X-Files

The “Kryptos” Sculpture At The Headquarters Of The CIA Contains A Secret Code

The “Kryptos” Sculpture At The Headquarters Of The CIA Contains A Secret Code

Think CIA, and the first aspect which comes into your mind is ‘confidential’. Indeed, it is every bit of it. And, this is not just with respect to the agents, the documents or the files, even the décor of the headquarters bespeak confidentiality.

This is verbatim appropriate for the sculpture which was revealed on November 3, 1990. The headquarter is nestled at Langley, Virginia. And, the sculpt which is being talked about is at the northwest corner of the courtyard of the New Headquarter building. It is exactly outside the Agency’s cafeteria. It was named Kryptos.

The “Kryptos” Sculpture At The Headquarters Of The CIA Contains A Secret Code

Who fabricated it?

It was fabricated by Jim Sanborn, an American Sculptor. His work focuses on topics like magnetism, mysteries surrounding atomic reactions and secret messages.

The name Kryptos arises from the implication of the primitive Greek word “hidden”.

The theme behind the artwork was “Intelligence Gathering”.

The “Kryptos” Sculpture At The Headquarters Of The CIA Contains A Secret CodeThe Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, Langley, Virginia

What is the structure of the sculpture?

  • The main structure is constituted of 4 large copper plates.
  • These are arranged in an upright S-shape.
  • Its resemblance is like that of a scroll of paper which comes out of a computer printer.
  • The 4 copper plates inculcate an encrypted text, carved on them.
  • Latin alphabet and some question marks make the text.
  • There is also a piece of petrified wood that holds the scroll.
  • But, this is not it, in close vicinity to the Sanborn sculpt are placed few more artifacts – a reflecting pool, a small fish pond, a triangle shaped black stone slab and a landscaped garden area.
  • In accordance with the sculptor, all the elements or artifacts are pieces of the puzzle.

The “Kryptos” Sculpture At The Headquarters Of The CIA Contains A Secret Code

In fact, Sanborn said in an interview that Ed Scheidt, a former Chairman of the CIA Office of Communications, helped him to fabricate the cryptographic system. He also gave the explanation that the sculpture was basically a riddle within a riddle.

No wonder, as soon as the sculpture was shown, it intrigued many amateur and professional cryptanalysts. By now, almost 3 separate messages have been revealed, but the last one is yet to be deciphered.

There were many clues and information given by Sanborn over the years, but they have been really confusing.  However, he has assured the people, that in case he dies, there will be that someone, who will be able to confirm if the final riddle has been solved or not!

Has there been a solution?

The first solution which was publicly announced pertaining to the first 3 parts came almost 9 years after the sculpture was revealed. Jim Gillogly, a computer scientist from Southern California pursued the solving of the some part of the riddle. However, the CIA claimed that an analyst of their, David Stein have already come to the same solution almost a year earlier.

So, as per now, the first 3 segments have been revealed, however, the fourth one is still not solved.

So, the mystery continues and awaits a solution!

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The “Kryptos” Sculpture At The Headquarters Of The CIA Contains A Secret Code
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