Excuse the non-Customer Development, non-entrepreneurial post. I can’t get this one out of my head.
The VENONA Project
One of the most interesting (declassified) stories of cryptography is the deciphering of Soviet communications to their diplomatic missions in the U.S during World War II. What was amazing about these decrypts was the Soviets used one-time pads which were theoretically unbreakable. The National Security Agency has a great website on the subject.
I had dinner last week with someone involved in the VENONA project (now retired.) We talked about one of the spies unearthed in the decoded messages; Ted Hall, a 19-year scientist at Los Alamos working on the Manhattan Project. For lots of complicated reasons Hall was never arrested nor charged with a crime. Hall’s interest in Communism came from literature his older brother Ed brought home from college.
When Ted Hall went to work on the Atomic Bomb during World War II his older brother Ed joined the Air Force.
My Brothers Keeper
During the Cold War, when Ted Hall was under suspicion of being a Soviet spy, his brother Ed Hall, stayed in the Air Force and worked on every U.S. military missile program in the 1950’s (Atlas, Thor, etc.)
Surely the KGB, who ran Ted Hall as a spy, knew about his brother? Perhaps even first…?
A Wilderness of Mirrors
My dinner companion, (who had a hand in his agencies counterintelligence group,) “acted” surprised about the connection between the two…
Oh, what a wilderness of mirrors we live in.
Filed under: Secret History of Silicon Valley