By Stephen Budiansky
A sweeping, in-depth historical past of NSA, whose recognized “cult of silence” has left the employer shrouded in secret for many years
The nationwide safety service provider was once born out of the mythical codebreaking courses of global struggle II that cracked the famed Enigma laptop and different German and jap codes, thereby turning the tide of Allied victory. within the postwar years, because the usa constructed a brand new enemy within the Soviet Union, our intelligence group discovered itself focusing on now not squaddies at the battlefield, yet suspected spies, international leaders, or even americans. in the course of the moment half the 20th century, NSA performed an important, frequently fraught and arguable position within the significant occasions of the chilly struggle, from the Korean struggle to the Cuban Missile obstacle to Vietnam and past.
In Code Warriors, Stephen Budiansky—a longtime professional in cryptology—tells the attention-grabbing tale of ways NSA got here to be, from its roots in international battle II throughout the fall of the Berlin Wall. alongside the way in which, he courses us in the course of the interesting demanding situations confronted by means of cryptanalysts, and the way they broke probably the most advanced codes of the 20th century. With entry to new records, Budiansky indicates the place the business enterprise succeeded and failed throughout the chilly warfare, yet his account additionally deals an important viewpoint for assessing NSA this present day within the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations. Budiansky exhibits how NSA’s obsession with recording each piece of knowledge and deciphering each sign is way from a brand new improvement; all through its background the intensity and breadth of the agency’s achieve has ended in either notable successes and damaging mess ups.
Featuring a chain of appendixes that specify the technical information of Soviet codes and the way they have been damaged, it is a wealthy and riveting heritage of the underbelly of the chilly battle, and an important and well timed learn for all who search to appreciate the origins of the trendy NSA.
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Extra resources for Code Warriors: NSA’s Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union
S. efforts to intercept and decipher the communications of foreign governments and military organizations using any means possible. Nor could they have so recklessly doubted the essential importance of foreign signals intelligence in safeguarding national security during that fraught chapter of world conflict. S. 9 After first insisting that NSA’s post–9/11 bulk surveillance efforts had foiled fifty-four terrorist plots, NSA officials were forced to revise that claim to thirteen, then “one or two”—then zero.
Andrei Galdins had served the entire war in an SS execution squad of Latvian collaborators that was responsible for murdering half of Latvia’s Jews. Brought to London, the men had received six months’ intensive training in tradecraft while living in a comfortable four-story Victorian house, complete with a cook and housekeeper, in the exclusive area of Chelsea, and provided £5 a week pocket money. They were drilled in Morse code and radio and cipher procedures, the use of invisible ink, arranging letter drops, shaking surveillance, resisting interrogation.
4 Skeptics in Washington and London were just as dismissively brushed off. Determined to prove that the wartime derring-do of SIS and the American OSS was alive and well and relevant in the postwar world, the heads of operations of the British and American intelligence services refused to see the obvious. Stewart Menzies, head of SIS since 1939, was a throwback to the romantic days of cloak-and-dagger espionage, a spymaster from central casting. He was charming and aristocratic and slightly mysterious, had been a star athlete as a boy on the playing fields of Eton, belonged to all the right London clubs, rode to hounds with the Duke of Beaufort’s fox hunt, never missed the Ascot races, and was the principal source of the untrue but widely believed rumor that he was the illegitimate son of King Edward VII.