December 5, 2008

Wondering About the CryptoKids

Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”
Secretary of State Harry Stimson explaining why he shut down the U.S. code-breaking operation in 1929

The U.S. spends well over $50 billion a year gathering intelligence and there are SIXTEEN different agencies in the federal government devoted to this task. I don’t expect anyone to be able to name all of them, but can you name the largest intelligence-gathering agency? (The graphic to the left may be of assistance.)

Nope, not the CIA (motto: “Human intelligence on foreign targets”) though that would’ve been my first guess. It’s the National Security Agency (NSA) which is in charge of breaking and making codes and waging “information warfare.”

Like most self-respecting government agencies, the NSA has a "Kids' Page," and in this case, it's staffed by the CryptoKids. In addition to providing fun and games for the grade-school set, the CryptoKids reveal their own biographies. But the back-stories are oddly rich in seemingly irrelevant detail... which makes me suspicious that there's a secret message inside of them! Case in point, Decipher Dog.
I've gone through this a couple of times no with no results, so let me know if you find anything. Now where's that Ovaltine decoder ring...

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