This CIA Cable About A Hot Dog Vending Machine Went Viral On Internal Agency Email

University of Pennsylvania Sociologist Dr. Bridget Nolan
recently published her dissertationon the U.S. Intelligence Community, and it contains all sorts of interesting inside info on America’s sophisticated (some say bloated) intelligence apparatus.

One of the odder tidbits was the story about an official CIA cable satirically describing a hot dog vending machine in the basement of the Old Headquarters Building (OHB) at CIA. The cable even went so far as to somewhat sexually describe how two robots in the machine “agitated” the hot dog.

Of course, the cable went viral inside the Agency.

“Someone adapted the language of cables to describe this hot dog vending machine,” writes Nolan, “and other analysts found it so funny that it still was making the email rounds years after it was written.”

Here is the cable:

OBSERVATIONS OF OHB HOT DOG MACHINE

1. LOCATION: OHB APPROX. GF45 NEAR THE ELEVATORS AND GREEN

JACKET HIVE

2. APPEARANCE: STANDARD VENDING MACHINE APPEARANCE WITH

THE WORDS OSCAR MAYER AND A LARGE WIENER FEATURED ON

FRONT.

A. ALSO INCLUDES OBSERVATION WINDOW

3. FEATURES: CHOICE OF 3 WIENERS, STANDARD BUN

A. OSCAR MAYER WIENER

B. SOME GERMAN THING

C. PREMIUM WIENER WITH CHEESE CORE

4. COST:

A. OSCAR MAYER $US2.00

B. THE GERMAN $US2.50

C. PREMIUM CHEESE CORE $US3.00

5. EXTRAS: KETCHUP, MUSTARD PACKETS FOR MANUAL ASSEMBLY. NO RELISH

6. OPERATION: THE HOTDOG VENDING MACHINE APPEARED TO

OPERATE CORRECTLY SERVING A WARM WIENER ASSEMBLED WITH A

MOIST, SLIGHTLY HEATED BUN. MULTIPLE ROBOTIC MECHANISMS

WERE OBSERVED THROUGH THE OBSERVATION WINDOW. ROBOT 1

CAPTURED SELECTED WIENER (OSCAR MAYER) FROM THE WIENER BAY

AND POSITIONED WIENER IN FRONT OF ROBOT 2. ROBOT 2 WAS

LABELLED WITH MANY HAZARD INDICATORS SUGGESTING IT TO HAVE A

HEATING FUNCTION (FIELD COMMENT: HEATING COULD BE POWERED

BY LASERS). ROBOT 2 THEN OPENED ITS PORT TO RECEIVE THE

WIENER. ROBOT 1 THEN INSERTED THE WIENER INTO ROBOT 2 FOR

HEATING. ROBOT 1 THEN PROCEEDED TO AGITATE THE WIENER IN AND

OUT OF ROBOT 2 UNTIL DONE — PRESUMABLY WHEN WIENER HAD

PLUMPED. ROBOT 1 THEN ASSEMBLED WIENER WITH A WARM BUN

(NFI) APPEARING TO REST IN A ROBOT 3. ROBOT 3 THEN DELIVERED

ASSEMBLED HOTDOG THROUGH THE SERVING PORT.

7. TASTE: WIENER HAD INDEED PLUMPED — CHARACTERISTIC SPLITTING

OF WIENER WAS OBSERVED. WIENER WAS THOROUGHLY COOKED AND

WARM TO THE CENTER. BUN REMAINED COOLER AND HAD NOT

BECOME SOGGY. QUALITY EQUALED THAT OF AVERAGE BALL PARK.

Nolan gets into many subjects (not just hot dogs) throughout her paper — internal language, jokes, how information is shared, and what an average day looks like for an analyst — so we encourage everyone to read it.

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