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K. Wilkosz - Operation Rubicon – one of the most successful intelligence operations of all time

K. Wilkosz - Operation Rubicon – one of the most successful intelligence operations of all time

Operation Rubicon, originally known as Thesaurus, is considered to be one of the most successful operations in the history of espionage. It lasted over 50 years and was conducted by American (CIA) and German (BND) intelligence services. Details on the operation released in recent years provided a lot of information about SIGINT during the Cold War.

Katarzyna Wilkosz

KBN Analysis no. 9 (89) / 2021

2 July 2021

Operation Rubicon, originally known as Thesaurus, is considered to be one of the most successful operations in the history of espionage. It lasted over 50 years and was conducted by American (CIA) and German (BND) intelligence services. Details on the operation released in recent years provided a lot of information about SIGINT during the Cold War. We now know that the beginnings of Operation Rubicon date back to the 1950s, when Boris Hagelin, owner of Crypto AG - one of the largest encryption machine companies - concluded a so-called "gentlemen's agreement" with famous American codebreaker William Friedman. According to the secret arrangement, Hagelin agreed to "weaken" his encryption machines so that American intelligence would be able to intercept confidential communications that were transmitted through Hagelin's encryption devices. The CIA's cooperation with the BND opened a new chapter in the history of Operation Rubicon. The joint secret takeover of Crypto AG took place in 1970. Since 1994 CIA was the exclusive owner of Crypto AG. The operation ended in 2018.

Photo credit: pixabay.com

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K. Wilkosz - Operacja Rubikon – jedna z najbardziej udanych operacji wywiadowczych wszech czasów