Thursday, May 18, 2017

The progress of my old NSA freedom of information act cases or alternatively ήμουν νιος και γέρασα…

So far my remaining cases with the NSA FOIA office can be broken into two groups. One concerns requests I made in 2015 and these seem to be progressing slowly but I expect I will get responses this year.

The problem is that my old cases from 2012 seem to be stuck in time. Back then I requested several TICOM reports and even agreed to pay for two large files (~500 pages).

Since then I’ve been told that these cases are being processed, then they were in the review queue, then final review etc.

Picture of NSA foia requester waiting for the declassification of TICOM reports:

Saturday, May 6, 2017


I’ve added information from TICOM report I-26 ‘Interrogation of Oblt. Schubert (OKH/Chef HNW/Gen.d.NA) on Russian Military and Agents’ systems at OKM Signals School, Flensburg on 17 June 1945’ in the essay Soviet partisan codes and KONA 6.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Cipher machines of WWII

In the period 1939-45 most countries enciphered their communications using hand methods (codebooks, transposition etc). Only a few countries used cipher machines.

The following list covers these countries and the specific models they used.

United States

SIGTOT T/P (one time tape system)

CCM - Combined Cipher Machine

M-209 (US version of the Hagelin C-38)

Hebern cipher machine (5 rotor version)

SIGFOY/M-325 (Enigma type)


Typex (Enigma type)

Rockex T/P (one time tape system)

CCM - Combined Cipher Machine


Soviet Union

K-37 (Hagelin B-211 copy)

Pogoda or Pagoda (copy of US AT&T double tape machine)

M-100/101 T/P


Hagelin B-211 modified

Hagelin C-38 (US M-209 version)


Hagelin B-211

Hagelin C-38


Hagelin C-38


Hagelin C-38

Enigma G


Hagelin C-38


Enigma K


Enigma I (plugboard machine)

Enigma M4 (4 rotor naval version)

SG (Schlüsselgerät) 41 (Hagelin type)

T-52 T/P

T-43 T/P (one time tape system)


Enigma K

Enigma G

Enigma I

Hagelin C-38

Olivetti T/P



Hagelin C-36


Enigma G

Enigma I


Enigma I


Enigma I


Enigma I


Enigma K


Enigma K

Sunday, April 16, 2017


In The American M-209 cipher machine i’ve added notes and I’ve also added some text (analysis of German trigram technique and a list of reports on the Hagelin C-38). 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Article on Vietnamese signals intelligence successes against French and US forces

The very interesting article ‘Cryptography During the French and American Wars in Vietnam by Phan Duong Hieu and Neal Koblitz is available online.

Abstract: After Vietnam's Declaration of Independence on 2 September 1945, the country had to suffer through two long, brutal wars, first against the French and then against the Americans, before finally in 1975 becoming a unified country free of colonial domination. Our purpose is to examine the role of cryptography in those two wars. Despite the far greater technological resources of their opponents, the communications intelligence specialists of the Viet Minh, the National Liberation Front, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam had considerable success in both protecting Vietnamese communications and acquiring tactical and strategic secrets from the enemy. Perhaps surprisingly, in both wars there was a balance between the sides. Generally speaking, cryptographic knowledge and protocol design were at a high level at the central commands, but deployment for tactical communications in the field was difficult, and there were many failures on all sides.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A misogynistic mistake!

In The Finnish cryptologic service in WWII I’ve added ‘Head of the diplomatic department was Mary Grashorn’.

Mary Grashorn was mentioned in the essay ‘Finland’s codebreaking in WWII’ by David Kahn. I don’t know how I missed that.