Chapter 19 Page 3 of 6

“You’ve done it!” she exclaimed. “If we know how the millwright is getting his keys, then we are well on the way to cracking this case!

This praise and her glee over the discovery would have made me a lot more comfortable if she had not mentioned later in the conversation that it was peculiar that I was making all of these discoveries single-handed, despite the large number of cryptanalysts and computer scientists on the case. She credited me with discovering the mill in the first place, ignoring the contributions of Rudy Levinski and Lisa. She reminded me that I was the first one to realize that First Chicago was running a delay scam. And now it was I who discovered a flaw in X9.17. This, despite the wide-spread review that the protocol had received since its inception in 1985. A review process that included analysis by the world’s best cryptanalysts. Agnes clearly did not include me in that group. The nature of my early involvement in this case would forever taint my image in Agnes’ eyes. I will always remain a petty hacker, an upstart, and a nuisance by her assessment.

Actually, what troubled me most about Agnes’ comments was that the same observations and accusations could be directed at Rudy Levinski. Hadn’t he made several important discoveries? Many of the most significant contributions had been his. The additions he made to BIF were proving to be a major advance. Rudy was the first one to explore an international connection. I felt uneasy. I never should have accepted that disk from him. Where was he now?

Lisa poured a glass of water from the pitcher on the table and extended the pitcher toward me. I filled my glass and looked around the room. It was filling rapidly now. As I surveyed the room I decided that the chances of the entire case being cracked were good. The speed at which this meeting had been called and the feed-back I had already received regarding the key-exchange protocol, suggested that those in positions of authority were taking swift and expert action. I watched as a short heavy-set man wearing a dark suit approached the lecturn. Danial quickly left to join his own kind and everybody settled down into their seats. The room quieted quickly. The man at the lecturn was overweight enough that he looked uncomfortably warm despite the air-conditioning. His hair was thinning despite his relatively young age. He began by introducing himself and I learned that he was Frank S. Samuelson, head of the FBI. He pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and patted his forehead as he spoke.

Mr. Samuelson explained that the purpose of the meeting was two-fold. First, we were to determine the extent to which the now apparent weaknesses in the EFT system posed a threat to United States national security. Second, we were to pool resources and develop a plan for immediate implementation that would identify and locate the culprits and apprehend them. He informed us that the people in attendance today represented the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, DISA, the ABA, and “other knowledgeable people.” I suppose Lisa and I fell into the last category. As I looked around the room I concluded that we were the only ones in the last category. It wasn’t hard to guess who was from which agency.

The bankers were all in the fifth row, to my right (the seats immediately behind me were still empty). Templemeyer was among them. Apparently Rudy had not been invited, for I did not see him. The group was easily identifiable as ABA people from their dress — they looked like bankers. All of them wore light grey suits, and several of the suits were three-piece. Their ties were mostly yellow; those that were not were generally light colors. All of them had chosen to leave their suit-coats on, despite the fact that most of the other people in the room were in shirt-sleeves. If they were not bankers then my next guess would have been accountants.

Other than myself and Lisa, the NSA people were the only ones wearing casual clothes. I knew they were NSA because, like everybody else, they chose to sit with their own kind and I spotted Lorenzo and Mr. Little among them. Little and company had been the last to arrive and were seated near the back of the room.

The DISA group was easy to spot since they were all dressed in military uniforms. DISA is the Defense Intelligence Security Agency. They are a joint forces group that spans all of the defense units (army, navy, air-force, etc.). DISA is responsible for overall information security — both strategic planning and implementation. Curiously, the NSA falls under the authority of DISA, although I have no doubt that DISA takes orders from the NSA in all matters related to cryptography; DISA is left to address security matters that lie closer to physical security, I suspect.

Even the FBI and CIA were easily distinguishable, although I would have known which group was which anyway simply because I knew the FBI people and I recognized the face of one of the CIA (Weld). The FBI agents seemed to adhere to the stereotype of a spook more than the CIA did. The CIA agents had a bit more variety in their dress code, whereas the FBI might as well sell clothes in the basement of their headquarters; it looked as if they all shopped at the same store anyway.

My survey of the room eventually brought my attention back to Lisa and myself. It was at this point that I noticed that Lisa and Agnes were the only women in the room. Agnes must be a bit of an anomaly, being a female in a position of authority in a business still very much dominated by men. She handles it well. I was never consciously aware of her gender; never really stopped to think about it, until now. Suddenly I wondered if she had children. I realized then that I knew very little about her personal life. I suppose that is part of the reason she has risen to the level she has — she is capable enough that her gender never has a chance to become an issue.