Native American Code Talkers Hall of Honor plaque presented to the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, DC. (posted 4/8/14)

Last November NSA proudly inducted the Native American Code Talkers into the NSA Cryptologic Hall of Honor. While each of the first 66 inductions since 1999 to the HoH were individuals, the Code Talkers were the first group to be added to the Hall of Honor. NSA’s custom at the ceremony is to present a plaque to the honoree or his/her family member. As there was no single entity representing ALL Code Talkers, the chairperson of NSA’s American Indian / Alaska Native Employee Resource Group accepted the plaque to hold until we found a permanent home for it. Read more on the NSA Hall of Honor page.

After some research, NSA found that place to be the NMAI. By direction of Congress, the NMAI maintains the names of all Native American Code Talkers and has two exhibits dedicated to the Code Talkers. When yhr NSA staff asked the NMAI if their director would be willing to accept and display the plaque in their museum, the answer was an enthusiastic “Yes.”.

The ceremony took place in the Potomac Atrium of the NMAI (located at 4th and Independence, in Washington, DC) on April 8, 2014 at 11 a.m

The Native American Code Talkers HoH Family Plaque was unveiled and presented by NSA Deputy Chief of Staff Trumbull D. Soule to the NMAI Director, Mr.Kevin Gover (Pawnee).

Following remarks, there was a small, private reception following the ceremony. Some Native American customs were integrated into the ceremony.

Understanding NSA (posted 4/2/14)

On Thursday, November 14, 2013 Bill Sullivan, pictured below, an employee of NSA from 1961 - 1994, gave a lecture on NSA to the Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth (ILEAD). Bill was prompted to develop the lecture after the exposure of classified government information by Edward Snowden and the mass of misinformation about NSA that followed. His objective was to provide a solid understanding of NSA's work and its full-fledged focus on protecting the privacy of US persons as it does its job. He will be repeating the presentation at a Vermont Humanities Council session some time this spring or summer. He is also engaged in a dialogue with Vermont's only congressman, Peter Welch.

You can read his lecture here. The slides that he used can be found here -- it might be helpful if you print them before you read the lecture.

NCM Honored with Museum 140 "Oskars (posted 2/22/14)

Museum 140 recently hosted the 2014 Museum Oskars, collecting nominations from individuals who had positive museum experiences in 2013. There were 12 categories and we are pleased to announce that the National Cryptologic Museum received honors in the categories of "Friendliest Staff Experience" and Best "Hidden Gem." Museums from all around the world were honored with nominations and everyone nominated was considered a winner! 


To read the comments about the NCM, visit HERE for the Friendliest Staff Experience category and HERE for the Best "Hidden Gem" category. 

Congratulations to ALL the winners, thanks to Museum 140 for hosting these "Oskars,"

NCMF Receives $500,000 Grant for a New Museum (posted 1/13/14)

The Maryland Board of Public Works in December approved a $500,000 grant for the design of a new museum and conference center proposed near the National Security Agency.   The National Cryptologic Museum Foundation is in the planning stages for the Cyber Center for Excellence, Home of the National Cryptologic Museum, a $58 million facility near the NSA at Fort George G. Meade.   The board must match the money by June 1, 2015, to qualify. It already has raised $896,406 toward the project.  
Retired Maj. Gen. Roderick Isler has said the group hopes to make an announcement on a final site for the new museum by the end of 2014.  

NSA Analyst suggests a "Snowden" in 1996 (posted 1/10/14)

In 1996 an analyst at NSA wrote an article for the Agency's Cryptologic Quarterly titled "Out of Control".  In the article he noted that the vast amount of information that the new system administrators had access to made them a more likely humint target than communicators for foreign operatives and the intelligence impact of one being turned or turning rogue could be enormous.  You can read the complete article in the NSA Archives and read a review of the events as related to Snowden in the Jewish Voice.   

Mavis Batey, Bletchley Park codebreaker, dies at 92 (posted 11/14/13)

Mavis Batey was a Bletchley Park codebreaker whose Enigma breakthrough proved crucial to the success of D-Day.

 Mavis, shown with Abwehr Enigma

Mavis Batey, who has died at age 92, was one of the leading codebreakers at Bletchley Park, cracking the Enigma ciphers that led to the Royal Navy’s victory at Matapan in 1941.

She was the last of the great Bletchley “break-in” experts, those codebreakers who found their way into new codes and ciphers that had never been broken before.

Mavis Batey also played a leading role in the cracking of the extraordinarily complex German secret service, or Abwehr, Enigma. Without that break, the Double Cross deception plan which ensured the success of the D-Day landings could never have gone ahead.

To read her complete obituary visit the U.K. Telegraph or the Washington Post where there is also a very nice picture of Mavis from her early days at Bletchley Park.

Skytop Airmen's Memorial Dedicated (posted 10/13/13)

Last year (2012), Syracuse University was approached by Larry Tart on behalf of the Prop Wash Gang with the objective of creating a memorial honoring airmen (language school students) who perished or were injured in a fire in an Air Force barracks (building M-7) on Syracuse University in 1959. The Prop Wash Gang is a group of Air Force airborne reconnaissance veterans that Larry founded in 1996 when they were creating a memorial at NSA. The memorial pays tribute to 17 Air Force brothers who died on 2 September 1958 when Soviet MiG's shot down their reconnaissance mission over Soviet Armenia.

The Prop Wash Gang and Syracuse University joined forces to honor seven airmen who perished and nineteen others who were injured in the fire that occurred on 6 January 1959. On Friday, 4 October, at 3:00 p.m. we dedicated the Skytop Airmen's Memorial that sits on a grassy knoll overlooking the area formerly occupied by barracks M-7 on SU's South Campus. Sean Kirst, an award winning columnist with the Syracuse Post Standard Newspaper provided detailed coverage of our memorial dedication in Sunday's newspaper, with links to several related online articles.

NCMF Presidents Letter to Members (posted 8/13/13)

Friends and Colleague

Challenges to our Agency’s integrity hurt me deeply. I’m sure most of you feel the same way. None of us spent a career defending the privacy and integrity of our fellow citizens only to have that commitment challenged by many who have no idea where fact fades into fiction, or at worst don’t even care. Whichever side of the discussion you fall on, it’s most important that we know the facts so that we’re able to talk knowledgeably with family, friends, and neighbors when the topic comes up in discussions. In conjunction with the President's announcement on August 9th, NSA released the attached paper, The NSA Story, describing NSA's Missions, Authorities, Oversight and Partnerships. In my view, it is well written, concise and very helpful background for understanding the issues at play.

The paper will also be posted to the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation website and I encourage you to send others to the site for a copy of the paper and information about the rich history and tremendous contributions our Agency has made to the Nation. In the coming week, NSA will also be adding transcripts and other information to the nsa.gov website and pointers to an Intelligence Community site where specific disclosures can be located.


Richard C. Schaeffer, Jr.

President, National Cryptologic Museum Foundation

A Hebrew Enigma Discovered (posted 4/13/13)

A hitherto unknown variant of the German cipher machine Enigma has appeared on display at the Bloomfield Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. The machine, originally fabricated during WW2, has had its original German keyboard, lamp panel, wheels and minor labels converted to the Hebrew alphabet while curiously, given the Israeli anathema to all things associated with Nazi Germany, retaining the original German language instructional placard inside the machine's lid (photo on the right below). The serial number of the Enigma and its wheels are at the time of writing, undetermined. The machine is said to be the property of the Israeli Army.

There is an article in the Times of Israel about the machine but the one depicted in the article is Bletchley Park's Abwehr Enigma G-312.


Images courtesy Nathan Zeldes

CIA Launches an On-line Gallery (posted 10/24/12)

The Central Intelligence Agency recently launched an enhanced and redesigned online gallery to highlight the Agency’s museum and its holdings. The new section has a more modern look, improved navigation, an interactive timeline, new videos, descriptions of an additional 100 artifacts and expanded access to the Agency’s historical collections.

Commemorative Plaque Unveiled by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at the British National Memorial Arboretum (posted 8/20/12)

On July 13, 2012, His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, unveiled a plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum which reads "To commemorate all those British and Allied personnel whose work in Signals Intelligence and Communications Security has supported the British Government in war and peace since 1914."

John Silcock was privileged to be invited to the ceremony and was introduced, as part of a small group of retirees which also included Michael Canning, to Prince Charles. Also present at the ceremony were eight of the nine living Directors (Brian Tovey couldn't be present), two of the surviving Bletchley Park-ers, Sir Arthur (Bill) Bonsall and Jimmy Pollard, several Service and civilian people from past and present field sites, representatives of sister British security and intelligence agencies, some current members of staff, and representatives of the US, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand governments.

Due to the weather conditions, Prince Charles unveiled a plaque, with the same wording as on the actual memorial, in the Chapel of the National Memorial Arboretum and was introduced to the past Directors, all, of course, Knights of the Realm.

For more details visit the GCHQ web site.

Submitted by John Silcock