This challenge closed on 11/11/2020. See below for the correct answers.
Practice Mission Briefing 2A: Instructions
Top Secret: For your eyes onlyThe decrypt of the first mission intercept has raised a number of questions about the spyclist operation, if that is what it is, but it has also triggered enquiries about the personnel referenced in that message. Our counterintelligence unit have asked me to task you with enquiries about the names mentioned there, in particular: Jessica; Wilhelm; Nikolaus; Tirpitzufer. It is possible that these are pseudonyms or code names, but they do not appear in our records and CI branch would be very interested in anything you can find out about them in relation to Nazi spy operations. I followed up on the SIS report that Hitler Youth groups travelling abroad were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire, checking if Harry had links that could help with this, and he sent me the attached message that was photographed by a BOSS undercover operative in Berlin. He told me that it had been exfiltrated from Abwehr headquarters and appears to be a request for approval for a new mission, though neither H nor I have had time to break it, so I look forward to receiving your decrypts. We believe the message has been enciphered using a keyword substitution cipher and given that we are not sure how serious the spyclist threat might be we would be grateful if you could decipher it quickly. The message was also a reminder to me that our own security is an important consideration, so I will also switch to a keyword substitution cipher for the next Mission Briefing. Pearl.
Practice Mission Intercept 2B: Not an enigma
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Top Secret: For your eyes onlyAttention W Our mission to embed sympathisers in the UK establishment is going well although the recent increase in diplomatic tension has significantly increased the risk for our agents in communicating with their handlers. With telegram traffic under enhanced supervision by the UK intelligence organisations it is also increasingly difficult for the agents and their handlers to repatriate intelligence reports of any significance. The use of banking ciphers is no longer regarded as secure and despite its obvious advantages, the Enigma is too valuable to us to allow its use behind enemy lines. For now, we are encouraging our agents to use a mix of keyword and transposition ciphers as taught in their basic training, since these are reliable and do not require the agents to be in possession of more than a series of key words and phrases, which they are well able to memorise. As the quantity of signals traffic increases we will need to reconsider our protocols, but for now I think our focus should be on developing secure communication channels, with cut-outs to isolate our more valuable assets. I discussed this issue with my counterpart in department IH who is a keen cyclist and he made a rather ingenious suggestion that we might make good use of the Hitler Youth. A number of parties have been invited to visit the UK on cycling tours and he had been considering asking them to record information about the layout of military and industrial landmarks as part of his intelligence gathering operation. It is highly likely that any war will involve a protracted bombing campaign and up to date maps will be of great value in our planning. Furthermore, the countryside road layouts in the UK are notorious for their inefficiency and any invasion, would be severely hampered by our lack of knowledge of transport networks. He had drafted an apparently rather innocuous article for the Nazi Cyclist Association magazine with a list of things that our young cyclists might find interesting: “Impress on your memory the roads and paths, villages and towns, outstanding church towers and other landmarks so that you will not forget them. Make a note of the names, places, rivers, seas and mountains. Perhaps you may be able to utilise these some time for the benefit of the Fatherland. Should you come to a bridge which interests you, examine its construction and the materials used. Learn to measure and estimate the width of streams. Wade through fords so that you will be able to find them in the dark.” I propose that we consider using these assets as the cut-outs between our undercover agents and their handlers in the UK and our communications network. They are relatively free to move around the country and can easily be trained to use drop-offs and other spycraft to allow them to collect intelligence reports and pass them on. The marvellous poste restante system allows us to communicate with them, and a suitable codebook would allow us to transmit instructions in plain text with no risk that the meaning could be discerned by counterintelligence operatives in the postal service. I have another thought about how we might exploit this network further, however I need to work through some more details before I discuss it with you, and I wanted to check that you are happy for me to allocate resources to train a number of Hitler Youth in the required skills for this operation. NR.
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