[cryptome] Re: NSA Museum Library has provided "Hagelin M-209 Cryptanalysis from Ciphertext Alone"

  • From: coderman <coderman@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: John Young <jya@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2015 23:42:41 -0800

On 12/23/15, John Young <jya@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:...


... The result of the NSA query was that Bob and I--the arrangements
were made by him--received a visit from a man whom Bob called "a
retired gentleman from Virginia." He was quite a charmer. What he
said, over lunch, was: there was no statutory reason why the paper
should not be published. It was true that there were some who thought
that crypto methodology should be "born classified" as some atomic
energy research is, but it was not. (Bills to this effect were later
proposed in Congress but never passed).

Furthermore, the RG said, there were many in the agency who thought
that publishing such papers was inevitable and harmless; he himself
held this view. There were also some who believed that this kind of
publication might cause them real problems. He recalled the good old
days when public and academic interest in cryptography was confined to
newspaper puzzles. He got a bit more specific about two things: the
agency didn't particularly care about the M-209. What they did care
about was that the method that Reeds had discovered was applicable to
systems that were in current use by particular governments, and that
even though it was hard to imagine that these people would find the
paper and relate it to their own operations (which used
commercially-available crypto machines), still... perhaps we should
exercise discretion? It was certainly legal to publish, but
publication might cause difficulties for some people in the agency.

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