Pigeon code still not cracked

Europe News Brief: Dec. 2012/Jan. 2013

British spy agencies have been unable to decrypt a message found attached to the ankle of a carrier pigeon found in a chimney in Surrey, England. The message dates back to WWII, more than 70 years ago, and was found attached to the skeleton of its unfortunate messenger.

Though no longer in use, carrier pigeons were specially-trained pigeons that were used to send encrypted messages to and from Britain during war time.

Intelligence agencies like GCHQ have been thus far unable to decipher the message, which is made up of a series of 27 five-letter groups. Unfortunately, the cipher itself is designed to be used specifically with a code book or a one-time use encryption key, that is nearly impossible to decipher.

Although the message also contains a signature, it is not known who originally sent the message, its volatility or even its date of creation. The decryption has been left to Bletchley Park’s “Pigeons at War” exhibition for now, as the proper authorities remain stumped.

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