In 1990, a sculpture was installed in Langley, Virginia, on the grounds of CIA Headquarters. It was designed by sculptor, James Sanborn.
It has been the bane of professional cryptologists and amateur sleuths who have spent 15 years trying to solve it. The Kryptos sculpture incorporates a coded message made up of thousands of letters punched through a copper scroll.
Three-quarters of the code has been broken, and the deciphered message so far appears to point to something momentous buried on CIA grounds.
Sanborn was hired by William Webster, the CIA director back in 1989. After completing the sculpture, Sanborn had to hand Webster an envelope containing the solution, but has recently come forward to say that he never gave Webster the full story.
It took eight years for the first three Kryptos passages to be cracked, by a CIA officer named David Stein, after a total of 400 hours with pen and paper. The solution was kept a secret, but was solved separately by Jim Gillogly, a California computer scientist, who published the first three passages in 1999. Relying on the fact that the English language uses letters with varying frequencies, code-breakers were able to calculate which ciphers represent which letters.
The three sections solved include a poetic phrase, a reference to a point near the C.I.A.'s headquarters, and an excerpt from an account of the opening of King Tut's tomb in 1922.
1. Between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of iqlusion.
The incorrect spelling is intention on Sanborn's part.
2. It was totally invisible.
How's that possible? They used the earth's magnetic field. x The information was
gathered and transmitted undergruund to an unknown location. x Does Langley know
about this? They should: it's buried out there somewhere. x Who knows the exact
location? Only WW. This was his last message. x Thirty-eight degrees fifty-seven
minutes six point five seconds north, seventy-seven degrees eight minutes
forty-four seconds west. ID by rows.
3. Slowly, desparatly slowly, the remains of passage debris that encumbered the
lower part of the doorway was removed.
With trembling hands I made a tiny breach in the upper left-hand corner. And
then, widening the hole a little, I inserted the candle and peered in. The hot
air escaping from the chamber caused the flame to flicker, but presently details
of the room within emerged from the mist. x Can you see anything?
K4, the 4th passage of the Kryptos code, hes yet to be solved.