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gillogly

gillogly
Posted Dec 21, 1999

gillogly

tags | encryption
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gillogly

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From acargi@erols.com Wed Jun 16 12:43:05 1999
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 12:45:42 -0400
From: Henry J Siano <acargi@erols.com>
To: ACA-L@LISTSERV.NODAK.EDU
Subject: Markoff New York Times Article 6 16 99

June 16, 1999


C.I.A.'s Artistic Enigma Yields All but
Final Clue

By JOHN MARKOFF

It has stood in a courtyard inside the Central Intelligence
Agency for almost a decade, a sculptural mystery inside an enigma.

But last week Jim Gillogly, a Southern California computer
scientist, did what has until now been done -- quietly, and incompletely
-- only inside the agency's halls.

He succeeded in breaking almost all of a cipher embedded in a
sculpture called Kryptos -- the Greek word for "hidden" -- that was
dedicated at the C.I.A. in October 1990.

Since then, the
865-character message
etched into the sculpture by
the artist, Jim Sanborn, has
defied all efforts to unravel its
conundrum completely. Even
Gillogly acknowledges that
he has deciphered only its
first 768 characters. Still
unbroken are the last 97
characters, apparently the
same section that has also
stumped both the C.I.A. and
the National Security
Agency.

Sanborn said this week that the sculpture contains a riddle
within a riddle -- one that will be solvable only after the four encrypted
passages are known. The complete answer was handed to William H. Webster,
the Director of Central Intelligence when the sculpture was
completed, and has been held in confidence by his successors.

The tantalizing clues uncovered last week are likely to
rekindle interest in a complete solution: The three sections include a poetic
phrase, a reference to a point near the C.I.A.'s headquarters in
Langley, Va. (with the enticing passage, "Who knows the exact location? Only
WW"), and an excerpt from an account of the opening of King Tut's tomb
in 1922.

"I don't really have a good idea of what it might be," said
Gillogly, a 53-year-old cryptographer at Mentat Inc., a Los Angeles
software maker, who started designing cryptograms with his brother as a
child in an effort to stump their father.

A computer hacker in the best sense of the word and a past
president of the American Cryptogram Association, Gillogly (pronounced
gill-OH-glee) began exploring the Kryptos message in 1992, but
he abandoned it until nine days ago, when he saw it briefly
alluded to in an Internet discussion group.

This time he was armed with a better weapon than the pencil
and paper he had seven years ago: his home computer, a highly powered
Pentium II. And the key to solving the first three sections of the
message proved to be a program that Gillogly had written as part of his
cryptographic passion.

The program, he said, is intended to help solve what he refers
to as classical cryptographic systems used by kings, armies and
spies before World War II.

Even with more computational power, he had to apply
traditional cryptographic methods, using his logical powers of deduction.

"There was a fair amount of skull sweat," he said. "You work
on it and you see something that is a little out of whack and you start
pulling on it to see what unravels."

When he contacted the C.I.A's press office last week, Gillogly
learned that he was not the first codebreaker to succeed at unraveling
the first part of the mystery.

In February, David Stein, who works for the agency as a
physicist and senior analyst, and not as a professional cryptographer, had
quietly uncovered the same three passages. Like Gillogly, he has been
stumped by the final section, although he believes that it will
eventually be solved.

"The Kryptos puzzle is a layered puzzle," he said yesterday,
"and we may find that it has layers within layers within layers."

Stein sounded a bit miffed when he learned that Gillogly had
used a computer in his pursuit of the hidden codes.

"Kryptos was meant to be solved with pencil and paper," he
said.

There were no written rules in this contest,
Gillogly responded, adding: "As far as I'm
concerned a crack is where you find it. The
choice of tool isn't the important part, but rather
the decisions about how to use the tools."

For his part, Webster, the former Director, said yesterday
that he had long since forgotten the answer. "I have zero memory of this,"
he said. "It was philosophical and obscure."

But he sided with Gillogly on using a computer. "Who set the
rules here?" he asked. "This is precisely what the agencies do when they
try to break codes."

Sanborn, the artist, who has designed a number of sculptures
that are puzzles, has said he believes that the ultimate secret hidden
in the text of Kryptos will never be deciphered. It was designed by Edward
M. Scheidt, a former chairman of the C.I.A.'s Cryptographic
Center.

That has not stopped either Gillogly or Stein from speculating
on what the full message may contain. And Gillogly has even
contemplated exploring the bag of tricks of some of the world's
acknowledged past spy masters in search of the complete solution.

"There're still those last few lines waiting to be decrypted,"
he wrote last week in an Internet discussion group.

"I'll review the 'Mission Impossible' movie for tips on
getting into the vault, if all else fails."

Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company

____________________________________________________________________

From dlsmith@annap.infi.net Wed Jun 16 12:45:01 1999
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 13:10:35 -0400
From: Dave Smith <dlsmith@annap.infi.net>
Reply-To: ACA-L <ACA-L@LISTSERV.NODAK.EDU>
To: ACA-L@LISTSERV.NODAK.EDU
Subject: Re: Markoff New York Times Article 6 16 99

ARGUSEYE provided the main article in his post. There is also a secondary
article with the text of the solution. It is provided below:

-----
June 16, 1999

The Kryptos Code Unmasked

Here are the first three passages of the code on the Kryptos statue as
deciphered by Jim Gillogly, including misspellings (of "illusion," "underground"
and "desperately"). The second passage identifies a location near the C.I.A.
headquarters; the third is taken from Howard Carter's account of the opening of
King Tut's tomb in 1922.

---------------------------------------------------
Related Article
C.I.A.'s Artistic Enigma Yields All but Final Clue
(June 16, 1999)
---------------------------------------------------

1. Between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of iqlusion.

2. It was totally invisible.

How's that possible? They used the earth's magnetic field. x The information was
gathered and transmitted undergruund to an unknown location. x Does Langley know
about this? They should: it's buried out there somewhere. x Who knows the exact
location? Only WW. This was his last message. x Thirty-eight degrees fifty-seven
minutes six point five seconds north, seventy-seven degrees eight minutes
forty-four seconds west. ID by rows.

3. Slowly, desparatly slowly, the remains of passage debris that encumbered the
lower part of the doorway was removed.

With trembling hands I made a tiny breach in the upper left-hand corner. And
then, widening the hole a little, I inserted the candle and peered in. The hot
air escaping from the chamber caused the flame to flicker, but presently details
of the room within emerged from the mist. x Can you see anything?
-----

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