I was visiting a family member at the hospital and several of us met in the cafeteria. The girls talked and my attention wandered to the little garden through the windows. The sun had finally made it through the clouds and it was a peaceful moment and somehow that beckoned thoughts of the inevitable, Kryptos.

I sat and had to wonder how all of the technicians, analysts, and employees spread across all of the departments had not finished it. I’ve considered the possibility that they have and not released that fact but due to the revelation that at least David Stein in 1998 and likely the NSA team with Ken Miller, Dennis McDaniels, two friends and a computer in 1992 had solved K1-3…it would be a good PR move and establish bragging rights for the 3-letter government group that solved it to announce it to the world. I’m sure it’s frustrating to the employees. I’m sure the CIA just wishes someone in their camp would solve the damn thing and everyone could move on. So what’s the problem? Well, not everyone is a master cryptanalysist. Not everyone works in taking apart ciphers. Not everyone has the time. Not everyone has the impetus, the drive to solve it. Also, it seems to be designed to be a learning experience and crafted to fulfill some imagined lack in the intelligence community. Nothing personal intended but Sanborn talks about giving them something to think about besides the file or bit of code they’re working on. I would say David Stein is probably the kind of guy it was made for. He used pencil and paper and his lunch hours for almost 2 years to sort out the first three sections. That’s what it’s meant to be, just a hobby, something fun, a diverting pastime.

There are also limitations on the resources, personnel, time and energy that even the CIA can devote to it or is even willing to devote. It would kind of defeat the purpose to bring the entire force of the CIA, NSA and everyone else to bear on a sculpture in a garden. It’s meant for the individual.

It’s also the fusion of by-the-book cryptology and the mind of an artist. For folks trained by the military, there are standard approaches that are evidently not helpful. So although we must learn their methods and rules, it is essential to ferret out the non-standard and even potentially ridiculous efforts to solve Kryptos.

At the end of today though, I’m left with the thought that we’re making it too hard on ourselves. There are clues in what we’ve already found. We just don’t know them when we see them. We know Kryptos is a key to K4 but that’s it. We need to filter through everything else to determine if it’s a clue for a previous section, a clue for K4, a clue for the final solution, Sanbornisms (like the lodestone), or part of the artistic (non-puzzle) design. They left us clues, somehow, if we could just figure out what they are…

Kryptos fan