ billion that the CIA noticed the NRO was

              • NRO takes pictures using satellites. .

                • If that's all they do (as some people are claiming), why the budget shenanigans and why send people to DEF CON?

                  There's no reason to suspect the NRO would not engage in any sort of internet surveillance. The FBI does, the NSA does, the CIA does... why would you assume that the NRO does not?
                  • You've asked essentially the same questions in the other thread where I've answered them.

                    I will add this: I don't think you are reallly thinking about this, or know enough to ask good questions.

                    You really can't think of why NSA, CIA, and FBI would be naturals to engage in internet surveillance at varying levels, but the NRO which puts very expensive satellites into orbit around the earth to take pictures is "somehow" different than the others? Expensive? Orbit in space? Do you think that is connected wi

                    • See my reply to your other post. The NRO is publicly known for doing RF signal analysis using terrestrial equipment. If you cannot see how this would obviously dovetail with being able to conduct internet surveillance or remote exploits... I would say you are the one who is "not really thinking about this."

                      The NSA and NRO both predate the internet. The NSA expanded its role to include internet surveillance. The NRO obviously did the same, but it doesn't appear to be as widely known or admitted to the
          • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
            Yes the budget of the NRO was very large. One of the few historic hints was in a 1998 Naval Research Laboratory 75th Anniversary Event
            ""When the American government eventually reveals the [full range of] reconnaissance systems developed by this nation, the public will learn of space achievements every bit as impressive as the Apollo Moon landings. One program proceeded in utmost secrecy, the other on national television. One steadied the resolve of the American public;
            • I'm always impressed with thinking like that. If they're so smart, how come they've made so many intel mistakes over the years? At this point, it should be more like
              'no sparrow shall fall' ... excuse me, there is someone at the door.

              • Being involved in classified (and possibly off the books) Internet surveillance is not the same thing as being infallible geniuses with black van driving assassins. Recognizing that what the intelligence community has openly admitted is just the tip of the iceberg in no way means that they are utterly without incompetence... merely that not many people wish to take risks like Snowden to expose any more of the iceberg.

                The NSA was not created for internet surveillance. The internet did not exist when the
          • Oh yeah, and the NRO sends people to DEFCON.

            "Your bullshit octopus is really sending me to DEFCON, Jerry! My anger is at DEFCON 2 right now and if you don't have a serious patch design on my desk by the end of the day, I'm gonna go to DEFCON 1 and nuke your chances of not working the weekend."

    • It always helps to put some good, healthy fear into the enemy.

      Any enemy intimidated by a drawing of a cartoon octopus is unlikely to be dangerous to begin with. Meanwhile, letting an organization - especially one that's by nature difficult to oversee - get used to mocking the idea that they might be the villains makes it easier to ignore any such accusations even when they're warranted, thus making it easier for them to go bad. So there's little if any benefit and a significant risk, thus this octopus does

  • Only one thing could have made it better than it already is, http://vignette3.wikia.nocooki... []
  • I'm sure we'll get to this soon:,Badges/BADG-369.JPG

  • SO, perhaps there is a person, or small clique, who feels that things are out of control. They may have obligations which prevent them from quiting or believe in their mission but not the execution of it. So they create these images, or acronyms, codenames (Carnivore?) etc., to sound the alarm bell but to stay innocuous.

    That's just a thought.

  • This? []

    specifically, when a side solar panel is not installed, the C3038 Octopus harness must be connected.

    It's not like this news is new anyways []. It took me about a whole minute to find these.

    It's not like I should expect much better.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Thursday January 21, 2016 @12:25AM (#51341835)

    The two paragraph statement written by some drone to justify the selection of the octopus as a logo is priceless. It reads like something a Grade 6 kid would put down when they get their first hundred-word research assignment.

    • I especially like the quip about the exclamation marks.

      It reminds me of a Flight of the Conchords episode.

      Greg: Murray?
      Murray: Yeah.
      Greg: Uh, I wanted you to okay the new subway poster.
      Murray: Oh wow, Greg. What about another exclamation mark?
      Greg: I don't think that's necessary.
      Murray: Not necessary, no.
      Greg: That's good.

  • Many of the patches have Latin mottos. How come there are so many people who are familiar with Latin at the government agency that is responsible for all those secret spy satellites?

    Maybe it's a conspiracy! Perhaps the NRO is a cover for the Illuminati. Or is it something far far worse?

  • There is a new King of U.S. govt logos.

  • It has no spine, is full of suckers, and is best when it's deep-fried.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think they're just mad they don't have as cool a logo.

    Coming up with new logos and slogans and other stuff is important for group morale at any job.

    Yes, they're launching a spy satellite to spy on other people in the world. An Octopus grappling with the planet is apt. Plus it looks slick.

    • Second Nazi: Have you noticed that our caps actually have little pictures of skulls on them?
    • Hans: I don't... er-
    • Second Nazi: Hans... are we the baddies?

    http://thatmitchellandwebb.wik... []

  • It was intended to represent exactly what you think it does.
  • Seriously, it might be a bit sinister, but it really says what nro does. They do get everywhere and sees what is happening.
  • The NRO has come out as criminal like the rest of the US alphabet soup.

    What is even remotely surprising about them being criminals like the CIA, NSA, and every other TLA you can think of?

    Impressive that this rather cool badge actually admits it though...

  • One, as it notes in the article, it's also the logo of SPECTRE.

    The other... there's an attitude among folks of a certain, ahh, bent. They want to be the BADDEST DUDES.

    The earliest example that I read about was during 'Nam. Lord of the Rings had, by the late sixties, been translated into 27? 57? languages... including Vietnamese. So, one division, I think it was, of the "South Vietnamese" army took as its logo... the Lidless Eye of Sauron.

    Right, and against them, little guys in black pj's, with furry feet, n

  • From the article: "The NROL-39 Octopus symbolizes the resourcefulness, adaptability, and perseverance of this mission". Just like the old saying: "Resourceful as an octopus".
  • for scandalous and funny nose art (on bombers especially). And outrageous military patches.

    This one is great, and I think the whole issue is funnier than hell. I'm glad the background information has been released.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner