Sunday, December 30, 2007

The NSA-Crypto AG Sting

For decades, the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been reading effortlessly ultra sensitive messages intercepted from all parts of the world. This extraordinary feat was not the consequence of the work of some genius cyber mathematician. Nor was it the result of the agency dominance in the field of super computers, which allegedly have outpaced their most direct rivals by orders of magnitude. The truth is far simpler and quite troubling. The game was rigged.

On the Wikipedia page of Crypto AG, one can read: "Crypto AG rejected these accusations as pure invention, asserting in a press release that in March 1994, the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office initiated a wide-ranging preliminary investigation against Crypto AG, which was completed in 1997. The accusations regarding influence by third parties or manipulations, which had been repeatedly raised in the media, proved to be without foundation."

However, meetings between a NSA cryptographer and Crypto AG personnel to discuss the design of new machines have been factually established. The story was also confirmed by former employees and is supported by company documents. Boris Hagelin is said to have acted out of idealism. What is certain is that the deal for Crypto AG was quite juicy. In return for rigging their machines, Crypto AG is understood to have been granted export licenses to all entities controlled by the NSA. Read full story

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