Recently finished another book on espionage, “Spycatcher” by Peter Wright a former MI5 secret service officer and scientist.  It was depressing to say the least and yet fascinating in the amount of technical, political and social detail included.  It primarily focused in an autobiographical manner on Mr. Wright’s life and service but delved deeply into the workings of espionage and counterespionage.  I must confess, my interest was primarily in a detailed description of the Cambridge Five but I was hoping the book as a whole would fill in some of the gaps of my knowledge of the global intelligence community and establish some context for Kryptos.

Peter Wright worked for MI5 from 1954 to 1976.  Ed Scheidt worked for the CIA from 1963 to 1989.

There is enough overlap to make the book interesting but it predominately focuses on the events surrounding the intellectual elite in Britain’s colleges and the course of events resulting from Soviet penetration of the British Intelligence organization by these “British” spies.

The names and faces associated with this period of history will forever be famous and I doubt we’ll see a similar scandal/situation in our lifetimes.

If anything, I learned a lot but will perhaps find my efforts better suited to searching out a similar manuscript detailing perhaps the life of Jim Angleton in lieu of a biography on Ed Scheidt himself.

As espionage has been around for nigh unto forever, it would be naive to suggest that anything is off limits when researching contextual information into the origins of Kryptos and its inspirations.  WWI and WWII saw such a dramatic development of governmental bodies of intelligence that I feel my efforts will be better spent covering the last century.  If we can understand the environment that fostered Ed Scheidt, the CIA, the ciphers and codes then perhaps we can develop a fuller understanding of what it will take to completely solve Kryptos.

And it allows the little grey cells to focus on something other than fruitless attempts to badger a solution out of the fourth part of Kryptos.

I would recommend Spycatcher for anyone who likes Kryptos, James Bond, ciphers, codes, puzzles, history, etc. but would warn you that at times it drags, sometimes it is too detailed and my copy was 480 pages.  Worth the time but it may not be an easy fluid read for all.