Musings, leadership tidbits and quotes posted by a retired Navy Captain (really just a high performing 2nd Class Petty Officer) who hung up his uniform a bit too early. He still wears his Navy service on his sleeve. He needs to get over that. "ADVANCE WARNING - NO ORIGINAL THOUGHT!" A "self-appointed" lead EVANGELIST for the "cryptologic community". Keeping CRYPTOLOGY alive-one day and Sailor at a time. 2015 is 80th Anniversary of the Naval Security Group.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Best of her time - A woman cryptologist worthy of our considerable attention
Following World War I, except for a few years in the 1920s when she worked for another cryptographic pioneer, Edward Hebern, Agnes continued in cryptology with the Navy and other organizations (including NSA) for the rest of her career. She is credited with making breaks into most of the Japanese naval codes OP-20-G worked on.
In the Navy, she was without peer as a cryptanalyst. Some of her pupils, like Ham Wright, were more able mathematicians but she had taught cryptanalysis to all of them, and none ever questioned her talent and determination in breaking and ciphers.
Among her uniformed naval colleagues, she was held in the highest esteem throughout her long career, which continued from the office of naval communication to the Armed Forces Security Agency, and then to the National Security Agency.
Women accepted into the cryptologic field were sworn to secrecy. The penalty for discussing the work outside of approved channels could be death, as it was considered an act of treason during a time of war.
She was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 1971.
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She was one of the people responsible for breaking into the Japanese "Purple" system. In particular, she's the one who realized that it was based on telephone linear switches instead of a disk system, which was the key insight.
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