Oops: Intelligence boss muffs 'rein' vs. 'reign'

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,CIA,National Security,Technology,James Clapper

Snickers are raining down on the director of national intelligence for his confusion over the apparently devilish “rein” versus “reign.”

In a Wednesday release announcing the departure of Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, DNI James R. Clapper said, “Since assuming the reigns in 2011, Matt and his leadership team have worked tirelessly to better integrate our counterterrorism community, successfully strengthening key partnerships across IC agencies and elements and with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.”

His team should have asked the CIA for spelling tips. That intelligence agency prides itself on details and even has a little-known style book that, on page 119, provides definitions:

Reign: To exercise sovereign power.

Rein: To guide, to control, to hold back.

The forward of the CIA’s “Style Manual & Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications,” approved for release Feb. 26, 2012, reads, “Good intelligence depends in large measure on clear, concise writing. The information the CIA gathers and the analysis it produces mean little if we cannot convey them effectively.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at