The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and its operations have long been a mystery to the world, but the intelligence agency has been subjected to many controversies over the years. One of the biggest controversies was the WikiLeaks disclosure of CIA's cyber tools, which shocked the entire world. But the Washington Post in a joint reporting project with German public broadcaster, ZDF, made some shocking revelations that put the CIA in hot water.
For decades, the CIA listened in on the secret communications of foreign countries. The report revealed that the American spy agency secretly owned a company that was responsible for keeping the communications of spies, soldiers, and diplomats of most countries a top-secret by building encryption devices and secure communication lines. But the secret deal between the CIA and the company, Crypto AG, allowed them to sit back and listen to the highly confidential secrets as they were revealed.
"It was the intelligence coup of the century. Foreign governments were paying good money to the U.S. and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries," the CIA report revealed.
For decades, the CIA, the NSA, and Crypto AG worked in tandem to provide encryption devices to most governments and even sabotage its algorithms to snoop in on the most secret talks. From monitoring Iran's mullahs during the 1979 hostage crisis to listening Libyan officials congratulating themselves on the 1986 Berlin disco bombing, the US and West German spies heard it all.
Did CIA spy on India, too?
According to the report, Crypto AG was the go-to firm for encryption devices for decades. The company sold its equipment to more than 120 countries well into the 21st century, which included Iran, Pakistan as well as India. But these countries were unaware of the CIA's secret ownership of Crypto AG.
The equipment sold by Crypto AG was rigged so they could be used to break the encrypted messages of foreign countries. The operation, codenamed "Thersarus" and later renamed to "Rubicon" is one of the most audacious operations in CIA history.
Crypto products continue to serve more than a dozen countries around the world, but the company is now defunct after it was liquidated by the shareholders. Crypto's assets were purchased by two companies, one of which is CyOne Security, which sells security systems exclusively to the Swiss government.
"We at Crypto International have never had any relationship with the CIA or BND — and please quote me," he said in an interview. "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 international products and business, told The Post.