I've encountered this expression on the book "UNIX: A History and a Memoir".

One day I was scheduled to do a demo for William Colby, who at the time was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and thus clearly an important person. He too would be accompanied by Bill Baker, who as head of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board had serious spook credentials of his own.

I searched it on the web and got some results from English websites, but no proper explanation anywhere. There wasn't any usage on my local language web sites.

Could someone explain the meaning and general usage of the expression?

  • 2
    He too was a high-ranking member of the intelligence fraternity. Commented May 9, 2020 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


'Spook' (an informal word for a ghost or spirit) is also a mainly US English slang word for a spy, secret agent, etc. To have credentials in something means to have qualifications, experience or knowledge in that field. Both named men were members of the US government intelligence community.

spook noun [C] (PERSON) slang


Spook (Cambridge Dictionary)


noun [ plural ] abilities and experience that make someone suitable for a particular job or activity:

business/educational/professional credentials

He is keen for people to know his business credentials.

Credentials (Cambridge Dictionary)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.