CIA cover company
Intercom Associates, or IA, was fake company,
created in June 1974 by the
US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),
to cover the involvement of the US Government in technical covert or clandestine
operations. It did not have a real office, but did have a
telephone number that rang in the office of a cleared lawyer, who backstopped
for the CIA. Whenever the number was called, the laywer's secretary would
answer that the called person was out at the moment, but would return the
To the outside world, Intercom Associates (IA)
consisted of former US Navy people
who were well versed in the government export regulations and was able to help
American firms find their way through the complex American rules.
It is known that the cover company was used in relation to
Operation RUBICON (also: THESAURUS)
— The secret purchase of
Intercom Associates had a small number of 'employees' that were in reality
or CIA people.
When on 'business' — for example to the
plant in Phoenix —
they carried business cards that were made by the CIA cover staff.
NSA employee Nora Mackebee was exposed in December 1995
by Scott Shane and Tom Bowman of the Baltimore Sun, in a series of articles
about the NSA's involvement
in rigging Swiss cipher machines .
The following 'employees' are known:
Bernie WolskyCIA 1
Committed suicide in 2000.
It has been reported by former personnel of the Swiss crypto manufacturer
Crypto AG (Hagelin),
that 'employees' of Intercom Associates (IA) frequently
visited the firm to provide advice and assistance for the development of
cryptographic algorithms — alledgedly to influence them.
The image above shows the head of the
minutes of a meeting held on 19 and 20
August 1975, between people from Crypto AG (CAG), Intercom Associates (IA)
and the American electronics company Motorola
It was published by Scott Shane and
Tom Bowman in a 1995 series of articles about the NSA, as
'the smoking gun' that should prove NSA involvement
in Crypto AG
Although the document was dismissed at the time by CAG
as irrelevant, is does indeed prove the involvement of CIA
and NSA, as the names of Herb Frank
(CIA) and Nora Mackebee
(NSA) appear in the list of attendees.
In this meeting, CAG was represented by Sture Nyberg — CEO —
Oskar Stürzinger —
senior developer — and Peter Frutiger — chief developer.
The involvement and presence of Motorola was no surprise,
as it was officially hired for consultancy and development.
Document obtained from Scott Shane, Baltimore Sun .
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 12 December 2019. Last changed: Tuesday, 25 February 2020 - 19:08 CET.