Crypto City Lifts the Drawbridge

    Date30 Apr 2001
    CategoryCryptography
    3465
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    Seated in the lobby of the National Cryptologic Museum, between a German Enigma machine and a KGB mannequin, James Bamford couldn't have picked a more perfect place to sign copies of his new spy book, "Body of Secrets." But the amazing . . . Seated in the lobby of the National Cryptologic Museum, between a German Enigma machine and a KGB mannequin, James Bamford couldn't have picked a more perfect place to sign copies of his new spy book, "Body of Secrets." But the amazing thing about Bamford's book party yesterday at the National Security Agency's official historic shrine was the fact that he was there at all.

    Two decades ago, when Bamford was writing his groundbreaking first book on the super-secret NSA, the Reagan administration threatened to prosecute him for espionage if he did not return sensitive documents he had obtained.

    Bamford refused, the administration backed off, and "The Puzzle Palace" became a huge bestseller at a time most Americans had never even heard of the NSA, jokingly referred to as "No Such Agency" by the spooks who lived by a strict NSA code -- never say anything. Little wonder Bamford was a big-time persona non grata at the NSA.

    How times have changed.

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