Switzerland probes report that encryption firm helped Central Intelligence Agency break codes

The logo of Crypto AG is seen at its headquarters in Steinhausen Switzerland

The long list of actions that took place thanks to the communications decrypted due to certain parties' usage of Crypto AG rigged hardware involved feeding intelligence to Britain regarding Argentina's military actions during the Falklands War or monitoring Iran's mullahs during the 1979 hostage crisis.

The CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA), which at the time was tasked largely with codebreaking, owned Crypto in partnership with the BND from 1970 on, with the American intelligence firms controlling "nearly every aspect of Crypto's operations", according to the Post.

The CIA and BND reportedly controlled the company together for two decades but the latter sold its share fearing exposure.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and its operations have always been a mystery to the world, but the intelligence agency has been subjected to many controversies over the years.

Foreign governments were paying good money to the U.S. and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two. foreign countries.

The BND had no immediate reaction to the story.

The CIA and BND are yet to issue comments.

Crypto was founded by Russian-born entrepreneur Boris Hagelin, who fled Scandinavia to the United States in 1940 when the Nazis occupied Norway.

The encryption machines were designed with the aim of encoding communications.

The technology company got its first break with a contract to build code-making machines for US troops during World War II.

The governments from all over the world trusted a company for more than a century just to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret.

But the premier USA cryptologist, the National Security Agency's William Friedman, persuaded Hagelin to restrict sales of his most advanced machines to countries approved by Washington. The company's encryption business was split and sold. They even hired staff, designed the technology and took care of sales.

The arrangement has always been suspected and was alluded to, but never proven, in documents that surfaced decades ago. The company's true ownership was masked by front companies in Liechtenstein registries.

However, leaving the highlights above aside, there are a few things regarding the limitations of the program that must be pointed out as well and the essential part is that both China and Russian Federation never used Crypto AG products. However, former Chancellery Minister Bernd Schmidbauer, who represented the Christian Democratic Union, confirmed that there was a secret service operation called "Rubikon".

Then-President Ronald Reagan raised suspicions about Crypto AG after citing some of these Libyan communications publicly, but the rumors were never confirmed.

The firm which was founded during the 20th century was sold by the Central Intelligence Agency in 2018.

It was broken into two companies.

Crypto International, owned by Swedish national Andreas Linde, said on its website that the published reports were "distressing", but that it was now under new ownership and had no connections to the CIA or the German spy agency. "We are now assessing the situation and will be commenting once we have a full picture". But the Swiss government on Tuesday launched an investigation into the matter.

"The events under discussion date back to 1945 and are hard to reconstruct and interpret in the present day context", it added.



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