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The NSA Used To Have A Clown Club And It Was As Weird As It Sounds

This is real. This happened.

Posted on December 15, 2014, at 5:53 p.m. ET

In addition to being the U.S. military's electronic listening post, the National Security Agency also publishes something called the "Cryptologic Almanac," an academic journal of code-breaking.

Handout . / Reuters / Reuters

An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Aside from articles on the work of the NSA, the journal also posts some slightly...weirder bits of history. Like this one, released in 2011 about "Uncle Ned."


Who was "Uncle Ned," you ask? Well, he was a clown. A literal, face-paint wearing clown.

20th Century Fox Television / Via

Here's the unclassified version of the story, as told by the NSA.

Castle Rock Entertainment / Via

Wait. "Clown club"?!

Warner Bros. Television / Via

That's right, there was a whole troupe of clowns at the NSA, until they "disbanded at some unknown date."


You also read right. As late as 2002, "Snaggs" the Clown still worked for the NSA.

Ivan Alvarado / Reuters

This is actually a Chilean man demanding labor reform during a protest earlier this year, but is how we imagine Snaggs the clown to look.

The NSA did not immediatly return BuzzFeed News' request for comment on whether Snaggs still works there to this day. Watching. Waiting.


HT Dave Maass

Dave Maass, whose tweet first alerted BuzzFeed News to the former clown cabal, points out that there were at one time as many as eighteen members of the makeup-crusted mafia. EIGHTEEN.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.