— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian) December 5, 2013
The US National Reconnaissance Office launched a top-secret surveillance satellite into space Thursday evening, and the official emblem for the spy agency’s latest mission is, well, certainly accurate, to say the least.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence live-tweeted Thursday’s launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and throughout the course of the ordeal made no effort to ignore the logo for the NROL-39 mission.
The latest spy satellite to be sent into orbit by the NRO can be recognized by its seal: a malevolent octopus with furrowed brows that also happens to be wrapping its tentacles around all corners of the Earth.
“Nothing is beyond our reach,” the NRO boasts on the bottom half of the emblem just below the most sinister-looking cephalopod likely ever to be sent into space.
Along with the National Security Agency and more than a dozen others, the NRO is one of 16 federal offices under the directive of DNI James Clapper and is responsible for building and operating the spy satellites used to collect intelligence around the world.
ODNI says the satellite’s payload is mostly classified, but did admit over Twitter that around a dozen mini satellites funded by both the NRO and NASA will be brought along to orbit as well.
According to a top-secret budget document released by whistleblower Edward Snowden and first reported on in August, the NRO is in the midst of modernizing their signals intelligence, geospatial and communications system to replace current capabilities.
Looking at the NROL-39 logo, people could be forgiven for mistaking it for a version of the Lovecraftian elder god Cthulhu, who wants to swallow the Earth whole. But that is not the only National Reconnaissance Office emblem with an interesting spin on the space-spying theme: others include Masonic motifs, superhero ones and a few more that, frankly, defy easy classification.
— Office of the DNI (@ODNIgov) December 6, 2013
UPDATE 09/10/2014 How the NROL-39 Octopus Logo was Created via Runa Sandvik