Kenya, Bombing of United States Embassy

Rescue workers pull an injured man from the ruins of a neighboring building after a powerful blast detonated next to the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998.

KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti, USSR Committee of State Security)

The KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti or Committee of State Security) was the preeminent Soviet intelligence agency and Soviet equivalent of the American CIA. The KGB was the primary organization for intelligence and counterintelligence matters during the later Soviet period.

Khobar Towers Bombing Incident

On June 25, 1996, a truck laden with explosives ignited in front of the Khobar Towers apartment building in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The resulting explosion killed 19 American servicemen and wounded hundreds more.


Knives come in all shapes and sizes, but for many of the purposes for which an undercover operative might need one, small is preferred; hence, the plethora of diminutive edge weapons available to persons working covert operations for a well-supplied organization such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Knives may be used for escape and related applications such as lock-picking, or—more infamously—to inflict personal harm.

Korean War

Although it is often described as the "forgotten war," the conflict in Korea cost some 3 million lives over the course of three years, and helped set the tone for the larger Cold War. Both an international and a national conflict, the Korean War demonstrated the strengths and limitations of the United Nations (UN), and established the framework for the policy of containment that would lead the United States into the much longer conflict in Vietnam.

Kosovo, NATO Intervention

Operation Allied Force, the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) action in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo in 1999, marked the first time the organization actually undertook a large-scale troop mobilization. Sparked by genocidal acts on the part of the Serb-dominated Yugoslavian government against ethnic Albanians, the 78-day operation was launched on March 24, 1999.

Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM)

Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) favors the over-throw of the Mahathir government and the creation of an Islamic state comprising Malaysia, Indonesia, and the southern Philippines. Malaysian authorities believe that smaller, more violent, extremist groups have split from KMM.

Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)

Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was founded in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group primarily composed of Turkish Kurds. The group's goal has been to establish an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, where the population is predominantly Kurdish.

Kuwait Oil Fires, Persian Gulf War

When Iraqi troops withdrew from Kuwait at the end of the Persian Gulf War in early 1991, they set fire to more than 600 oil wells and pools of spilled oil in Kuwait, a parting shot that exacted a significant economic toll on the country's lucrative petroleum industry.

Language Training and Skills

Language skills are critical to the performance of intelligence, diplomatic, and military duties of many types, both inside the United States and overseas. In this regard, the historic world dominance of English-speaking nations—first the British Empire in the nineteenth century, then the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—has proven a mixed blessing.


"Laser" is an acronym for lightwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Lasers exploit the fact that electrons in atoms' outer orbitals can move between energy levels.

Laser Listening Devices

Laser listening devices—sometimes termed laser-bounce listening devices—are remote-eavesdropping systems that do not require the placement of a microphone or bug in the space to be monitored. Instead, they measure changes in light reflected from some surface (usually a window) that is made to vibrate by sound waves in the monitored space.

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) (Army of the Righteous)

The Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) (Army of the Righteous) is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI), a Sunni anti-U.S. missionary organization formed in 1989.

Law Enforcement, Responses to Terrorism

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, constituted a watershed event in American history, particularly for law enforcement. In the aftermath of that event, the nation's principal law enforcement officer, the attorney general, introduced new measures designed to prevent and combat terrorism, while the leading U.S.

Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), United States Federal

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) is an organization, rather than a single facility, dedicated to training personnel from some 75 federal law-enforcement agencies. In addition, it provides training to personnel from state, local, and international agencies, and to those from federal agencies not immediately tasked with law enforcement duties.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL)

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), located near the University of California Berkeley campus, is operated by the University of California for the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), located near the University of California Berkeley campus, is operated by the University of California for the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

League of Nations

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson declared that the nation's intention was to fight in the final war to ensure the survival and strength of democracy in the Western world. After the war, Wilson encouraged the victorious Allied powers to establish an international organization that would mediate conflict through diplomacy and promote peace.

Lebanon, Bombing of U.S. Embassy and Marine Barracks

On two occasions in 1983, terrorists bombed United States targets in Beirut, Lebanon. The first target, on April 18, was the U.S.

Less-Lethal Weapons Technology

Less-lethal weapons are tools and techniques designed for riot control and other security functions with the intention of neutralizing hostile activity without killing or causing permanent bodily harm. Varieties of less-lethal weapons technology range from batons and beanbag rounds (non-lethal bullets fired from an ordinary or modified rifle or shotgun) to electric Tasers, pepper spray and tear gas, and equipment that emits loud noises, bright lights, or even bad smells.

L-Gel Decontamination Reagent

L-Gel is a coating that was developed at Lawrence Liver-more National Laboratory (LLNL) in Berkeley, California.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the World Tamil Association (WTA), World Tamil Movement (WTM), the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT), the Ellalan Force, and the Sangilian Force, was founded in 1976. LTTE is the most powerful Tamil group in Sri Lanka and uses overt and illegal methods to raise funds, acquire weapons, and publicize its cause of establishing an independent Tamil state.

Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS), United States National Commission on

The membership of the commission consists of the Librarian of Congress and fourteen other members who serve five-year terms. Five members of the commission are required to be professional librarians or information science specialists.

Libya, Intelligence and Security

Libya, under the leadership of Colonel Muamar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi, espouses a political theory that combines elements of socialism and fundamentalist Islamic law. Qadafi promoted his political system, which he dubbed the Third International, by a series of military incursions into neighboring Chad and sponsoring anti-capitalist terrorist organizations.

Libya, U.S. Attack (1986)

The United States air assault on Libya in April 1986 marked the first major American military response to modern terrorism. The immediate cause was a terrorist bombing in West Berlin ten days earlier, an incident to which U.S.

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)

LIDAR is an active remote sensing system that allows exceptionally accurate and rapid determination of terrain and structural features (e.g. height).


Lock-picking is an ability possessed primarily by locksmiths and by persons involved in intelligence or detective work for which secrecy is a necessity. Requiring a high degree of reasoning power and mechanical dexterity, lock-picking even has its amateur enthusiasts who simply enjoy the challenge.

Locks and Keys

Locks can be either mechanical or electronic, the latter being a modern variation for which a specific numeric code is required to release the locking mechanism. Much more common is a mechanical lock, opened by purely physical means.

Looking Glass

Looking Glass is the nickname for the Airborne Command Post, which was implemented by the U.S. Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the Cold War to ensure that operations would continue in the event that the primary strategic command centers were rendered unusable.

Lord Haw-Haw

Lord Haw-Haw was the nickname of Nazi propagandist and broadcaster William Joyce. During World War II, Joyce broadcast a well-known English-language propaganda show from Berlin, often taunting Allied forces.