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GCHQ and NSA Directors meet at Bletchley Park

GCHQ and NSA Directors meet at Bletchley Park

Please CLICK HERE to view the three-minute video clip from the visit via YouTube

GCHQ and NSA Directors meet at Bletchley Park
Feb 9, 2016
From www.bletchleypark.org.uk

No sherry or cigarettes this time

The Directors of the US and UK’s signals intelligence services have met at Bletchley Park to mark the 75th anniversary of the meeting which began the Special Relationship, in the very room where it took place.

Admiral Michael S Rogers, Director of the NSA, joined GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan to tell the story of how a late night sharing of secrets over sherry began the Special Relationship which remains crucial to both nations today.

On 8 February 1941, months before entering the war, four US signals intelligence officials were delayed, diverted and even shot at as they travelled to the Buckinghamshire countryside.

They eventually arrived late in the evening and were treated to sherry in the office of the Head of the Government Code and Cypher School, Alastair Denniston, before each side shared their codebreaking achievements against Germany and Japan’s secret communications systems.

Admiral Rogers said “I would encourage people to come here, because Bletchley Park represents an entwined history between our two nations and it shows what our nations can do when they come together.”

Robert Hannigan added “Standing in this room is a reminder that it all comes back to people in the end; brilliant, dedicated people working together, taking risks, as we have between us. That partnership can do fantastic things against threats today, as it did 75 years ago.”

The two directors were given a tour by the Chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust, Sir John Scarlett, and CEO Iain Standen. Sir John said “As you go into the room, which has now been restored, you have a strong sense of what it must have been like on that evening 75 years ago.”

Iain Standen added “They were, like any visitors, in awe of the place. When they stood watching the introductory film and it says ‘it happened here’ they got the hairs on the back of the neck feeling like everybody else does. Standing in Alastair Denniston’s office where this important event took place, again, they were moved.”

During the celebrations, Bletchley Park also received a visit from NSA Historian, Dr. David A Hatch, and GCHQ Historian, Tony Comer. They discussed the importance of the UK-USA Special Relationship.

Dr. Hatch said, "It was unprecedented. Two countries opening up and sharing secrets with each other. That meeting was the seed for this relationship which has helped keep both sides safe. It had a profound effect on the war and on the peace afterwards."

The celebratory event is also covered, and the color photographs reproduced along with a copy of a post-war congratulatory letter from General Eisenhower to MI-6 Chief Stewart Menzies [1939-52], in Issue #6 of the Bletchley Park Magazine, a copy of which can be viewed at the NCM library.

Learn more via the Bletchley Park website.

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  • Confederate Signal Corps was established. The Confederate Signal Corps accomplished tactical and strategic communications for the warring armies, including electromagnetic telegraphy and aerial telegraphy ("wig-wag" signaling). It included a covert intelligence agency known as the Secret Service Bureau. Remember to explore the NCM's Revolutionary Secrets exhibit during your next visit.

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.