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Among the surprises to come out of the interrogations was the fact
that the Germans knew all along that Enigma was not totally secure. "We
found that the Germans were well aware of the way the Enigma could be
broken," recalled Howard Campaigne. "But they had concluded that it
would take a whole building full of equipment to do it. And that's what
we had. A building full of equipment. Which they hadn't pictured as
really feasible."
In Washington, the TICOM materials were of enormous help in
determining just how secure, or insecure, America's own cryptographic
systems were. The picture painted by the documents and interrogations
showed that while a number of lower-level systems had been read by
German codebreakers, the most important ciphers remained
impenetrable. "European cryptanalysts were unable to read any U.S.
Army or Navy high-level cryptographic systems," the highly secret report
said.
The Germans were never able to touch America's "Fish," a machine
known as the SIGABA. Like the Fish, SIGABA was used for the Army and
Navy's most sensitive communications. In fact, because TICOM showed
that the SIGABA survived the war untouched by enemy codebreakers, it
remained in service for some time afterward. It was finally taken out of
service only because it did not meet the speed requirements of modern
communications.
The TICOM report also indicated that other systems were not secure.
One Army system and one Navy system were read for a short time. Both
of the unenciphered War Department telegraph codes were read by the
Germans, and Hungary received photostats of War Department
Confidential Code Number 2, probably from the Bulgarians. Also, thanks
to a spy, Military Intelligence Code Number 11, which was used by the
military attach© in Cairo, was read throughout the summer of 1942.
The most serious break was the solving of the Combined Naval
Cypher Number 3, used by U.S. and Royal Navy convoy operations in the
Atlantic; this Axis success led to many deaths. Other systems were also
broken, but they were of less importance than the Allied breaks of
Enigma and Fish.
By far the greatest value of TICOM, however, was not in looking back
but in looking forward. With the end of the war, targets began shifting,
the signals intelligence agencies dramatically downsized, and money
became short. But at the start of the Cold War, as a result of TICOM,
America had a significant lead. Not only did the U.S. code-breakers now
have a secret skeleton key to Russia's Fish machine, it had a trapdoor
into scores of code and cipher systems in dozens of countries. As a result
of the German material and help from the British, for example,
diplomatic communications to and from Afghanistan became "practically



18
100% readable." Thus, when Soviet officials discussed Asian diplomatic
issues with the Afghan prime minister, the U.S. could listen in.
It was a remarkable accomplishment. At the outbreak of the war in
Europe in 1939, the United States was attacking the systems of only
Japan, Germany, Italy, and Mexico. But by the day the war ended,
according to the TICOM report, "cryptanalytic attack had been directed
against the cryptographic systems of every government that uses them
except only our two allies, the British and the Soviet Union." Now
readable, either fully or partially, were the encryption systems of
Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Colombia, the
Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Greece,
Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, the
Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Syria,
Thailand, Transjordan, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia.
Between the attack on Pearl Harbor and August 1945, the Army's
Signal Security Agency's Language Branch scanned more than 1 million
decrypted messages and, of those, forwarded approximately 415,000
translations. But then it was over. Brigadier General W. Preston
Corderman, chief of the Army codebreakers, was sure there would no
longer be a need for much of a cryptanalytic effort. He therefore
assembled the staff beneath the tall maple trees that gave his
headquarters shade in the summer. The war was over, he told them, and
so was their country's need for their services.
"Overnight, the targets that occupied most of the wartime cryptologic
resources”Germany and Japan”had become cryptologic nonentities,"
said one NSA report. "One by one the radio receivers that had been
faithfully tuned to enemy signals were switched off. Antenna fields were
dismantled, equipment mothballed as station after station around the
world ceased monitoring the airwaves, turned off the lights and
padlocked the doors. Gone were the Army intercept stations at Miami,
Florida; at New Delhi, India; at OSS Operations in Bellmore, New York; at
Tarzana, California; and at Accra on the African Gold Coast. Silent were
the Radio Intelligence Companies supporting General MacArthur in the
Southwest Pacific and the Signal Service Companies in Europe."
The relative handful of American codebreakers who stayed on quickly
shifted gears. The Soviet Union instantly became their number one
target.
One key listening post not shut down was Vint Hill Farms Station.
Known as Monitoring Station Number 1, it was located in the rural
Virginia town of Warrenton. During the war, Vint Hill played a pivotal
role in eavesdropping on enemy communications for thousands of miles
in all directions. At war's end, 2,600 people stayed on, many of them
intercept operators, to handle the transition from hot war to cold war.



19
They were able to eavesdrop on key Russian diplomatic and military
communications sent over the Fish machine. "They intercepted printers
at Vint Hill, Russian printers," said Colonel Russell H. Horton, who
commanded the station shortly after the end of the war. "They had these
... circuits that had nine channels if I'm not mistaken. They had
machines all hooked up so that they separated the channels and did all
of the interception in Cyrillic characters." Horton added, "As far as I
know, there was no effort against the Russians until after the war."
Although the fact was known to only a few, a small group of code-
breakers had in fact been working on Russian code problems during the
war. In 1943, American intelligence began to worry about a possible
alliance between Nazi Germany and Russia as part of a comprehensive
peace deal. Such a merger would have been a nightmare for the Allies. As
a result, a few Army cryptanalysts were pulled away from work on
German systems and assigned to a highly secret new unit with the goal
of attempting to solve the enormously complex Soviet codes and ciphers.
Since 1939, thousands of encrypted Soviet messages, sent between
Moscow and Washington, had been acquired from Western Union and
other commercial telegraph companies. A major break occurred when it
was discovered that identical code groups turned up in seven pairs of
messages. To find even a single pair was a billion-to-one shot. Army
codebreakers had discovered a "bust," an error or anomaly that opens a
crack into the cipher system. Such a bust might be caused, for example,
by a malfunction in a random-number generator. This bust, however,
was caused by the Soviets reusing pages from one-time pads”the
violation of a cardinal cryptographic rule. One-time pads had become
two-time pads. Cecil Phillips, a former senior NSA official, played a key
role in the early Soviet-watching program. "For a few months in early
1942," he said, "a time of great strain on the Soviet regime, the KGB's
cryptographic center in the Soviet Union for some unknown reason
printed duplicate copies of the 'key' on more than 35,000 pages . . . and
then assembled and bound these one-time pads. . . . Thus, two sets of
the ostensibly unique one-time pad page sets were manufactured."
The decision by the Soviet codemakers to duplicate the pages was
likely the result of a sudden shortage of one-time pads, a result of
Hitler's invasion of Russia in June 1941. To quickly fill the enormous
demand for the pads, Russian cryptographers likely chose the easiest
course: carbon paper. Suddenly production was doubled while, it was
reasoned, security was diminished only slightly.
Phillips estimated that between 1942 and 1948, when the last
onetime pad was used, more than 1.5 million messages were transmitted
to Soviet trade and diplomatic posts around the world. Of those,
American codebreakers obtained about a million, 30,000 of which had
been enciphered with the duplicate pages. But despite the bust, days and


20
weeks of frustrating work were required to squeeze out a clear-text
message from a cipher text. Even then, usually the most they would have
was a long, out-of-date message concerning such things as shipping
schedules of the Soviet Purchasing Commission.
For more than thirty years the codebreakers worked on those
messages. By the time the file drawer was closed for the last time, in
1980, they had managed to read portions of more than 2,900 Soviet
diplomatic telegrams sent between 1940 and 1948. Codenamed Venona,
the program was one of the most successful in NSA's history. It played a
major role in breaking up key Soviet espionage networks in the United
States during the postwar period, including networks aimed at the
secrets of the atomic bomb.


On April 25, 1945, as TICOM officers began sloshing through the cold
mud of Europe, attempting to reconstruct the past, another group of
codebreakers was focused on a glittering party half the earth away,
attempting to alter the future.
Long black limousines, like packs of panthers, raced up and down the
steep San Francisco hills from one event to another. Flower trucks
unloaded roses by the bushel. Flashbulbs exploded and champagne
flowed like water under the Golden Gate. The event had all the sparkle
and excitement of a Broadway show, as well it should have. The man
producing it was the noted New York designer Jo Mielziner, responsible
for some of the grandest theatrical musicals on the Great White Way.
"Welcome United Nations," proclaimed the bright neon marquee of a
downtown cinema. The scene was more suited to a Hollywood movie
premiere than a solemn diplomatic event. Crowds of sightseers pushed
against police lines, hoping for a brief glimpse of someone famous, as
delegates from more than fifty countries crowded into the San Francisco
Opera House to negotiate a framework for a new world order.
But the American delegates had a secret weapon. Like cheats at a
poker game, they were peeking at their opponents' hands. Roosevelt
fought hard for the United States to host the opening session; it seemed
a magnanimous gesture to most of the delegates. But the real reason was
to better enable the United States to eavesdrop on its guests.
Coded messages between the foreign delegations and their distant
capitals passed through U.S. telegraph lines in San Francisco. With
wartime censorship laws still in effect, Western Union and the other
commercial telegraph companies were required to pass on both coded
and uncoded telegrams to U.S. Army codebreakers.
Once the signals were captured, a specially designed time-delay device
activated to allow recorders to be switched on. Devices were also
developed to divert a single signal to several receivers. The intercepts


21
were then forwarded to Arlington Hall, headquarters of the Army
codebreakers, over forty-six special secure teletype lines. By the summer
of 1945 the average number of daily messages had grown to 289,802,
from only 46,865 in February 1943. The same soldiers who only a few
weeks earlier had been deciphering German battle plans were now
unraveling the codes and ciphers wound tightly around Argentine
negotiating points.
During the San Francisco Conference, for example, American
codebreakers were reading messages sent to and from the French
delegation, which was using the Hagelin M-209, a complex six-wheel
cipher machine broken by the Army Security Agency during the war. The
decrypts revealed how desperate France had become to maintain its
image as a major world power after the war. On April 29, for example,
Fouques Duparc, the secretary general of the French delegation,
complained in an encrypted note to General Charles de Gaulle in Paris
that France was not chosen to be one of the "inviting powers" to the
conference. "Our inclusion among the sponsoring powers," he wrote,
"would have signified, in the eyes of all, our return to our traditional
place in the world."
In charge of the San Francisco eavesdropping and codebreaking
operation was Lieutenant Colonel Frank B. Rowlett, the prot©g© of
William F. Friedman. Rowlett was relieved when the conference finally
ended, and he considered it a great success. "Pressure of work due to the
San Francisco Conference has at last abated," he wrote, "and the 24-
hour day has been shortened. The feeling in the Branch is that the
success of the Conference may owe a great deal to its contribution."
The San Francisco Conference served as an important demonstration
of the usefulness of peacetime signals intelligence. Impressive was not
just the volume of messages intercepted but also the wide range of
countries whose secrets could be read. Messages from Colombia provided
details on quiet disagreements between Russia and its satellite nations
as well as on "Russia's prejudice toward the Latin American countries."
Spanish decrypts indicated that their diplomats in San Francisco were
warned to oppose a number of Russian moves: "Red maneuver . . . must
be stopped at once," said one. A Czechoslovakian message indicated that
nation's opposition to the admission of Argentina to the UN.
From the very moment of its birth, the United Nations was a
microcosm of East-West spying. Just as with the founding conference,
the United States pushed hard to locate the organization on American
soil, largely to accommodate the eavesdroppers and codebreakers of NSA
and its predecessors. The Russians, on the other hand, were also happy
to have the UN on American soil”it gave them a reason to ship dozens of
additional spies across U.S. borders.



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Since the discovery of the Russian Fish machine by TICOM at the end
of the war, and the ability to read a variety of diplomatic, KGB, and trade
messages as a result of the Venona breakthrough on Soviet onetime
pads, American codebreakers had been astonishingly lucky. Virtually
overnight they were placed in what NSA has called "a situation that
compared favorably to the successes of World War II." For several years,
American codebreakers were able to read encrypted Soviet armed forces,
police, and industry communications and the agency could put together
"a remarkably complete picture of the Soviet national security posture."
But then, almost overnight in 1948, everything went silent. "In rapid
succession, every one of these cipher systems went dark," said a recent
NSA report, which called it "perhaps the most significant intelligence loss
in U.S. history." It forever became known at NSA as Black Friday.
Just as the United States had successfully penetrated secret Soviet
communications networks, so the Russians had secretly penetrated the
Army Security Agency and later the Armed Forces Security Agency
(AFSA), into which ASA had been folded. Although he was never charged
with espionage, a gregarious Russian linguist by the name of William
Weisband became the chief suspect. Born to Russian parents in Egypt in
1908, Weisband emigrated to the United States in the 1920s and became
a U.S. citizen in 1938. Four years later he joined the Signal Security
Agency and was assigned to Sigint activities in North Africa and Italy,
before returning to Arlington Hall and joining its Russian Section.
Although Weisband was not a cryptanalyst, his fluency in Russian gave
him unique access to much of what the Russian codebreakers were
doing. In 1950, after being suspended from work on suspicion of
disloyalty, he skipped a federal grand jury hearing on Communist Party
activity and, as a result, was convicted of contempt and sentenced to a
year in prison. He died suddenly of natural causes in 1967, always
having denied any involvement in espionage.
For American codebreakers, the lights could not have gone out at a
worse time. In late June 1950, North Korean forces poured across the

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