Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Document Page Count: 
Document Release Date: 
July 30, 2014
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
April 1, 1994
PDF icon DOC_0000622789.pdf258.32 KB
TITLE:AUTHOR: Carol WillettVOLUME:Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789More PAR Bloopers(b)(3)(c)38 ISSUE: Spring YEAR: 1994Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789 d for Release. 2014/07/29 000622789?'STUDIES ININTELLIGENCEA collection of articles on the historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects of intelligence.All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence are those ofthe authors. They do not necessarily reflect official positions or views of the CentralIntelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in thecontents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of anarticle's factual statements and interpretations.Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789Language abuseMore PAR BloopersCarol Willett(b)(3)(c)From time to time the challenge of crafting timely, accu-rate, and persuasive performance appraisal reports(PAR) strains the skills of the most dedicated andthoughtful manager The malaproprisms, creative mis-spellings, and mixed metaphors that occasionally resultcause both confusion and amusement in centralizedDirectorate of Operations (DO) evaluation and promo-tion panels. The following excerpts, selected by 1993panels, illustrate why English is often cited as a diffi-cult language. Excerpts are grouped according to thepanel response they elicited. Our observations are inparentheses.I Beg Your Pardon?"X accompanies a majority of meetings the raterattends...." (Does X play banjo or piano when accom-panying?)"We cannot miss a beat in this office." (It throws off theaforementioned banjo player.)"Complimentary to his employee grooming...." (Noth-ing like making sure that your employees are wellcoifed, and well complemented.)"She immediately tightened her belt and effectively per-formed her duties and those of her subordinates." (ASpecial Achievement Award for a two-for-one-bloopersentence.)"X is competent in the completion of memorandaresponsive to requests when the results are negative andthose which are so vague that it is impossible to conducta reasonable search." (Translation: "Sorry, we have noidea what you want.")The initial article on this subject, "Writing Below PAR," appeared in thefall 1991 edition of Studies in Intelligence.97Confidential  "...tomorrow is often a luxury." (Don't tell the IRS.They'll try to tax it.)"...during the terrible rotational cycle of 1992...."(Right up there with the blizzard of '88, the flood of '93,and the Mets of '62.)"The fire in the gut has not always been obvious."(Another satisfied Maalox customer.)I Don't Think That Word Means What YouThink It Means"His erstwhile contribution and participation isexpected to continue." (Le mot juste.)"She possesses good intrapersonal skills." (Talks to her-self; gets polite answers.)"X tackles new assignments willingly." (OK, X, yourush the quarterback; I'll cover the receivers.)"One of subject's most attributable assets...." (Theemployee's other assets are not his own.)(b)(1)(b)(3)(n)"X has demonstrated the capability to perform complextasks in a qualitative manner." (Written by an econo-mist!)"Can be called upon on a real-time basis." (Comeswhen called.)"X worked concomitantly with OGC...." (The onlyway to work with OGC.)Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789Confidential Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789"Subject prepared poignant talking points." (Tell yourasset her eyes are like limpid pools.)"...has an uncanny precognitive response." (Like a pre-ventive reaction strike?)Is This a Biological Thing?"Due to his height, this man should probably be directedalong liaison lines or staffwork." (Over 6 feet or under4 feet?)"He involves himself athletically in Base and localactivities." (Physical conditioning is a must.)"All said and done, Subject-is human." (What a relief!We thought he might be an alien.)"He needs to get the operational chrysallis out of thepolitical cocoon it is in." (A tricky metamorphosis.)"He is endowed with a certain lethal gentleness." (Andshe has a certain gentle lethality?)"He supervises one part-time wife." (If the service hadwanted you to have a wife, they would have issued youone.)"He has a numbleness of mind and spirit." (He canimagine jumping over a candle?)"He needs to develop a sense of looking more at thehorizon at the front than checking back to see how wellhe is covered to the rear." (Sounds like this one hasexecutive potential.)Yes, But What Did They Actually Do?"X demonstrated an extraordinarily high learningcurve." (Did he go ballistic?)"Subject encouraged and enjoyed a steady stream of vis-itors to her office, including political officers, DEAofficers, military attaches, visiting analysts, and lessermortals." (Such as? Oh, well, at least she enjoyedthem.)Bloopers"She has served in a position of furnishing continuouscontinuity to this base." (Without a break?)"Subject projects the image of a highly intelligent andprofessional officer." (Isn't, but projects a great image.)"Policymakers were indeed literally hanging on her verywords, creating constant, extreme pressures." (Hangingis, after all, a capital punishment.)"One of X's main attributes is that she has the self-con-fidence to question herself." (Self-debriefing, a greatparty trick.)"The highest compliment that can be paid to X...wasthat after her departure.. .the desk was ably handled by aCT." (OK, what's the second highest?)"He must keep his eye on the importance of constantlyturning over rocks, examining what might be worth-while underneath and, if there's not much, replacing therock and moving to the next one. He must learn to bean efficient hunter." (And the rater an efficient writer.)More Food Metaphors?"Eager to gain additional knowledge and experience, Xconsumed every piece of information shared by Y."(Thereby providing food for thought?)"Managers and employees were starving for her exper-tise." (Let's get her together with the previousemployee and start a food fight.)"Subject suffers from intellectual malnutrition." (Aloser in the last food fight.)"Can cut through garbage, get to the meat." (Neveraccept a dinner invitation from this officer.)98Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789BloopersHeadquarters Versus the Field"X, who characterizes himself as 'not having a naturalwarmth for people' and as 'having difficulty communi-cating,' has a realistic and effective way of conveyinghis concepts." (In other words, X knows he's a jerk,you know he's a jerk, and he tells you anyway.)"One recent returnee, a senior officer fresh from severaldays of Headquarters briefings, commented that Sub-ject's briefing was the only substantive conversationhe'd had since returning to Headquarters." (Don't com-plain, buddy. Imagine what it's like to work with thesepeople every day!)"The Headquarters-Field relationship is the lifeblood ofthe DO and Subjecesrrole in the program was the oxy-gen that provided the fuel and energy." (Calling Dr.Kildare.)"...not just another Headquarters Department ofObfuscation...." (But THE Headquarters Department ofObfuscation.)Cliche Count!" noticeable weaknesses." (Or has kept them hid-den so far.)"...tenacity of a bulldog." (Doesn't know when it's timeto let go.)"...fulfills every manager's dream." (Mine is a Ferrari.Can this employee get me one?)"...without belaboring a cliche...." (Don't worry, it'salready been done.)"Proverbial quick study." (Call Aesop! I can't remem-ber that proverb!)English is a Difficult Language!"X is able to identify problems and successfully com-plete them in its entirety." (Did the writer lose interestin the sentence?)99"...imminently capable of providing this important func-tion." (Eminently, too.)"X has done an excellent good job." (Not just fair tomiddling, mind You.)"...exceptionally unique." (Writer is taking PAR-writ-ing lessons from the previous rater.)"...a very important necessity." (Glad to see we haveanother student in that class.)"It was immediately clear when foreign hands werefound in the World Trade Center bombing...." (Musthave been messy.)"...demonstrated unmitigated excellence...." (The resthave been mitigating their excellence, and I want itstopped, pronto!)"...showed excellent understanding of the English-lan-guage." (Glad somebody here does. But what's thathyphen for?)"X found his self alone." (Without no help?)"Seldom has such a large accomplishment fit into a sin-gle PAR paragraph." (For my next writing trick....)"I'll-do-as-I'm-told-so-I-can-get-back-overseas trap."(Winner of the adjective of the year award, but don't letthis rater near any more hyphens.)Metaphorically Speaking"...provided oral briefs...." (I prefer Haynes.)"...quintessential diamond in the rough...." (Transla-tion: hard to work with.)"...making sure that the release of DO information doesnot result in an unmanageable mosaic." (Annals ofFlowerey Prose, Round I.)Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789?erinfitterrttai? Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789COnfiLlential"He takes more time than most of his peers to travelfrom Key Building to Headquarters to communityfacilities...." (Get this guy a horse! A map! Some-thing!)"...standing astride the divide between ops and analysisand pitching and catching with both hands...." (Quick,call the Orioles!)"X could squeeze traces out of a rock!" (Concealmentdevices get more and more clever.)"X is the spark plug which fires the DCO engine." (Onall six cylinders?)"This PAR is an effort to take the bushel basket awayfrom X's 'light." (Words fail us. And failed the rater,too.)Spell Check!"...heroine trafficking...." (Low bidder on the spellchecker.)"...cudo...." (...I'll hit him with my thesauru. Kudos isnot plural.)"X has undergone a complete metamorphous...."(Back to caterpillers again.)"...completed her 3 year trail period...." (Presumablysomewhere out in the field.)"...speedy editorial finalizing...." (Glad she wasn't in ahurry to get it done.)"...subject's communications abilities...and...technicalfine points...." (The gift that keeps on giving.).more felictious in style." (Never met a style prob-lem she couldn't lick.)"Never requires editing for...grammer/spelling."(Maybe we can still get our money back on the spellchecker.)"Beyond the cope of her assigned duties...." (Such asproofreading?)CunfidentialBloopers"...expresses herself verbally with equal flare andease." (Quite a flashy speaker.)Anchors Aweigh!"X enthusiastically immersed himself...." (Splash!Cat S overboard!)"...pulling her oar...." (A failed attempt to rescue theperson above.)"She has sailed uncharted waters in a nontraditionalboat without hitting any rocks." (Woman on board!)"...was thrown in at the deep end and performed swim-mingly." ("There's a whale in the bathtub," said Tomsuperficially.)"X dived in with both feet." (Straight 6s work on PARshere, but not at the Olympics.)"...showed persistence and tack." (By fishing in trou-bled waters.)What Is Going On Here?"You are welcome to rotate with us any time." (We goaround in bureaucratic circles.)"X is the third or fourth largest DO station in theworld." (Depending upon whether everyone shows upfor work on the day we count noses.)"X had the misfortune of arriving at perhaps the worstperiod in station's history: its physical destruction."(Of course, there was that one really bad hair day lastweek.)"I was impressed, several months ago, with how quicklyX understood what I was saying at a briefing." (I mum-ble a lot.)"She followed the instructions perfectly, as I knew shewould?except for the yelling." (She's still learning toyell.)100Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789 Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789Bloopers"...she has spread her mantle of efficiency over him aswell." (Leaving us all gasping for air.)"This individual was assassinated before Subject's opsinitiatives could be implemented." (If only Subject hadmet her deadline with that target study!")"Subject is also very thorough in the execution." (Justtell that to the officer above!)"...extensive network of contacts within the outside ofthe Directorate...." (Is this person going up the downstaircase?)"...with...development...of a unilateral surveillanceteam running close behind." (The team is training forthe Olympics.)"Laziness and greed began to pose handling prob-lems." (Another great vaudeville team.)"She takes the time to proofread her work and theresults show." (Whiteout all over the page.)"A CT.. .who sincerely thought a sanitized memo hasto be first boiled to remove fingerprints." (We do thatonly to get the whiteout off.)Math Check!"X ran 264 traces, three times more than the 145 she ranlast year." (OK, if I have three apples and give youone...)"The newly formed 9-person X branch.. .tripled insize.. .at one point numbering 23 people" (Must benew math.)"...On 38 occasions, X displayed a high degree of tactand diplomacy." (As for the other 98,239 occasions...)"Although X is only 11 days past the 120 day rule forwriting a PAR, it is my pleasure to report that her per-formance has continued in the same manner as reportedin her previous PAR." (Sets a standard by which allnonsequiturs will be evaluated.)101-Confidential-"...numberous experts in the cue...." (Sounds like ajob for a mathematician.)Call the IG."...exercisipg an increasingly firm grip on her IS-3reports secretary." (You're choking me!)"...(our office) recognized his talents and capabilitiesby awarding him several EPAs. While these areawarded on a fairly regular basis throughout theDO...." (Hey, it keeps him happy...)"Ms. Subject's...." (well, it may be politically correct.)"Mr. Subject." (Apparently the spouse/brother of Ms.Subject.)Please, Don't Say It Again!"Which brings me to a point that I simply cannot over-emphasize." (But watch me. These are not idle words.)"As I have stated over and over, but feel it is worthrepeating...." (Would you mind saying that again?)"...leaving me with little to add." (The reviewer thenwent on for 1 1/2 pages.)"She exhibits no weaknesses which require improve-ment." (They're strong weaknesses in their own right.)Pointing Out the Obvious"...her job changed and evolved during her tour." (Evo-lution without change. What a concept!)"For the record, in this Rater's 31 years with the Agencyas a Category B officer, he has written only three overall7 PARs." (This was not one of them, but thanks for set-ting the record straight.)Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789-GeFtfielentiel? Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789 IflidI Bloopers"Tedious it is, but it is the only way." (The Tao ofTedium.)"She has the potential to be rated higher, dependingupon her future performance." (How do YOU spell"tautology"?)"...on arrival here, X's duties were new to him."(A surprise party? You shouldn't have!)This article is CONFIDENTIALConfidcntial  102Approved for Release: 2014/07/29 000622789