Welcome to the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation. The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

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Polish mathematicians & code breakers made the first breakthroughs against Nazi Germany's Enigma code.......

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Eavesdroppers in Disguise

Eavesdroppers in Disguise

Eavesdroppers in Disguise
By Jeffrey T. Richelson
August 2012

Supersecret 7500-series satellites for years soaked up Soviet communications, while most assumed they performed missile warning missions.

The Aug. 7, 1968, issue of the New York Times carried an article with the intriguing title, "A Secret Payload Is Orbited by the US." John Noble Wilford reported that the previous day, an Atlas-Agena D rocket "shot into Earth orbit ... a supersecret payload that may include new military surveillance sensors." He noted the Air Force would acknowledge an "experimental payload" had been launched from Cape Kennedy, Fla., but nothing more. In addition, Noble wrote that some reporters had been discouraged from asking questions by officials involved in the launch.

An Air Force index of missile launchings noted "it was the first closed launch from the Cape since 1963" and that "newsmen assigned various unofficial designations of their own to the payload."

What the newsmen and other observers had in common was the belief the secret payload was an infrared warning satellite designed to detect Soviet and other nations’ missile launches........

Read more of Richelson's article online in Airforce Magazine.

Jeffrey T. Richelson is a senior fellow and consultant of the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C., and author of nine books on intelligence and military topics.

THIS MONTH on the

On This Day In History

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  • Government seizure of cryptologist Herbert Yardley's never-published book, "Japanese Diplomatic Secrets."

About Us

The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community. We think you will agree it is truly a "museum like no other."

Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCMF acquires the best artifacts for the NCM and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

The NCMF provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and innovation through valued awards, and hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCMF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCMF and NCM share a joint three-fold mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.