BRIEFING

About Operation Tinker Bell and its Cryptologic Challenge

1964. The Cold War is raging. John F. Kennedy was killed last year, there's still no peace agreement in Korea, the U.S. invasion of Cuba ended in disaster and the Cuban missile crisis almost caused a nuclear war. The newly built Berlin Wall splits Germany in half and political unrest grows in Czechoslovakia. South Vietnamese prime minister Diem was assassinated last November and President Lyndon B. Johnson is preparing to enter the Vietnam conflict...

March 17, 1964. KGB Colonel Alexander Rogozin contacts the U.S. Embassy to Turkey. CIA officer Robert Novak from the Soviet and Eastern Europe Division is sent to Ankara to meet Rogozin. Novak’s assessment: Rogozin is disillusioned in the Soviet political system, his military carrier and his marriage. He wants to defect to the United States and his knowledge of communications technology and cryptology can be a valuable asset to U.S. intelligence.

Both CIA’s new Science & Technology Directorate and the National Security Agency (NSA) are most interested. Novak is assigned to Colonel Rogozin as his case officer and CIA headquarters in Langley designates codename GYMNAST to the defector.

Novak persuades Rogozin to return to Moscow, assume his normal duties and collect additional intelligence before defecting in the near future. Rogozin’s contact person in Moscow is Roman Danilov, a CIA operative under the cover of UP journalist, attached to the U.S. Embassy to Moscow. A first secret meeting between Danilov and Colonel Rogozin is scheduled on April 5.

On the day of the meeting, Danilov leaves his apartment at Povarskaya street 29 at 1135 hours Moscow time. The next morning at 0815 hours (0015 hours in Langley) CIA station Moscow reports to its headquarters in Langley over secure channels: Danilov failed to report after his meeting with Rogozin.

The subsequent investigation confirms that Roman Danilov disappeared. There’s no word of KGB Colonel Rogozin. The defector turns out to be dangle, a bait to identify CIA agents, or a KGB staged recruitment that went horrible wrong. That same morning, Danilov is officially reported missing.

Bill Hensley, Chief of CIA’s Soviet Division is furious about the loss of his operative. Robert Novak is ordered to track down Rogozin with all available means. Operation Tinker Bell, the search for the false KGB defector, has begun.

Your Task

You are assigned to Operation Tinker Bell as COMSEC Officer. It is your task to decrypt all message traffic, sent between Langley, it's stations abroad and agents in the field. This sounds harder than it actually is. All required crypto tools and keys are provided. If you can type on a keyboard, you can decrypt the messages. In order to get a good view on the operation and learn more about the places, services and units involved, we advise you to keep a record of all decrypts and investigate all information like places, units and names that you find in the messages. 

Start by reading the personal Files to familiarize yourself with all persons involved. It is important to know their code names and agent ID's, which are used in all communications. Next, you should visit the COMCEN (Communications Center) to update your knowledge about how Langley and its stations abroad communicate with each other and with agents in the field, both by cable and by clandestine radio transmissions. You will learn how to work with 1960s state-of-the-art crypto equipment and one-time pads to decrypt messages. Finally, you must visit the Crypto Room to retrieve the appropriate keys and one-time pads. Please select the Start Operation or Archive tabs once you're ready for your first assignment.

Success!

Do you have questions or did you complete Operation Tinker Bell, then I love to receive your comments. You can visit my guestbook, use the web mail or the e-mail address below.




Copyrights

The content of Operation Tinker Bell, all ciphertext messages and their plaintext version are copyrighted. No plaintext messages should be published or distributed in any digital or printed form.

Disclaimer

Operation Tinker Bell is a cryptologic game, based on historical information about intelligence agencies and their modus operandi. The operation, involved characters and messages are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or intelligence operations is purely coincidental. The images are unrelated to the fictional story and are used only to support the storyline. The content of the game is not intended to support or condemn the views or actions of any person, country or organisation that might appear in the messages.

© Dirk Rijmenants, 2014
Cipher Machine and Cryptology

Credits go to Mitchel and Indy for the original concept at Operation Turing.