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Answering Questions About Your Employment
(From the NSA Handbook)

Certainly, you may tell your family and friends that you are employed at or assigned to the National Security Agency. There is no valid reason to deny them this information. However, you may not disclose to them any information concerning specific aspects of the Agency's mission, activities, and organization. You should also ask them not to publicize your association with NSA.

Should strangers or casual acquaintances question you about your place of employment, an appropriate reply would be that you work for the Department of Defense. If questioned further as to where you are employed within the Department of Defense, you may reply, "NSA." When you inform someone that you work for NSA (or the Department of Defense) you may expect that the next question will be, "What do you do?" It is a good idea to anticipate this question and to formulate an appropriate answer. Do not act mysteriously about your employment, as that would only succeed in drawing more attention to yourself.

If you are employed as a secretary, engineer, computer scientist, or in a clerical, administrative, technical, or other capacity identifiable by a general title which in no way indicates how your talents are being applied to the mission of the Agency, it is suggested that you state this general title. If you are employed as a linguist, you may say that you are a linguist, if necessary. However, you should not indicate the specific language(s) with which you are involved.

The use of service specialty titles which tend to suggest or reveal the nature of the Agency's mission or specific aspects of their work. These professional titles, such as cryptanalyst, signals collection officer, and intelligence research analyst, if given verbatim to an outsider, would likely generate further questions which may touch upon the classified aspects of your work. Therefore, in conversation with outsiders, it is suggested that such job titles be generalized. For example, you might indicate that you are a "research analyst." You may not, however, discuss the specific nature of your analytic work.

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