Thursday, December 17, 2015

Overview of 2015

In 2014 I was able to copy a lot of material from government archives in the US, UK, Finland and Germany. At the end of the year I was thinking that i had covered all of the important cases so there wouldn’t be much left to write about in 2015. However it seems I was wrong since I continued to find interesting information on various cases and I wrote some very interesting essays on WWII cryptology.

In January I wrote a review of ‘The imitation game’, received OSS telegram Bern-Washington No 2.181 from NARA’s FOIA office and corrected a mistake I had made in ‘German special intelligence, the M-138 strip cipher and unrest in India’.

In February I rewrote Intercepted conversations - Bell Labs A-3 Speech scrambler and German codebreakers, adding information from several sources, including the Bell Labs report ‘History of speech privacy systems’ and also added information in Italian codebreakers of WWII, mainly from the US report ‘Italian Communications Intelligence Organization’.

In March I completely rewrote Japanese codebreakers of WWII and even added decoded US diplomatic messages from 1941, found in the archive of the Diplomatic records Office, Tokyo (via JACAR-Japan Center for Asian Historical Records). I also linked to the ‘The Journal of Slavic Military Studies’ article ‘Once Again About the T-34’ by Boris Kavalerchik since it contained information that I had used in my essay WWII Myths - T-34 Best Tank of the war.

During this period my researchers in the US and UK copied several files and managed to locate interesting documents.

In June i wrote a detailed essay on the State Department cipher material transmitted to Japan from their military attaches in Germany and Finland. This pointed to a more serious compromise than has been acknowledged so far in US reports. I also added material from the Friedman collection in several of my essays.

In July I wrote The CIA’s assessment of the Yom Kippur War and continued to add material from the Friedman collection in my essays.

In August I wrote the very interesting essay Allied agents codes and Referat 12. This took a lot of work to get right!

In September I uploaded the TICOM report I-89 ‘Report by Prof Dr. H Rohrbach of Pers Z S on American strip cipher’ and a missing page from Special Research History SRH-366 'History of Army Strip Cipher devices'. This was material that I had requested from the NSA’s FOIA office in 2013. I also wrote a review of The triumph of Zygalski's sheets: the Polish Enigma in the early 1940 and a presentation of Encryptors and Radio Intelligence. Shield and Sword of Information World. After examining new sources I added material to WWII Myths - T-34 Best Tank of the war.

In October I continued adding information in WWII Myths - T-34 Best Tank of the war, this time from a Russian source and after a yearlong search I was able to find some of the telegrams mentioned in the bookHitler, the Allies, and the Jews.

Looking back I’m impressed with the essays I’ve written and all the material that I was able to collect. Apart from the files I got from my researchers, I benefited from the NSA’s release of the Friedman collection and of course I have to thank the people who gave me valuable information and/or files. I said it last year and I’ll say it again ‘η ισχύς εν τη ενώσει’.

Hopefully in 2016 more information on these cases will become available, as my freedom of information act requests are processed by the NSA. 

Monday, December 7, 2015


From the information available at this time it seems that, with one exception, messages enciphered with his systems were not read by the Axis powers……

Considering the information presented in report KV 2/1329 ‘Willy PIERT / Hans Von PESCATORE’I rewrote that part:

According to the postwar interrogations of German intelligence officers operating in Switzerland (2) in 1941 they were able to recruit a spy inside the US embassy in Bern. This person, named Fuerst, had access to the office of the US military attaché General Legge and he was able to take documents plus the used carbon paper and give it to the Germans.

The stolen reports revealed some of Legge’s sources and showed that he got information from his British, Polish and French counterparts. The used carbon paper also contained valuable information but it had to be examined by experts in Germany. The information uncovered from these sources was also used to decipher some of his messages.

The German spy was arrested in March 1942 but this doesn’t seem to have ended the compromise of General Legge’s communications. In the Finnish national archives, in collection T-21810/4, there are a few messages signed Legge from March and April ’43. The originals are from NARA, collection RG 319 'Records of the Army Staff'

Monday, November 23, 2015

Intelligence operations in Switzerland - Hans von Pescatore, Captain Choynacki and General Barnwell R. Legge

In WWII Poland fought on the side of the Allies and suffered for it since it was the first country occupied by Nazi Germany. In the period 1940-45 the Polish Government in Exile and its military forces contributed to the Allied cause by taking part in multiple campaigns of war. Polish pilots fought for the RAF during the Battle of Britain, Polish troops fought in N.Africa, Italy and Western Europe and the Polish intelligence service operated in occupied Europe and even had agents inside the German High Command. 

Although it is not widely known the Polish intelligence service had spy networks operating throughout Europe and the Middle East. The Poles established their own spy networks and also cooperated with foreign agencies such as Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service and Special Operations Executive, the American Office of Strategic Services and even the Japanese intelligence service. During the war the Poles supplied roughly 80.000 reports to the British intelligence services (1), including information on the German V-weapons (V-1 cruise missile and V-2 rocket) and reports from the German High Command (though the agent ‘Knopf) (2). In occupied France the intelligence department of the Polish Army’s General Staff organized several resistance/intelligence groups tasked not only with obtaining information on the German units but also  with evacuating Polish men so they could serve in the Armed Forces (3).

Compromise of Polish codes

Poland’s role in WWII is well known, especially the success of Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki during the 1930’s in solving the Enigma cipher machine, used by the German Armed forces. It is important to note that countries with large cryptologic staffs such as France and Britain had not managed to solve this device, in that time period.

Although the Poles were successful in the offence they neglected their defense. Their diplomatic, military attaché, resistance movement and intelligence service codes were read by the Germans during the war. Especially important for the Germans was the solution of the cipher used by Major Szczesny Choynacki, Polish deputy consul in Bern, Switzerland.

The telegrams of Major Choynacki

Choynacki regularly communicated with the Polish intelligence service in London and transmitted valuable reports from his agents/contacts in Switzerland and throughout occupied Europe. 

His cryptosystem consisted of an enciphered codebook. The codebook contained 4-figure groups and was enciphered with a version of the British Stencil Subtractor Frame. The codebreakers of the Signal Intelligence Agency of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces - OKW/Chi (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht/Chiffrier Abteilung) were able to solve this system in late 1942-early 1943 and from then on his voluminous traffic to London was continuously decoded (4).

Details about the content of these messages are available from the postwar interrogations of German intelligence officers, specifically Willy Piert and Hans Von Pescatore (5). They were both members of the German Legation in Bern and they conducted intelligence operations against the Allied agencies and even the Swiss IS.

The decoded messages revealed that Choynacki had well placed agents numbered in the 500 series.

According to the Germans the most damaging agent was No 594, Isidore Koppelmann, a Jewish banker living in Basel. One of Choynacki’s decoded messages was used to uncover his identity.

It is up to historians to research this case further and identify the full extent of the damage caused to the Polish networks from the compromise of their communications.

The German spy in the US embassy and the messages of General Legge

Another interesting German operation, mentioned in the interrogations of Piert and Pescatore, was one directed against the US embassy in Bern, Switzerland. In 1941 the Germans were able to recruit a Swiss national who worked in the US embassy. This person, named Fuerst, had access to the office of the US military attaché General Barnwell R. Legge and he was able to take documents plus the used carbon paper and give it to the Germans. These documents revealed some of Legge’s sources:

Although Fuerst was apprehended in March 1942 the information he provided, coupled with decodes of US traffic (6), gave the Germans an insight into the sources and operations of the US intelligence agencies.


(1). Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies article: ‘England's Poles in the Game: WWII Intelligence Cooperation’

(2). War in History article: ‘Penetrating Hitler's High Command: Anglo-Polish HUMINT, 1939-1945’

(3). ‘War Secrets in the Ether’, p230-1

(5). KV 2/1329 ‘Willy PIERT / Hans Von PESCATORE

Acknowledgments: The credit for locating the very interesting Piert/Pescatore report goes to Craig McKay, author of Major Choynacki’s Ace: the Solution to an Old Puzzle of Wartime Intelligence.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Toivo or Karl? – To err is human vol3

In WWII the Finnish codebreakers solved the codes and ciphers of several countries. In the diplomatic field their greatest success was achieved against the State Department’s M-138-A strip cipher. One of the people who played a key role in this operation was the cryptanalyst Karl Erik Henriksson.

However there was another person working for Finnish signals intelligence named Henriksson. This was the radio operator Toivo Erik Henriksson. It seems that I mixed them up.

Thus the passage ‘Other important people were Pentti Aalto (effective head of the US section) and the experts on the M-138 strip cipher Toivo Erik Henriksson and Kalevi Loimaranta’, in The Finnish cryptologic service in WWII turns into:

Other important people were Pentti Aalto (effective head of the US section) and the experts on the M-138 strip cipher Karl Erik Henriksson and Kalevi Loimaranta

I have to thank Craig McKay for pointing out this mistake and my friends in Finland for clarifying that Toivo was a radio operator.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

C.G.McKay’s website ‘Intelligence Past’

Craig McKay, author of ‘From Information to Intrigue’, ‘Swedish Signal Intelligence’ and contributor to journals such as Intelligence and National Security, Journal of Intelligence History and Cryptologia has started a new website dealing with intelligence history. He has already added several essays on interesting cases plus he has uncovered the identity of the mysterious Polish agent 594.

If you’re interested in intelligence history you should check out his site Intelligence Past.

Q&A with Craig McKay:

Craig was kind enough to answer some of my questions.

1). How did you become interested in WWII intelligence history and what was the process that led to the publication of two books on the subject?

Part of the reason, I gave on my site, namely growing up at a time when the two great wars of the twentieth century were very much part of living memory. But why, you may still ask, study intelligence, rather than say the history of weapon development, another interesting and perhaps more important subject? I suppose the answer lies somewhere in our psyche. A clue might be the following anecdote. As an insufferable sixteen-year-old, I acquired the atrocious habit of writing down various observations in aphoristic form. One of them was: “But surely, in some sense, the perfect actor is still undiscovered.” Anybody who says something like that, is more or less fated to become interested in the
world of secret intelligence!   With regard to my books, these merely reflected my own location in Sweden. I was there, I was interested in the history of intelligence and discovered that apart from journalistic accounts, not much serious work had been done. My interest in SIGINT, cyphers and such things, however, had another origin. I had worked in the field of mathematical logic under Professor R.L.Goodstein. At that time, logic and the foundations of mathematics were peripheral subjects in the British mathematical curriculum. Computing was mainly still numerical analysis.  I recall giving a lecture on Turing machines about 1964 when few professional mathematicians in Britain had heard of his work, far less took an active interest in the subject. It sounds quite extraordinary now but so it was. Of course, no one spoke about his war work. Turing was only one of the mathematical logicians involved in wartime cypher work. There were others such as Turing 's pupil Robin Gandy, Hasenjaeger in Germany, Quine and Rosser in the US.

2). Why did you decide to start the ‘Intelligence Past’ website and what are your goals for it?  

My motivation was, I confess, entirely egotistical: to get my various bits and pieces on the history of secret intelligence out on the web rather than let them perish instantaneously with me. What other people do with them is entirely up to them. It would be nice when I am still around, if some braver souls were encouraged to post their own pieces on the site. Let’s see what happens. 

3). What areas of intelligence history do you find most interesting and what are you currently researching?

Because of my own history- virtually a lifetime in Sweden to which I remain greatly attached, I have tended  to limit my own interests in two ways (i) geostrategically I focus on Northern Europe and (ii) thematically I am also very interested in the interaction between neutrality and intelligence. About the latter, I say a bit in the first few pages of my book ‘From Information to Intrigue’. At the moment, I have been looking at old puzzles connected with Polish intelligence such as Major Choynacki`s wartime agent network.  The Poles are most extraordinary people. Their troubled history, sandwiched between Germany and Russia, has made them masters of the dark conspiratorial arts. There are naturally many other things which I think about as diligent readers of my site will discover.

4). Which unsolved cases from WWII do you think researchers should try to investigate further?

There is no shortage of questions, that’s for sure! Here’s a few straight from the top of my head.

(1) Why were the Russian organs so concerned with Raoul Wallenberg?  Lots has been written (some by me) but we are still in the dark. 

(2) Why did the Soviet authorities expel the Swedish Minister and his Military Attache during the war? Was it mere tit-for-tat for Swedish action against Soviet espionage in Sweden?  I would be interested to know if it was partly due to certain statements about these Swedish diplomats in Japanese diplomatic traffic that the Soviet Union is known to have read. The Swedish Minister (Assarsson) was a garrulous fellow who occasionally spoke to his Japanese colleague about the war situation.

(3) How far was the Abwehr involved in the Hess flight to Scotland? I have written a short paper on this but so far without being able to interest anyone else to investigate further.

(4) The MAX network in the Balkans: how one longs for a detailed Russian account of this case by a Russian historian using their own archives. Were Kauders, Hatz and Enomoto all long term Soviet assets?  Did Nahum Eitington make a special journey for a conspiratorial treff with Enomoto and Kauders in Greece in October 1940?

(5) How closely did German intelligence follow the telegram traffic of the Jewish Agency during the war?

(6) Who was the spy NERO in Spain/Portugal reporting on the UK and run by the Hungarians in the last year of the war? His name crops up in Schellenberg and Höttl testimonies.

(7) Why is there not more about the use made of COMINT in Economic Warfare during the war?

(8) What was the greatest triumph of Soviet wartime SIGINT?

A last comment: never forget that in any significant spy case there will always be loose ends.
Paradoxically that is both a limitation and an opportunity. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Report on the solution and processing of the Soviet Army’s 5-figure code

The use of signals intelligence and codebreaking by the Germans and Soviets in the Eastern front is a subject that has received very little attention by historians so far. The main reason was the lack of adequate sources. The archives of the Soviet codebreaking organizations remain closed to researchers but in the last decade many important documents on German signals intelligence operations have been released to the public archives. 

From these documents it is clear that the Germans invested significant resources in their signal intelligence agencies and relied on their output during the fighting in the East. Against an opponent that outnumbered them in men and war materiel (tanks, planes, artillery) signals intelligence gave them the opportunity to monitor enemy movements and make efficient use of their limited resources.

The cryptologic systems used by the Soviet Union at low and mid level were extensively compromised during the war and in 1941-42 even their high level 5-figure code could be read. 

It seems that in 1942 a detailed report was prepared on the German exploitation of the Soviet army’s 5-figure code. The report of Area X - (Gebiet X) of April 1942, from the war diary of Inspectorate 7/VI, says:

Über die lösung, entwicklung und Bearbeitung des 5Z Materials wird demnächst ein Sonderbericht herausgegeben werden der die arbeit der Ez.- Gruppe der In 7/VI auf diesem Gebiete eingehend schildert. Dieser Sonderbericht wird den Zeitraum vom 22.6.41 (Beginn des Osteinsatzes) bis zum 22 April  1942  (Abgabe der EZ Bearbeitung an die Ez. - Gruppe des Herrn Prof. N) umfassen.

Translation by Frode Weierud:

A special report will soon be issued that will describe in detail the work of the deciphering group of In 7/IV in solving, developing and processing the Russian 5-figure code. This special report will cover the period from 22.6.41 (the start of the eastern campaign) until 22 April 1942 (handing over the processing to the deciphering group of Professor N.).

Unfortunately I have not been able to locate this file and it is not mentioned in TICOM report IF-272 which lists the files of Inspectorate 7/VI recovered in 1947 from a camp in Austria.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Compromise of the State Department’s M-138-A strip cipher and the traffic of other US agencies

During WWII the US State Department used several cryptosystems in order to protect its radio communications from the Axis powers. The main systems used were the unenciphered Gray and Brown codebooks along with the enciphered codes A1, B1, C1, D1 and the new M-138 strip cipher. 

In the period 1940-1944 German, Japanese and Finnish codebreakers could solve State Department messages (both low and high level) from embassies around the world. The M-138-A strip cipher was the State Department’s high level system and it was used extensively during that period. Although we still don’t know the full story the information available points to a serious compromise both of the circular traffic (Washington to all embassies) and special traffic (Washington to specific embassy). In this area there was cooperation between Germany, Japan and Finland. The German success was made possible thanks to alphabet strips and key lists they received from the Japanese in 1941 and these were passed on by the Germans to their Finnish allies in 1942. The Finnish codebreakers solved several diplomatic links in that year and in 1943 started sharing their findings with the Japanese. German and Finnish codebreakers cooperated in the solution of the strips during the war, with visits of personnel to each country. The Axis codebreakers took advantage of mistakes in the use of the strip cipher by the State Department’s cipher unit.

Traffic of other US government agencies

Apart from purely diplomatic traffic the Axis powers were also able to read some of the messages of other organizations that were occasionally enciphered with State Department systems. I’ve covered the compromise of the communications of the Office of Strategic Services, the Office of War Information and the Military Intelligence Service but these were not the only agencies affected.

According to US reports from 1943 and 1944 (1), separate M-138-A alphabet strips were used by the State Department for messages of the Foreign Economic Administration, War Shipping Administration, Office of Lend-Lease Administration and the War Refugee Board.

The State Department files on the Strip Cipher (2) show that a set of strips titled 00-1 (and key table C) was introduced in late 1943 for enciphering the confidential traffic of other US government agencies. In January 1944 the sets 00-2 and 00-3 were sent to the embassies in Algiers (Free French), Turkey, Egypt, UK, Calcutta, Portugal, Spain, India, Sweden, Iran, Iraq, Beirut.

The 00-4 strips replaced set 00-3 in October 1944.

Was the traffic of these organizations also compromised? It seems so, as some German decodes of State Department traffic contain information on economic matters and Lend Lease shipments (3) and the book ‘Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews’ mentions several War Refugee Board telegrams that were decoded by the Germans (4).

Unfortunately we will have to wait for the release of more classified reports, from the NSA and the State Department, in order to assess the full extent of this compromise.


(1). NSA Friedman collection: ‘Statement of cryptographic systems now in use by Department of State’ (dated November 1943) and NARA - RG 457- Entry 9032- box 1.384, file 'JCS Ad hoc committee report on cryptographic security of government communications' (report of June 1944)

(2). New developments in the strip cipher case

(4). ‘Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews’, p200-201 - p265-267 - 287-288 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The British SYKO cipher device

During WWII the British Armed Forces used several cipher systems for their low/mid level traffic, such as the Syllabic cipher, Slidex, Syko/Rekoh cards, Bomber code etc. Unfortunately it is difficult to find detailed information on these systems and how they were used during the war.

One of these systems was the SYKO hand operated device. This was used widely by the British Army and the RAF (including the planes of Coastal Command).

A detailed description of SYKO is available from Google, as patent US 2270137 A.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

NSA success with Diffie-Hellman algorithm?

How is NSA breaking so much crypto? is a summary of how the NSA might be able to exploit a large part of encrypted internet traffic and link to scientific paper here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Comrade Stalin on the T-34 tank

I said previously that I was going to add information in WWII Myths - T-34 Best Tank of the war from a new source. The book ‘Неизвестный T-34’ (Unknown T-34) has information in pages 52-54 on T-34 reliability. Thus I’ve added the following in my T-34 essay:

1). In paragraph Reliability problems:
‘The constant complaints from the front forced the authorities to investigate the problems with T-34 production. In September 1942 a conference was held at the Ural tank factory by the Commissariat of tank industry (12). The conference was headed by Major General Kotin, People’s commissar of the tank industry of the USSR and chief designer of heavy tank ‘Kliment Voroshilov’. In his speech he said: 

''Now ... there are a lot of complains about the T-34. You all know the reasons for flaws in the tanks. The first reason –inadequate visibility from the tank; the second reason, and this is the weak link that always accompanies our vehicle in the Army – final drive. And third, the main issue that we have today – insufficient strength of the idler wheel's crank. These issues are the major defects of the T-34 today. Having considered these issues from engineering and technological points of view I would like to discuss another issue, the one that directly resulted solely from our production deficiencies. They are: negligence during production of combat vehicles in the factories, carelessness of assembly and quality control of vehicles. As a result during combat employment our tanks sometimes cannot reach the front lines, or after getting to the territory occupied by the enemy for conducting combat operations, sometimes they are forced to remain on enemy's territory because of some little things... We have to make sure that as a result of this conference all shortcoming will be uncovered and following this conference all corrections in the tank will be implemented in the shortest possible time...
Recently comrade Morozov and I visited comrade Stalin. Comrade Stalin drew our attention to the fact that enemy tanks cover a lot of ground freely, and our machines although are better, but have a disadvantage: after 50 or 80 kilometers march they require repair. What are we talking about? It is because of control gear; also, as comrade Stalin said, because of drive gear, and he compared it with the Pz.III, which is in service with the German army, and which is inferior in armor protection, and in other features, and in crew's layout, and does not have such a fine engine, which the T-34 got, moreover its engine is gasoline, not diesel. But the question аrises – why its drive gear is developed better?

Comrade Stalin gave directives to engineers, to the People's Commissar comrade Zaltsman, to factory's CEOs and ordered them to fix all defects in the shortest time. A special order of the State Defense Committee has been issued on the subject as well as directives of the People's Commissariat of the Tank Industry. Despite all these resolutions have been made by Government and orders of the People's Commissar of the Tank Industry, despite repeated instructions from army units and from Main Directorate of the Armored Forces, which is in charge of combat vehicles operation, nevertheless all of these defects on vehicles are going on... We have to reveal all these flaws, and suggestions have to be made on at this conference how to modify machine component better and faster in order to make the T-34 tank, which is recognized in the army as a good tank, even better fighting machine.''

Preliminary inspection of tanks built at the Ural tank factory No 183 (largest producer of the T-34) showed that in 1942 only 7% were free of defects, in 1943 14% and in 1944 29.4%. In 1943 the main problem was damage to the gear teeth (16)

2). In paragraph T-34 vs PzIII:
Its main advantage versus the T-34 was its superior reliability

I have to thank Boris Kavalerchik for translating General Kotin’s speech.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The OWI telegram from Bern

In Compromise of OWI - Office of War Information communications I had written that:

The book ‘Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews’, p265 says about Mayer:
‘Gerald Mayer was officially OWI’s man in Bern but in fact he was Allen Dulles’s cover and right hand man’

The same book mentions an OWI message from Mayer to Elmer Davis from May 1944, decoded by the German codebreakers. The Germans were not the only ones reading OWI communications from Bern.
Since I was able to track down this telegram that part is changed to:

The book ‘Hitler, the Allies, and the Jews’, p265 says about Mayer:
‘Gerald Mayer was officially OWI’s man in Bern but in fact he was Allen Dulles’s cover and right hand man’

The same book mentions an OWI message from Mayer to Elmer Davis, dated 25 May 1944, decoded by the German codebreakers on June 6. The telegram ‘described the holocaust in Carpatho-Russia and the Mamaros areas of Hungary on the basis of ‘’reliable sources and even on the basis of Hungarian newspapers’’. From the contents of the decode it is clear that it was OWI telegram Bern-Washington No 3.346:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bletchley Park versus British bureaucracy

In the course of WWII both the Allies and the Axis powers were able to gain information of great value from reading their enemies secret communications. In Britain the codebreakers of Bletchley Park solved several enemy systems with the most important ones being the German Enigma and Tunny cipher machines and the Italian C-38m

Although books and films usually like to focus on Alan Turing, there were also other people who made vital contributions towards the solution of the German Enigma device. The mathematician Gordon Welchman worked on German Army and Airforce traffic and became head of Hut 6. Welchman came up with the idea of the diagonal board, a modification of the bombes that made them much more efficient in their operation.
Welchman became assistant director of mechanization at Bletchley Park in 1943, in 1948 immigrated to the US and from 1962 worked as an analyst of the MITRE Corporation.

An amusing incident is described in Welchman’s book The Hut Six Story, pages 190-192. It concerns the problems caused by the Army bureaucracy and the fact that despite their work at Bletchley the codebreakers were liable to be called into military service!
The passage reads:

In my own case exemption from military service involved a curious sequence of events. At the beginning of the war, when I became a temporary civil servant in a branch of the British Foreign Office I was thirty-three years old. In due course my age group was called and I received a notice telling me to report to a unit of the Royal Artillery somewhere in the north of England. I took the notice to the Foreign Office administrative people. They assured me that would handle the matter, and that I was to do nothing. A little later I received a polite letter from the Colonel of my artillery unit, saying that there was no doubt a good reason for my nonappearance, but would I please report at once. I took this letter also to the administrative office. Again I was told that the Foreign Office would handle the matter. The next development was a phone call to my mother-in-law, from her brother, Ned, who as chance would have it was Chief Constable of Buckinghamshire, the county in which I was living. He had a warrant for my arrest. This raised an intriguing point. Bletchley Park was enclosed by a high fence and was under military guard. Its cafeteria was open night and day, and sleeping accommodation was available. Suppose I had kept on living and working there and never emerged? I suspect the police might have had some difficulty in arresting me. As it turned out, however, I did not need to resort to any such dramatic delaying action. The Foreign Office and Army Administrators finally resolved the matter. One problem remained. Army regulations included no means of simply letting go of a man who had been called up but had not enlisted. The regular discharge procedure applied only to those who had gone through the enlistment process. It developed that, in order to sever my relationship with the Gunners, I would first have to enlist. I had to report at a Royal Artillery establishment, and it was arranged that I should go to the nearest one, which was a few miles south of Bletchley Park. I was given a gasoline allowance and drove my own car. The "establishment" turned out to be a small office presided over by a sergeant. The sergeant had received detailed instructions, and after filling a few forms, he shook me by the hand, congratulated me on being a Gunner, and said that he would arrange for me to be discharged some other day. When I explained that my office did not want me to take time off for a second trip, he said that he could not discharge me at once because a medical examination was needed and the doctor would be at lunch. I had to get back to Bletchley as soon as possible, so I discovered where the doctor lived, dashed round and just caught him before he went to lunch. A few minutes later I had whatever medical certificates were necessary for my discharge, only to find that the sergeant had gone to lunch. I found him in the nearest pub and persuaded him to come back to his office. After filling out a few more forms, he told me that I was now a civilian again. My length of military service was almost exactly twenty minutes. Then, having arranged my discharge, the sergeant gave me a few appropriate papers, one of which I treasured for many years. It urged me to join the Home Guard, where my experience in the Army would be extremely valuable.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Seeing is Believing

In WWII Myths - T-34 Best Tank of the war I added the following pics under the paragraph:

The transmission had by American standards already failed, although with extreme care it could have been used further. Teeth ends on all gears were battered as the result of clash shifting. Many pieces of gear teeth had been broken off and were in the transmission oil. The failure is due to inadequate design, since excellent steel was used through the transmission.

I’m also going to add more information on T-34 reliability from an interesting Russian source. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More T-34 reliability problems…

In WWII Myths - T-34 Best Tank of the war I made a correction. I had written that:

Still there are examples of T-34’s breaking down during assaults even late in the war (17). For instance the 5th Guards Tank army in 1943 lost as much as 15% of its tanks during its march to Prokhorovka. In August ’43 the 1st Tank army lost 50% of its tanks due to malfunction. As late as the second half of 1944 tank units tried to replace engines with more than 30 hours of operation before a major attack.’
It seems the 15% figure was not correct. The 5th Guards Tank army actually lost 31.5% of its tanks during its march to Prokhorovka. Superior Soviet engineering FTW!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


1). I’ve added a link to “The historical truth” of Beria and Suvorov about cryptography and radio intelligence in Compromise of Soviet codes in WWII.

3). I’ve added information in WWII Myths - T-34 Best Tank of the war. Specifically:

In paragraph Problematic gearbox: ‘However it seems that even vehicles built late in the war were not guaranteed to have the new 5-speed gearbox. The tanks given to the Polish People's Army in late 1944/early 1945 and those used by the North Korean Army in 1950 had the old 4-speed setup (6).’
In paragraph Reliability problems: ‘Soviet tests on newly built T-34’s (14) showed that in April 1943 only 10.1% could complete a 330km trial and in June ’43 this went down to 7.7%. The percentage stayed below 50% till October 1943 when it rose to 78%, in the next month it dropped to 57% and in the period December ’43 - February ’44 the average was 82%.’

In paragraph T-34 vs M4 Sherman: ‘The Sherman proved its superiority in the Korean war, when US M4 tanks demolished the North Korean armored units equipped with the T-34/85.’
In paragraph Conclusion: ‘In the Korean conflict of 1950-53 the T-34/85 again suffered disproportionate losses against Allied vehicles with comparable capabilities. The opinion of a Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps tanker is worth reading (28):

And now, Sir, a few words for your private ear on the T 34. I assume that the tks given by Joe to Mr. Wu are old models. Even so they were grossly overrated in press reports in the early days of the KOREAN Camaign. (A well placed HE shell from a 20 pr will lift the turret off). Only about 4 per Sqn have wrls and their armour is of poor quality. The whole tk is of the crudest workmanship, and breaks down with the greatest ease. (In fairness I must add that this may be due to inexperienced CHINESE crew). They would have to be used in mass, RUSSIAN fashion, to be any treat to a well trained, well equipped Army, as they have been proved somewhat inferior to the SHERMAN. A CENTURION will do to them what a TIGER did to the SHERMAN. They got their initial build up as a scapegoat to cover the natural and understandable, fact that the first American tps over here were raw, frightened boys who were also soft from occupational duties in JAPAN. The T 34, I am convinced, should be de-bunked. It is a workable tk, but NOT a wonder tk’.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book presentation – ‘Encryptors and Radio Intelligence. Shield and Sword of Information World’

In the 20th century the widespread use of radio for communications gave governments and military forces the ability to transmit information across vast distances almost instantaneously. This new invention however had a big drawback since anyone with a radio device could intercept this traffic. Thus the use of codes and ciphers was mandatory if the contents of these messages were to be kept secure from eavesdroppers.

Countries that neglected to follow this rule, or used weak crypto systems, paid for it in blood.
In the First World War the Western Allies were able to gain information of great value by solving several German Army and Navy codes and in the Eastern front the Germans were able to defeat the Tsarist Armies mainly by solving their ciphers, reading their messages and learning of their plans in advance.

During WWII both sides had their successes. In Britain the codebreakers of Bletchley Park solved several enemy systems with the most important ones being the German Enigma and Tunny cipher machines and the Italian C-38m. Codebreaking played a role in the Battle of the Atlantic, the North Africa Campaign and the Normandy invasion. In the United States the Army and Navy codebreakers solved many Japanese cryptosystems and used this advantage in battle. The great victory at Midway would probably not have been possible if the Americans had not solved the Japanese Navy’s JN25 code.
On the other side of the hill the codebreakers of Germany, JapanItaly and Finland also solved many important enemy cryptosystems both military and diplomatic. The German codebreakers could eavesdrop on the radio-telephone conversations of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, they could decode the messages of the British and US Navies during their convoy operations in the Atlantic and together with the Japanese and Finns they could solve State Department messages (both low and high level)  from embassies around the world.

Today there is a vast amount of information available on the cryptologic history of Western countries. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the history of cryptology in Russia, both during the Tsarist era and in the Soviet period. During the Soviet era historians avoided references to codes and ciphers and instead talked about ‘radio-electronic combat’ which dealt with direction finding, traffic analysis and jamming. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian researchers have presented new information on the organization and work of the Tsarist codebreakers and of the Soviet cryptologic agencies but there are many unanswered questions and large gaps exist regarding our knowledge of their operations and achievements.  Information on the codes and ciphers used by the Tsarist and Soviet governments and Armed Forces is limited and scattered in various books, articles and internet sites.
I have already covered books published recently that deal with Russian cryptologic history, such as ‘History of cryptology’ by Grebennkov Vadim Viktorovich and ‘The cryptographic front’ by Butirsky, Larin and Shankin.

This time Anatoly Klepov, a professional in the field of communications security has published ‘Encryptors and Radio Intelligence. Shield and Sword of Information World’, which contains some of his articles published online at Moskovskij Komsomolets and plus new research.
Although the book was written for a Russian audience the author has published an interesting summary in English at

By Anatoly Klepov

Do we know a lot about radio intelligence activities? Very little. We get the knowledge mainly from Western books. How do Western countries assess the radio intelligence efficiency? Churchill, Great Britain Prime Minister, supposed that ““Ultra” (project on German Enigma encryptor decryption – A.K.) was the most important and most secret source of information.” He also stated that “”Ultra” is the tool that helped us to win the war.”
John Slessor, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, shares the same opinion: “”Untra” is ultimately valuable source of intelligence data that had virtually fantastic effect on the strategy or even the tactics of the allies.” Dwight David Eisenhower- Supreme Commander of western allied forces – called the ‘Ultra’ operation as “the decisive factor of allies’ victory.”

Have we ever read anything similar in our commanders’ memoirs? Definitely not. The God of War for us is artillery, tanks, planes, and missiles. This very strategic opinion is most probably still valid nowadays. Do we have efficient and concealed (secured) forces management? In 1941 we had none…

Why have I named my book “Encryptors and Radio Intelligence. Shield and Sword of Information World”?
Reason 1. War.

I started my military service in radio intelligence back in 1972. In one year time, during Gulf of Suez crises, I first realized what real radio war also means that full armies may lose battles simple because the immediate information from commanders of military divisions did not arrive to subordinates on time. Yet the most dangerous outcome was the enemy decrypted or falsified the information.
Without concealed (encrypted) communications hundreds of tanks and planes turned into scrap metal, whereas military divisions became unorganized people having no idea what way to go and where the enemy and allies are.

In general terms, radio intelligence is not a simple radio channel wiretapping and decryption it also implies imposing false information on enemy as well as replacing his messages, etc. Information war determines the military campaign outcome. This is the reason the opposing forces pay special attention to information wars. They conduct the war not only on a battlefield but in mass media as well. Press, radio, and TV are the second front during any large scale conflicts.
Military reporters often send real information from the conflict zones to discover quite a different event overview in the information space. Often press representatives striving to write the truth about war – truth incompatible with the view of world’s mass media agencies – died or perished.
Fortunately, newspapers that send employees to hot spots start to realize that one has to equip military reporter the same way as solders on the battlefield – armored jackets and helmets. Why do paper and digital mass media editorials still do not provide their hot spot reporters with strong encryption equipment to secure the information they transmit?

Years later after my military service and heading ANCORT Company I offered to equip the international hot spot media representatives with encryption equipment. Free of charge.
However, not a single Mass Media agency used the unique opportunity to provide their reporters with a strong and reliable information security system. Why? Going through other wars I realized that that was no coincident. No one wants true information on military actions as it may have more disastrous consequences than the war itself. Even the “most independent” mass media agencies were afraid the messages from their reporters would contradict the official censorship that in addition had no opportunity to control the encrypted communications of reporters. Mass Media heads decided not to provide their reporters with encryption systems despite the fact they left their employees defenseless against the opposing forces on the other frontline side. They could not have been unaware the enemies monitored each and very message transmitted over public communication channels, including the correspondence of Mass Media representatives!

It is interesting when I switched the research from military conflicts to hackers’ crimes against the society and state I discovered a surprising coincidence.
Nowadays international hacker groups performing e-crime make annually over $400 billion. One of the reasons for this to be possible is the absence of strong hardware cryptographic security in global information exchange network, including the Internet and mobile communications. Another reason is virtually no responsibility for committing such crimes! It’s extremely uncommon for such criminals – stealing huge amounts over the Internet – to be caught or penalized. Global Net enables them to commit such actions from the comfort of their homes even being in the other part of the world.

I get a feeling that individual hackers are in fact a complex international organized criminal network aiming at gaining revenue. Moreover, the sad inferiority of the information storage and transfer systems used today is not the only thing that makes it even easier for the criminals to act. Another one is negligence of system administrators who store system passwords and users’ financial information in the places hackers can easily get access to. Just ask the affected persons whether they protected their servers with hardware encryptors. I believe most of them will not even understand what you are talking about. Barack Obama – the US President – confirmed this by saying during an information security meeting that 70% of all US companies use no or extremely weak information security systems.
Now we get a feeling that the officials and politicians prohibit the use of strong encryption because they are afraid to review the old laws and lose the actual ability to totally control the information of the citizens. Hackers worldwide use this bureaucratic paradox to hack into unprotected networks and cause huge financial damage. This is the very reason solders and media representatives die during military conflicts.

However, incorrect use of cryptographic equipment – especially in large-scale wars – also surely leads to tragedy. In the book I provide multiple examples from the history and modern world when the violation of strong encryption equipment use, incorrect encryption key generation, and violation of rules on connecting to encryption equipment resulted in decryption of the top secret information therefore costing millions of military and civilians their lives.
I will give a yet unknown example from the history of cryptography. Experts are aware that the generation strong cryptographic keys is fundamental to creation of strong cryptographic equipment. What was the way the USSR produced encryption keys before 1941?

They used special devices to generate keys to encryption equipment and one-time pads. The devices resembled modern Bingo game machine. The machine featured two units running punch tape. Balls randomly touched the punch tapes generating balanced gamma – random number sequence that was used to generate encryption key. The strength of such encryption keys was miserable. In early 1950s that was confirmed by Vladimir Kozlov – one of the USSR leading cryptologists, associate member of USSR Academy of Sciences.
It was not a big surprise to know the imperfect USSR encryption equipment was one of the reasons of tragedy at the beginning of World War II. The Germans could read even the top secret USSR telegrams up to 1941. I will go in more details in this book.

Now I recall a case from my experience when in late 1970s I decrypted messages encrypted with the top secret USSR cryptographic equipment using simple undulator tape and mathematical compass.
The reason is absolutely the same – incorrect use of encryption equipment. Radio space always demonstrates all defaults in encryption equipment production and usage. It acts as test paper showing all the drawbacks. Unfortunately, some experts are subject to stereotype that once the equipment passes all lab tests one should not control its operation when going life. As my experience shows this approach is totally wrong. Human and technology factors have always existed. These factors may lead to incorrect use of encryption equipment no matter how advanced it is.

I would like to focus on another case to further discuss tragedy arising from unprofessional and improper use of such a powerful force as cryptography. The key conditions for any army to win over the enemy have always been the information exchange secrecy and speed between the commanders and various divisions. Moreover, countless number of lives often depends on encrypted message delivery speed. The ability to deliver secret information as prompt as possible has always been of great value.
Even centuries ago people considered urgent information as valuable as gold. If a message courier’s pay was slightly higher that of a soldier, the pay for express mail was even higher than that a Paduan University professor would get for a year!

That was the pay for information in the XVI century already! Now let’s come back to USSR in the XX century – the century full of wars and conflicts. The country developed encryption system primarily for politicians and top management of the country. However, before the war in 1941 top secret information was encrypted with paper encryption documents. It took a lot of effort and time to encrypt the information in such a way. It was even more challenging when the encrypted information was transmitted over poor communication lines.
Unfortunately, the USSR leaders up to 1941 (war start date) failed to realize the importance of “concealed” (encrypted) armed forces management as the key tool for winning over the enemy. We may trace this fact in Zhukov, Rokossovsky, Vasilievsky and other commanders’ memoires of that period. No one of them mentioned a concealed management of armed forces, including divisions, troops, and so on. You may come across HF communication used by high command of the USSR army. However, NKVD after-war research demonstrated the encryption system was not strong and the encrypted messages probably had been decrypted! I believe this was known even before the research. That was the reason NKVD appointed its soldiers in every 100 meter intervals along the HF communication line. It may appear the most part of information in the war first years were communicated by NKVD couriers, same as back in the XVI century.

The Paradox of Russia. The tragedy that repeats time after time, year after year, century after century and the tragedy that relates to information security should have encouraged the ones who make decisions on cryptography use to give a try and change the situation, to learn the lesson from the past mistakes, make modern information world safe. Ehen…
There won’t be any miracle if we keep everything in our life unchanged. Modern “digital” civilization won’t change for the better on its own. Wars and crimes go on in the information world. Military dictators and criminal geniuses will continue to appear.

This perfectly means world leaders should think not of expanding networks to collect unprotected information and not about the ways to control people’s thoughts but rather about a way to protect the citizens of their states from new threats of virtual world. It is clear that should the world society not take joint care on global information security the civilization will suffer from extremely devastating consequences. XXI century information war has absolutely different logic. The winner will be not the one who has the most powerful information theft means but the one who has the strongest security.
You may wonder what radio intelligence and encryption devices have to do with it. These are the very shield and sword of information world that bring us victories as well as defeats. Strong cryptography nowadays is the only efficient shield capable of protecting the world against any information weapon.

Reason 2. Historical Truth
During my life I have visited 96 countries worldwide where I was lucky to meet and talk to countless people having unique knowledge on our society and the history of civilization. The people I know include heads of government and various government organizations, talented scientists and cultural and religious figures. They knew my main hobby and thanked me for my work and efforts with priceless and king-like gifts – permitting me to study archive documents on history of Russia and cryptography. During one of my multiple foreign business trips I got access to materials on cryptography works of Pushkin’s contemporary and his fried - a well-known Russian scientist Pavel L. Schilling von Cannstatt. By the way, Pavel Schilling’s work as cryptography service head (cipher room) of MFA of Russia has not been mentioned in Russian public sources before. This peculiar fact attracted my real interest. Leaping ahead I will say that the history documents review delivered a great deal of discoveries. Moreover, I was able to look at known things from a different angel. For instance when I studied Pushkin’s works I discovered that the Pushkin’s drawing of an unknown man was actually the picture of his best friend Pavel Schilling. And I am talking about this as well in my book.

However, the more I wanted to learn about Schilling’s activities and work the more challenges I faced. I had to gain various permits and approvals to access historical documents. Even when I got the permit from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to review the historical documents stored in its archive it suddenly turned out that I need another permit from FSB.
When I finally received this other permit as well I was informed that most part of archive of the room was under reconstruction and most materials were unavailable for review. Even those available documents missed multiple pages – excluded from review. Please note 200 years had passed from the events date!

And now I have a question how did Alexander Pushkin himself access the archives when writing the Captain’s Daughter?! The history tells that he had to address the Tsar with request to work in the Cipher Room archive. During a ball evening Pushkin approached the Imperator with his request. Nicolas I favored the request. Still we do know that even with the highest permit MFA officials did not provide Pushkin with access to all archived documents!
Probably Noblemen were afraid of critical analysis of the political elite relations with opposing citizens participating in agitations against the Court and state. The same is true in relation to Peasant’s War under Emelian Pugachev. However, unlike the Streletsky Uprising the Peasant’s War had external political aspect in it – battle of foreign states for influencing the Russian elite even through financing the elite.

Emelian Pugachev’s links to French Kind Louis XIV and receipt of financial aid from him is a clear example.
The described events took place 200 years ago. Why do modern officials keep the secrets of Tsar Russia? What are they afraid of?

Most probably they are afraid of possible unveiling Pushkin’s life philosophy and his views of State and individual relations.
Reason 3. True Freedom of Word and Democracy

As a cryptographer I was shocked by Pushkin words: “It’s better to be on hard labor rather than being wiretapped.” Hundreds of years have pasted and Pushkin remains virtually the only one who publicly declared the state invaded our privacy!

The reality of the threat is proved by letter from a different epoch. Dozens years past Pushkin’s death (in early September 1959) Alexandra – the Russian Impress – wrote to her husband Nikolas II: “My dear and darling... I wish we had a phone wired directly from your room to mine… This would be our private wire and we could talk without any worries of being tapped.” The Impress was concerned that even the Tsar family had no warranty of privacy!
I learned about another interesting fact related to privacy effect on country fate from Russian noble writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I met him back in 1995 while helping to organize the prestigious literature award of Palermo Institute (Italy) for the “In the First Circle” that also told about the development of USSR first phone encryption device. Soon I discovered that apart from cryptography we shared interest in history on freedom of word and democracy in Russia. During our discussion on 1917 revolution and the reasons of Nikolas II’s abdication, Alexander told me: look for the three latest encrypted telegrams of the Empress to the Tsar and you will understand the real reasons of abdication.

Note that the most powerful radio station was located in Tsarskoe Selo. It was mainly designed for Nicolas II to communicate with the army divisions. However, Alexandra – the Empress – sometimes used it to communicate with her husband with encrypted messages.
I managed to discover the decrypted correspondence of the last Russian tsar in the most unexpected place. To my greatest surprise it was published in a book edited in… UK. I believe the publishers did not include many of the most valuable and important telegrams including the messages and letters Solzhenitsyn was talking about. This mystery will be part of my further history research. However, I managed to learn the way the correspondence of the tsar family got outside the country.

Ernest Fetterlein – the head of Tsar Cryptography Service – developed encryptor for the Tsar and empress. After 1917 revolution he migrated to UK together with his colleagues and created a powerful information decryption service GC&CS in UK intelligence. The service up to late 1920th decrypted all messages of Soviet government. Moreover, my history research of tsar encrypted correspondence enabled me to glance at encrypted correspondence between Nicolas II and German Kaiser Wilhelm II and learn a lot of interesting details on the customs and situation of that time.
Let’s return to Pushkin’s words on State role in family values privacy and privilege. I would like to note that not a single revolutionary (Herzen, Tolstoy, Gorky, Lenin) countering tsarism had ever clearly stated that “family privacy should be above all political freedoms.”

We may say exactly the same about noble people of the Western civilization. In the history of Europe and USA I spotted only one person who shared the point of view of Pushkin.
Almost Pushkin’s contemporary – Thomas Jefferson, one of the US first presidents, author of Declaration of Independence – believed that “only strong cryptography that cannot be read by the government” brought the US the real freedom and independence. The two grand persons on different continents thought the same way.

And I asked myself why over the centuries have we started to forget the philosophy in Russia and the USA? Where may we get to with all the limitations and bans on strong cryptography use? Of course, I was first interested in Russia fate that experienced significant losses over the last two hundred years just for this very cause. After 1812 when the Russian army celebrated the victory over Napoleon in Paris we note the ignominious losses: Crimean War, 1905 events, 1914 War. Just take a look, over many years Russia had no large victories. The West gained control not only over Russian finances but the political life as well. Due to the cryptography ban the information on state officials and politicians was absolutely open and available to western special services. That means they had plenty of opportunities to compromise and recruit Russian officials.
Reason 4. Cryptography Role in Modern World

Once without the information shield, Russia lost the wars due to external control.
Just think, World War I in 1914 – Russian army could have entered Berlin and finished the war. However it was defeated thus significantly changing the further world history. The true reason of catastrophe was the compromised encryption system of Russian army used to manage and operate the forces. The German army was able to intercept radio calls between the Russian divisions and had all information about every dislocation of the enemy. That led to destruction of Tsar Army. But for this fact the society would have not had any reasons for dissatisfaction that provoked the Russian 1917 Revolution.

The next page of history is the year 1917. Nicolas II – Russian Imperator – loses access to encrypted communication with his army and Tsar Selo. This resulted in revolution.
1941 – The very first days of World War II. The Nazi got hold of large quantity of encryption equipment, manual encryption documents, and – most important – encryption keys. The encryption system of the Soviet Army fighting with German intruders was compromised and virtually ceased to exist. This was the replay of 1914 events. From the very beginning of 1941 War the Soviet Army had to use plain communication or use courier delivery. That sadly led to deaths of some 6 million USSR defenders, huge material loses in the very beginning of the war!

1979 – War in Afghanistan. I will tell you about the “correct” use of soviet encryption equipment and encryption documents and the results in the second volume of my book. Our soldiers and officers in squadrons, battalions, divisions, and even in larger formations had no strong communication encryption. This resulted in unreasonably high losses.
USSR vanishing in 1991. The USSR president, similar to the Imperator in 1917, was shut out from encrypted communication. The wars in Chechnya. I often quote the words of General Troshev from his book “My War. Notes of Trench General”: “Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. We paid in blood for lack of encryptors.” The very same thing happened during Georgia and Ossetia conflict in 2008. General Khrulev, commander of Russian 58th Army used satellite phone of a newspaper reporter to coordinate the troops in the very beginning of campaign. There was no other way of communication…

It turns out to be that years and centuries of negligence to information security of the country have led to the deaths of the best men of Russia, financial and material devastation of the country. This is when Russia has always been considered as a cryptographic power.
What does prevent us from constantly making the past mistakes? I have expressed my thoughts on this in articles that are now a part of the book. The thoughts about the cryptography role in modern world, information impact on person and the information value, changes it applies to our society is the common theme of my book.

Reason 5. Future of Civilization
We live today in an absolutely different world. The humanity has entered the information era where digital and virtual world is as real as the books, paintings, and pictures. Today the people are not the only ones who exchange the information. Nowadays robots do the same. Our real life is filled with more digital devices with every passing day. These devices include medical ones that can remotely monitor the health.

The devices are more often get connected to the global information exchange computer networks. Just in a few years we will not be able to imagine our life without such devices. Well, who is going to control the ones who control the life of people, our thoughts, and our information?! Scientific and technology progress speeds up with every year. Experts already experiment with replacing real memory with imaginary one. This engages Internet technologies without strong cryptographic security. How much time do we have left until we get a technology to fully control the mind of any person – one, five, or ten years?
Will be a person in the near future able to personally secure himself against hackers and criminals? Won’t someone decide to take up the opportunity to take under control crowds of people?

Even today when we read Edward Snowden’s disclosures we note that there exists a global information interception system and information gets concentrated. Where does all the data flow to?
If Snowden managed to get hold of a great deal of important data from the storage, won’t there be anyone else in the future who will rely on the system vulnerabilities and use the information for absolutely different purposes and serve evil?

Won’t the outdated perception of cryptography role in our life lead to an Information Hitler smartly using the inability of our society to respond to new threats? Won’t we give birth to Information Anti-Christ with our negligence to personal information security of a person?
All of us know the word is derivative of our thoughts. The First Epistle of John reads that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God. The Words are the holy base of human society existence and development.

Our words and our thoughts stolen from digital space are accumulated on countless servers worldwide. Who does control them and – more important – has the ability to change the stored information?
That was the reason Baron Rothschild – who made fortune over a few days by amending political information – said: “He who owns the information – owns the world!”

By securing our information against theft, securing our words against amendments we secure the world against tragedy.
This is what my book all about. I want to deliver this very thought no only to the readers but to the power players who are able so far to make decisions without any influence from virtual space.


Q&A with Anatoly Klepov

The author was kind enough to answer some of my questions
1).   Can you give an overview of your background in the field of communications security?

In 1972 I started my military service in the Soviet Army, radio intelligence. I worked in various USSR organizations related to cryptographic equipment production. Since 1990 I’ve been the sole and continuous head of Ancort Company (25 years already). For more information on the Company history refer to:
2). You’ve mentioned the Bank of Russia aviso scandal of the 1990’s. Can you give more details on this case?

I produced and developed various cryptographic devices. You may read may article on Central Bank of Russia at
3). How did you become interested in historical research, what archives have you researched for your book and articles and what topics interest you the most.

History has been a hobby of mine since childhood. I even planned to enter a Historical Institute. However, my life had different plans. I have always been interested in the matters related to managing the country and armed forces. Frankly speaking, Alexander S. Pushkin’s researches have impressed me even more. In my book I have proven that he was a cryptographer. For more information refer to

I referred to Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs archives as well as different archives of the state. My friends from different countries have supplied me with archive documents. I even purchased articles from foreign archive funds. At the moment I am interested in archive documents on cryptography at the Tsar age as well as creation of cryptographic equipment before 1941 war and equipment for calls wiretapping that was used during Tsar Russia and NKVD age.
4). What is the current state of cryptologic historiography in Russia?  Do you expect that a history of Soviet signals intelligence will be released anytime soon? Is the Russian public interested in the history of cryptology?

Unfortunately, the number of documents on USSR cryptography history is still limited. In most cases it’s the historians who have no experience in cryptographic equipment development or in radio intelligence. Therefore, they provide a lot of general conclusions (mostly testimonials) without shedding light on the real things. I am not surprised as cryptography was under control of NKVD and KGB. The said agencies also controlled Mass Media forbidding to publish anything about mistakes of theirs. Of course, the field was a top secret one.
We do have numerous publications on World War II. Nonetheless, we fail to find objective data on the way the secured communication really functioned during the war. I also mean communications between the army, police, and squadrons. Secured – encrypted – communication is the core of Armed Forces management. Without the said communication Army turns into a group of people and pile of metal as it happened back in 1914, 1941, as well as during the wars in Chechnya.

5). As I understand it this is the first book in a series. What topics will you cover in the next books you publish?
I don’t think there is great interest to cryptography history in Russia. This also relates to other fields of knowledge. Everyone has plunged into social networks as Facebook and the like. Therefore, my "Encryptors and Radio Intelligence. Shield and Sword of Information World" book is actually the very first that shades some light on real situation of cryptography in the USSR. We may not write on Russia cryptographic systems as this information is still secret. I was surprised to know that one developed an encryptor for tanks that was too big to fit into a tank. However, it did comply with all security requirements. Of course, this encryptor has never been adopted.

In my next publications I would like to get a better understanding of Tsar Russia cryptography system as of up to 1917 as well as the real reason Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, study the encrypted communication of Tsar and the Empress Alexandra, recover the encrypted communication of Nicholas II with Wilhelm II and encrypted communications of Nicholas II with the King of Great Britain and president of France. I am especially interested in encrypted communication between the Tsar Nicholas II and Minister Witte. I would also like to define the wiretapping system in Tsar Russia, the ones responsible and the way the system was organized. My further researches will tightly related to defining specific organizations responsible for radio intelligence in Germany, as well as for call and telex wiretapping, and the ones related to Holocaust organization. Vatican encryption system interests me strongly as well. I am also interested in the impact the encryption systems had on political events during inquisitions and Crusades.
There are plenty of materials that need to be systematized and organized. I believe I will manage to have time to implement these plans.