Monday, February 22, 2016


I added the following information in The Irish Government Telegraph Code:

Translated Pers Z reports from 1941 and 1942 confirm these statements (3). The 1941 report says that ‘all the Irish telegrams can be read completely’ and 223 decoded telegrams were published. In 1942 126 decoded telegrams were published.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

CryptoCellar Tales is active again

My friend Frode Weierud has started adding material in his site CryptoCellar Tales. Frode is an expert on WWII crypto history and few people know more on the subject. Let’s hope that he continues to write about these cases.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Update on OSS communications from Bern, Switzerland

After going through my files I’ve discovered more documents that have information on the compromise of OSS communications in WWII. Thus the following paragraphs are added in Allen Dulles and the compromise of OSS codes in WWII:

Report of Sturmbannführer Huegel

SS-Sturmbannführer Dr. Klaus Huegel was an important SD official with knowledge of German intelligence operations in Switzerland and Italy. In CSDIC/CMF/SD 20, he says that when he was working at the SD HQ he saw US intelligence reports from Bern:

A daily bulletin from the German High Command Cryptographic Service, OKW CHI, was sent to SS Brigadefuehrer SCHELLENBERG, the Head of Amt VI of the RSHA. It was signed by Generalmajor THIELE. From Apr 43 till Mar 44, source was in Amt VI, and often saw the bulletins. He remembers that the following links were intercepted and their traffic read, translations of matters of interest to Amt VI appearing in the bulletins:
USA Minister HARRISON in BERNE - WASHINGTON: Three or four signals daily, on the average, were intercepted. All traffic was read. This enabled Amt VI to judge the Swiss attitude to GERMANY as seen through American eyes, and also gave a good picture of conditions in GERMANY. Source says that Mr. HARRISON seemed to be particularly well-informed on the situation in MUNICH, for instance on the morale of the people and on rifts between various High Party officials, between GOERING and HIMMLER, RIBBENTROP and HIMMLER, etc. A conclusion drawn on several occasions in the messages was that though the population was restive, no organised underground resistance on a large scale was possible because of the power of the SS and Gestapo and other security bodies. Source says that Amt VI found these messages of great interest, and if any points raised required investigation, it was often found that the information had been correct.’

Under The Finnish connection:

David Kahn interviewed some of the Finnish codebreakers in the 1990’s (Aalto, Loimaranta, Pale) and they clearly remembered US telegrams containing intelligence reports and information on the German Resistance:

Q:  Why did you think the Americans used such weak codes?

A: They had no idea about that, the question was why the ambassador's telegram, everything in ….. cipher or ambassador send a list, a long, long telegram about conspiracy against Hitler with all the names. It was a very, very terrible business,

Another voice:  gave them away.

Q: Is that how they caught the conspirators.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Presentation on solution of historical ciphers

Here is a recent presentation on new methods of solution of historical cipher systems by mr George Lasry.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Well that was fast…

One of the most interesting aspects of Cold War intelligence history is whether the spies recruited by the Western intelligence agencies (mainly CIA and MI6) were supplying real information or whether they were double agents. In his recent article ‘Doubles Troubles: The CIA and Double Agents during the Cold War’, Benjamin B. Fischer (former Chief Historian of the Central Intelligence Agency) makes the case that in Cuba, East Germany and the USSR practically all the CIA agents were in reality under the control of the enemy security services.

The author says:

During the Cold War the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) bucked the law of averages by recruiting double agents on an industrial scale; it was hoodwinked not a few but many times. The result was a massive but largely ignored intelligence failure. The facts are available from official sources.

I thought that the article was very interesting and that’s why I linked to it back in January. The article also mentioned Adolf Tolkachev, the so called Billion Dollar Spy. Fischer said:

The CIA touts Adolf Tolkachev as its ‘‘billion-dollar spy’’ during the 1980s, asserting that the Soviet electronics researcher saved the Pentagon several times that amount in research and development (R&D) and production costs with purloined information on Soviet military radar and avionics. I believe, however, that Tolkachev was a double agent, in fact the precursor to the dangles who came after his 1985 arrest………..Tolkachev was not the only double on the CIA’s payroll. SE Division was handling another agent encrypted EASTBOUND, who also was selling information on military radars. Soviet and East German sources have confirmed that the anonymous agent was a double. I believe that Tolkachev and EASTBOUND were fraternal twins.’

This article which appeared in a journal with a limited readership seems to have attracted a lot of attention. The 'great' researchers of the National Security Archive have immediately followed up with the transcripts of a Politburo discussion on Tolkachev.

I don’t know why this organization was so interested in this case or how they were able to follow up Fischer’s article so quickly. Since they have such 'superior' investigative skills they could also look into the compromise of Allied codes and ciphers in WWII. That’s research that I’d like to see!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

German signals intelligence files in the Russian national archives

At the end of WWII parts of the German state archives were captured by the Soviet forces and taken to the Soviet Union. There they were placed in various Soviet state archives and kept out of reach of researchers. With the fall of the Soviet Union these archives were opened to researchers but not many people have taken advantage of that. Thankfully some of these German documents have recently become available online. The website of The Russian-German project to digitize German documents in the archives of the Russian Federation has uploaded a large number of German documents from WWI and WWII.

The site says:

As a result of the anti-Hitler coalition victory in the Second World War, documents of Nazi Germany turned up in many countries, including Russia. Largest collections of German documents are kept in the Federal archives of the Russian Federation (State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), the Russian State Military Archive (RGVA) and the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI)), and in the Central Archive of the Russian Ministry of Defense (TsAMO). The project to digitize German documents was initiated by the administration of the Russian President in 2011. It is executed by the Russian Historical Society, the Ministry of Defense and the Federal archival agency with support from the German Historical Institute in Moscow. Coordination committee, overseeing the digitization project, is headed by S.E. Naryshkin, the Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.’

Regarding German sigint activities during WWII, the search terms ‘Nachrichten Aufklärung’ and ‘horchtruppen’ bring up many interesting documents. For example:

Baudot traffic

Reports of Kommandeur der Horchtruppen Ost

Reports of Nachrichten Aufklärung Auswertestelle 2

I will be adding some of this information in my essays.