At a time when the entire U.S. surveillance community is under fire for snooping on everybody’s private business, you might think a little rebranding is in order. Something lovable and non-threatening – something cute and cuddly, like Whiskers the NSA Kitten. That could win people over, right? How can you be against kittens? You can’t, is the answer.
So, is the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – the agency that oversees the NSA – going to revamp its image with adorable snugglebombs? Ha! Who do you think protects this country from the world’s most fearsome terrorists, six-year-old girls? Buzzfeed editors? The moderators of /r/aww? Get real, you pansy.
No – ODNI has a much better mascot in mind: A giant, world-eating octopus!
This is a real thing: On the side of a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spy satellite that launched on Thursday night, you’ll find the logo for NROL-39: an Earth-encompassing octopus along with the tagline “Nothing is beyond our reach.” Nothing!
In a statement given to Forbes’ Kashmir Hill, NRO spokeswoman Karen Furgerson defended the logo, saying “NROL-39 is represented by the octopus, a versatile, adaptive, and highly intelligent creature. Emblematically, enemies of the United States can be reached no matter where they choose to hide.” Furgerson added that the “Nothing is beyond our reach” line “defines our mission and the value it brings to our nation …”
The NROL-39 satellite is carrying a “classified payload,” Hill reports, so we can only imagine what this satellite will be used to do, specifically. But given all we now know about the NSA’s activities these days, one doesn’t need to strain too hard.
In addition to the giant octopus, NRO’s logo selection includes a bull, a dragon, a panther, a buffalo, and this: