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N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers
The New York Times ^ | January 14, 2014 | DAVID E. SANGER and THOM SHANKER

Posted on 01/14/2014 6:00:33 PM PST by John W

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.

The technology, which has been used by the agency since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alterdata; domesticspying; newyork; newyorkcity; newyorkslimes; newyorktimes; nsa; nsascandals; nsaspying; obama; surveillance; yeswescan
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1 posted on 01/14/2014 6:00:33 PM PST by John W
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To: John W

Surely the NYT has more secrets they can release.


2 posted on 01/14/2014 6:05:00 PM PST by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: John W
a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers

Yeah, when the NSA guys came to my house the other night, one of them asked if he could use my computer. So THAT'S what he was doing!

3 posted on 01/14/2014 6:12:20 PM PST by Right Wing Assault
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To: John W

One set of paragraphs is subheaded “No Domestic Use Seen” . . . yeah right. They sure won’t be using them to keep Iran or the other Islamic terror nations in check.


4 posted on 01/14/2014 6:14:35 PM PST by Olog-hai
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To: John W
The technology, which has been used by the agency since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers.

I have often thought that it might be a good idea to build a Faraday cage around my computer. Maybe the time has come.

Faraday Cage .

5 posted on 01/14/2014 6:17:10 PM PST by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: driftdiver

If Nixon were in power, they would be screaming to high heaven.


6 posted on 01/14/2014 6:19:14 PM PST by Luke21
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To: John W
Wouldn't it be fun to start hearing stories from all over the country of the mysterious 'disappearance' of droves of these fascist Judas bastards ! ?



</rhetorical ? mark>

7 posted on 01/14/2014 6:23:38 PM PST by tomkat
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To: John W

Reminds me of when I built a complex of servers, and needed to do some testing with some application folks at a remote site. The network guru was giving me grief, and wouldn’t let us past his firewalls in his routers. Brick wall. Time was running short, deadlines coming up, and bureaucracy wasn’t helping.

In desperation, I ran a single cable under the floor tiles from my servers to connections outside of his routers. Applications folks did their testing, then I undid the cable. Of course I protected the security of the network, as I previously had the the job the network manager now had. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that get you past all the technological roadblocks in your path. What the NSA did is both simple and clever.


8 posted on 01/14/2014 6:23:56 PM PST by roadcat
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To: John W

“N.S.A.’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against — and only against — valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements,” Vanee Vines, an agency spokeswoman, said in a statement.”

Hmmm... seems like I have heard something very similar before. Oh, yeah now I recall:

At the March Senate hearing, Mr. Wyden asked Mr. Clapper, “Does the N.S.A. collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

“No, sir,” Mr. Clapper replied. “Not wittingly.”

Mr. Wyden said on Tuesday that he had sent his question to Mr. Clapper’s office a day before the hearing, and had given his office a chance to correct the misstatement after the hearing, but to no avail.

In an interview on Sunday with NBC News, Mr. Clapper acknowledged that his answer had been problematic, calling it “the least untruthful” answer he could give.”

Freegards


9 posted on 01/14/2014 6:25:42 PM PST by Ransomed
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To: Right Wing Assault

You need to keep up. The NSA has been intercepting machines and mod’ing them before they are delivered to the customer (no, not us low level peon’s posting on FR but some key targets and some key geography, yes).


10 posted on 01/14/2014 6:28:54 PM PST by Ghost of SVR4 (So many are so hopelessly dependent on the government that they will fight to protect it.)
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To: John W

as if nobody can open up a computer and see whats in it


11 posted on 01/14/2014 6:30:59 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: John W

There was a time when conservatives cared about the release of sources and methods. Apparently that time has passed.


12 posted on 01/14/2014 6:33:23 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: Ramius

I do see one, possibly two, of the posts here expressing that.


13 posted on 01/14/2014 6:36:22 PM PST by John W (Viva Cristo Rey!)
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To: John W

that’s right all you need is hardware and a spy to install it… other than that it’s a breeze


14 posted on 01/14/2014 6:38:26 PM PST by Nifster
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To: John W
?transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers.?

now how do they intend to get the physical access to do that??

I sense this story is Progpoganda for that very reason.

what they would want to spread this rumor is beyond me


15 posted on 01/14/2014 6:39:43 PM PST by MeshugeMikey (This Message NOT Approved By The N.S.A.)
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To: Pontiac

Or buy a large microwave oven...


16 posted on 01/14/2014 6:42:30 PM PST by GOPJ ("Remember who the real enemy is... ")
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To: Ramius

“was a time when conservatives cared about the release of sources and methods. Apparently that time has passed.”

That was when entire swaths of decent patriotic American people were not designated as terrorists by law enforcement, in military exercises, in government propaganda, in the statements of the President, and when they were not the primary targets of our intelligence agencies.

As the Allman Bros sang,,, “that was then,,,, this is now”


17 posted on 01/14/2014 6:46:39 PM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: roadcat
...a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers...

If they can get that close - - just load a program - then hide it. If not, why not... Also, how is what NSA did both simple and clever?

18 posted on 01/14/2014 6:48:25 PM PST by GOPJ ("Remember who the real enemy is... ")
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To: DesertRhino

Nonsense.


19 posted on 01/14/2014 6:51:54 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: Ramius

Baloney,,, your turn.


20 posted on 01/14/2014 7:00:58 PM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: Ramius

There was a time when our most dangerous enemy wasn’t our own government.


21 posted on 01/14/2014 7:01:47 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: Ghost of SVR4
“The NSA has been intercepting machines and mod’ing them before they are delivered to the customer...”

Maybe we'll be going back to building our own computers from component parts, but then you would have to know enough to ensure there wasn't something embedded in the components..

22 posted on 01/14/2014 7:01:48 PM PST by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: null and void; COUNTrecount; Nowhere Man; FightThePower!; C. Edmund Wright; jacob allen; ...

Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping!

To get onto The Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping List you must threaten to report me to the Mods if I don't add you to the list...

23 posted on 01/14/2014 7:03:48 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: Ramius

We used to see these groups as defenders. People who safe-guarded the nation...


24 posted on 01/14/2014 7:04:59 PM PST by GOPJ ("Remember who the real enemy is... ")
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To: John W

Leakage of information via electronic noise is not a new field of study. I used to work in a company that produced some of its products to Tempest standards for various government and military customers.

Being able to beam information back INTO a computer? We’re talking serious sci-fi here, IMHO. Not that there couldn’t be possible back doors like WiFi drivers. (WiFi sci-fi?) But computers have a myriad of diverse designs. It’s not as easy as foisting a virus on Windows.


25 posted on 01/14/2014 7:09:57 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: Ramius

And ill go you one further. I can see many more instances of our intelligence agencies working against our interests. That old melodramatic saw of how they save America every day, but its so secret we can never know the details has been worn very thin.

But anyway, do you deny that American people and their private communications are targeted by the NSA?
Or do you deny that Homeland Security has named constitution admirers, former soldiers, Christians, gun owners, TEA members and Ron Paul supporters as terror threats?
Or maybe you deny that Obama has not equated TEA thinking as a domestic threat. Maybe you deny that the Military in numerous documented instances has cast Christian and TEA as terror threats in training while downplaying Jihadi threats. Maybe you deny that the standard military enemy in exercises of “Orange republic” or “blue nation” has been replaced with a TEA insurgency that the US military must suppress.

My comment was solid. And before such thinking permeated our government, that is when conservatives supported our intelligence agencies. Doing so now is not really very patriotic. At least not in the Founders/Bill of Rights/Independence Hall/1776 sense.


26 posted on 01/14/2014 7:12:18 PM PST by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for office.)
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To: John W

I’ll say it again.
That catalog of spy tech is a bunch of crap!

There is NO way that the state of the art in surveillance is reflected by that cheesy catalog...and no, it was cheap crap in 2008 when the catalog was supposedly produced.

That stuff would almost be believable if the catalog was dated in the late 80’s.

There’s just no way that the NSA sends a team to plant a circuit board in a PC.

The NSA runs it’s own state of the art chip FAB. Why would they buy retro stuff from contractors?

It’s now been possible for years to place a full rf transceiver inside an IC. They are even for sale to the general public now as cool new Internet-of-Things parts.

They would have ready made motherboards with modified ICs on them..ditto for HD controller boards, thumb drives..etc.
Stuffing a little extra board into a PC...it’s laughable.

I do believe that they grab computer gear in transit to a target and replace the boards inside....but they definitely don’t wedge in a small board that someone might notice.

The stuff described in that catalog is junk a bright 18yr old geek would put together at their workbench. If they actually are using crap like that then a lot of Engineers and technicians at NRO and NSA need to be fired.

The very idea that a group of spooks would hang out near a target with a briefcase radio unit is laughable. Why did NRO put up several large satellite systems in geosynchronous orbit? It cost a pretty penny to put up those sats with their monstrous dish antennas.

Now if I was told the FBI was still using such crummy gear, that I would believe. They still use GPS trackers on targeted cars that use huge battery packs..lol A guy found one on his car and put up photos on Hack-A-Day.

The only thing that makes sense to me is that catalog is a plant to fool the rubes.


27 posted on 01/14/2014 7:19:38 PM PST by Bobalu (The true secret to genius is in creativity, not in technical mechanics - Richard Feynman)
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To: Ramius

“There was a time when conservatives cared about the release of sources and methods. Apparently that time has passed.”

There was a time when government employees cared about the Constitution. Apparently that time has passed.

Conservatives still care about the Constitution.


28 posted on 01/14/2014 7:27:37 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (Truth is hate to those who hate the Truth)
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To: driftdiver
Surely the NYT has more secrets they can release.

I hope so too. When my government acts like a thuggish police state, I'd expect the press to inform me of it.

29 posted on 01/14/2014 7:37:01 PM PST by zeugma (Is it evil of me to teach my bird to say "here kitty, kitty"?)
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To: GOPJ
If they can get that close - - just load a program - then hide it. If not, why not... Also, how is what NSA did both simple and clever?

It's simple and clever, because one normally blocks existing pathways from their computer to the outside world. You can turn off wi-fi, blue-tooth, shut ports to your ethernet connections, etc. But an innocuous electronic device you're not aware of, that is connected to your data bus and transmitting on a separate radio band is genius. No hacking of software to bypass firewalls or routers. People often run virus-scans, disconnect physically from outside connections, but I bet they don't figure on a hidden radio signal in their computer. I dislike what the NSA is doing when it comes to spying on ordinary Americans, but I can still admire cleverness.

30 posted on 01/14/2014 7:47:03 PM PST by roadcat
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To: DesertRhino
I dunno. I'm ready for whatever of the possibilities might arise.

Your questions:

But anyway, do you deny that American people and their private communications are targeted by the NSA?

Targeted? No. Targeting random American people would be fruitless and wasteful of valuable time and money. I don't believe that the NSA is wasting time and money watching people that don't need watching.

Or do you deny that Homeland Security has named constitution admirers, former soldiers, Christians, gun owners, TEA members and Ron Paul supporters as terror threats?

Yeah, they have. It's stupid.

Or maybe you deny that Obama has not equated TEA thinking as a domestic threat. Maybe you deny that the Military in numerous documented instances has cast Christian and TEA as terror threats in training while downplaying Jihadi threats. Maybe you deny that the standard military enemy in exercises of “Orange republic” or “blue nation” has been replaced with a TEA insurgency that the US military must suppress.

I'm quite sure that Obama equates the TEA party with any number of domestic threats. I don't really care what he thinks. But I do not believe that the U.S. Military will fire on American civilians even when ordered. They are us, and we are them.

31 posted on 01/14/2014 7:47:25 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: John W

Yet again, the NYT publishes information beneficial to our enemies.


32 posted on 01/14/2014 7:50:26 PM PST by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind. ~Steve Earle)
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To: ShadowAce

A Cloudy PING.


33 posted on 01/14/2014 7:52:44 PM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: Bobalu

Seriously... That they would snag a new computer ordered by a high-value target and intercept the delivery, plant a chip on board to capture whatever stuff and transmit out... That’s pretty cool.

Am I the only one that thinks this is -exactly- the sort of thing we pay our intelligence agencies to do?


34 posted on 01/14/2014 7:55:33 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: GOPJ; Reaganite Republican; ShadowAce; All

” - - - the agency since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. - - - “

2008 means GWB started what Obama is using to enslave us.


35 posted on 01/14/2014 7:57:06 PM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: MeshugeMikey; smokingfrog; MestaMachine; Rushmore Rocks; Oorang; sweetiepiezer; Lady Jag; ...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers

In case anyone missed this:

The NSA has been intercepting machines (shipped by mail, FedEx, UPS) and mod’ing them before they are delivered to the customer

36 posted on 01/14/2014 8:00:33 PM PST by LucyT ( If you're NOT paranoid, you don't know what's going on.)
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To: Ramius
There was a time when conservatives cared about the release of sources and methods. Apparently that time has passed.

That was back when we and the government agreed on who the enemy was. Now these technologies have been re-purposed by our government to attain more power over the American people.

37 posted on 01/14/2014 8:02:29 PM PST by Cementjungle
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To: Pontiac

38 posted on 01/14/2014 8:02:38 PM PST by JoeProBono (SOME IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED;-{)
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To: JoeProBono

Interesting

What is it?


39 posted on 01/14/2014 8:07:52 PM PST by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: Graewoulf

These transmitters could also be baked into your lab-fabricated crown after you got your root canal.


40 posted on 01/14/2014 8:07:55 PM PST by txhurl
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To: Ramius

Exactly, and I am glad when our intelligence services target foreign nationals, who are up to no good, with this sort of technique.

What is infuriating is that they seem to have turned their talents on US citizens, in dragnet data gathering schemes. :-(

I’m OK with targeting US citizens if a warrant is issued...but not a blanket warrant to monitor everyone...that’s blatantly unconstitutional.


41 posted on 01/14/2014 8:18:42 PM PST by Bobalu (The true secret to genius is in creativity, not in technical mechanics - Richard Feynman)
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To: txhurl; ShadowAce; All

Hmmmmmmm - - - - - ?

I need to buy more Aluminum Foil for my hats, and guess I’d better start wearing them in my house too, when Im on FR.

Do streamers or sheets work best in safe rooms in the house?

How about an Aluminum foil hood right over my computer?

Wonder what Alcoa stock will be by November, 2014?


42 posted on 01/14/2014 8:19:01 PM PST by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: 2nd amendment mama

Ping!


43 posted on 01/14/2014 8:24:17 PM PST by basil (2ASisters.org)
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To: John W

I remember this discussion going as far back as the 1970’s at least where computers can “broadcast” data through its bus via the RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) they put out. I think back in the 1950’s, someone did something similar where they were able to program the computer to “play music” on a nearby transistor radio by manipulating the RFI it puts out. They did something similar in the 1970’s I think either using an old TRS-80 or an Altair 8800.


44 posted on 01/14/2014 8:47:30 PM PST by Nowhere Man (Mom I miss you! (8-20-1938 to 11-18-2013) Cancer sucks)
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To: John W

I remember this discussion going as far back as the 1970’s at least where computers can “broadcast” data through its bus via the RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) they put out. I think back in the 1950’s, someone did something similar where they were able to program the computer to “play music” on a nearby transistor radio by manipulating the RFI it puts out. They did something similar in the 1970’s I think either using an old TRS-80 or an Altair 8800.


45 posted on 01/14/2014 8:47:30 PM PST by Nowhere Man (Mom I miss you! (8-20-1938 to 11-18-2013) Cancer sucks)
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To: Luke21
If Nixon were in power, they would be screaming to high heaven.

Yeah, with what went on in the Clinton era and now with Obongo, Nixon is owed an apology.
46 posted on 01/14/2014 8:48:48 PM PST by Nowhere Man (Mom I miss you! (8-20-1938 to 11-18-2013) Cancer sucks)
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To: DesertRhino; Ramius

Exactly. We are the enemy now...and need to stay informed.


47 posted on 01/14/2014 8:51:09 PM PST by Girlene (Hey, NSA!)
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To: John W

For a whole lot less money they could just look under the keyboard where everybody saves a copy of their password.


48 posted on 01/14/2014 9:05:34 PM PST by gunsequalfreedom (Conservative is not a label of convenience. It is a guide to your actions.)
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To: Bobalu

Except... Are there any U.S. Citizens being targeted without a warrant? Who are they?


49 posted on 01/14/2014 9:13:49 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: roadcat
Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that get you past all the technological roadblocks in your path.

In the 1950s the British Diplomatic Service had a code that the Soviets could not crack. The Brits had just cracked the German's Enigma machines, and understood code breaking very well indeed, and they used that experience to build an encryption system the Soviets could not defeat.

So the Soviets planted a microphone in the code room of the British Embassy, and just listened in while one Brit read the clear text of outgoing messages to the guy operating the cipher machine, or while the guy operating the cipher machine read the clear text of incoming messages to the guy who wrote the message down...

50 posted on 01/14/2014 9:26:58 PM PST by Pilsner
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