Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Visa Donkey Chipmunk...

...apparently had to do with Soviets applying for exchange visas to the United States. Who knew! Anyone know why cables for the educational exchange officers in Moscow had “Visa Donkey Chipmunk” in the subject line? Is this still the same in Moscow?

I picked up this interesting international educational exchange factoid from the December 28, 2009 U.S. State Department “On-the-Record Briefing” when Ian Kelly, Department Spokesman, was answering questions about Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab (individual who attempted to bring down a Delta Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25th) and the VISA VIPER cable issued by The United States Embassy in Abuja (Nigeria). You can read the entire press conference here but I have copied and pasted the relevant part of the Q&A that mentions “Visas Donkey Chipmunk” cables below:

QUESTION: What does VISAS VIPER mean? Is that some slick acronym?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, it’s not an acronym, no. It’s – I remember when I was in Moscow, they – it’s just a – it’s a tradition in the State Department. I was in Moscow and I was the educational exchanges officer, and I would get cables that were – the subject line was “Visas Donkey Chipmunk,” and it had to do with Soviets applying for exchange visas.

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