Operation Tinker Bell

Operation Tinker Bell is a challenge that starts in 1964, at the height of the Cold War. You will learn to work with the 1960's state-of-the-art TSEC/KL-7 crypto machine (sim available) and also decrypt one-time pad messages, used for one-way voice links, commonly known as numbers stations. Once you are briefed, you start in the CIA communications center and its crypto room, the CIA's inner sanctum where the most sensitive information arrives. You are immersed in a true Cold War espionage atmosphere and witness the modus operandi of your fellow CIA officers and their KGB counterparts.

Experience spy tradecraft first hand, including CIA transmitter sites in West Germany, illegal border crossings, fake passports, safe houses, the dreaded East-German Stasi and Czech StB secret police. British intelligence helps to arrange clandestine meetings, the U.S. Army Security Agency provides SIGINT support and some USMLM operations flirt with the rules of engagement. The Cold War at its best, authentic details, many historical photos and as real as it gets.

CIA case officer Robert Novak investigates the disappearance of a CIA operative in Moscow. Operation Tinker Bell, the hunt for a KGB colonel, will send Novak across the Soviet Union and Europe. For obvious security reasons, all communications between Langley, the CIA stations abroad and their agents behind the Iron Curtain are encrypted. It's your task as COMSEC officer to decrypt all that message traffic. This sounds harder than it actually is. All required crypto tools, keys and clear instructions are provided. Make sure to carefully read the briefing!

NEW! Wall of Honor. As of 2021, participants who decrypt all messages correctly can send us an e-mail with all plaintext solutions attached as .txt file and we add your name to the Wall of Honor. We advise you to keep a record of all decrypts! Earlier participants should contact us to register their name.

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We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of this operation but, hypothetically, if such
operation were to exist, the subject matter would be classified and could not be disclosed (

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Dirk Rijmenants 2004. Last changes: 19 July 2023