Communication sabotaged? Over 120 nations unknowingly used Central Intelligence Agency controlled Crypto AG's services

Ruben Fields
February 13, 2020

Internal reports about the operation, codenamed "Thesaurus" and then renamed "Rubicon" in the 80s, reportedly claim it was "the intelligence coup of the century". But the world has known about Crypto AG since at least 1995. Meanwhile the country has suspended export licenses for Crypto's successor companies.

Crypto, based in Zug, Switzerland, was reportedly broken into two companies in 2018, with its Swiss client business remaining in that country and the global business and company name being taken over by Swedish investor Andreas Linde.

A Switzerland-based company that created an encryption communications machine that was used by the United States and German intelligence services to secretly gathered classified communications of governments for decades through secret control of an encryption company was also bought by Nigeria, a report says. But now, as per WSJ, the firm Crypto AG was owned by two major intelligence agencies the world, U.S. and Germany!

Nigeria was one of the USA allies that bought equipment from Crypto AG, but the equipment may have never been used.

At times, including in the 1980s, Crypto accounted for about 40 percent of the diplomatic cables and other transmissions by foreign governments that were decoded and mined for intelligence by the National Security Agency, a US code-breaking body involved in Crypto's operations from 1970, according to the report.

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After being told late a year ago of fresh research about the company, the Swiss government in January appointed a former Swiss Supreme Court judge to scrutinise Crypto's activities "to investigate and clarify the facts of the matter", the defence ministry said in a statement.

"The events in question began in 1945 and are hard to reconstruct and interpret today", Bohren said.

Judge Niklaus Oberholzer is due to report back by the end of June, after which the Swiss cabinet will be briefed.

The operation allowed the American and West German spies to monitor Iran's mullahs during the 1979 hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and caught Libyan officials congratulating themselves on the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco, among other major events in history, according to the report. In his tweet, Snowden said, "Dangerous by design: How the Central Intelligence Agency and German BND conspired to sabotage the communications of allies and adversaries alike". "If what you are saying is true, then absolutely I feel betrayed, and my family feels betrayed, and I feel there will be a lot of employees who will feel betrayed as well as customers", Andreas Linde, the chairman of the company that now holds the rights to Crypto's worldwide products and business, told The Post.

CyOne Security said it was an independent entity, supplying security solutions to the Swiss public sector and had no links to espionage.

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