India, Pakistan and several other nations spied on by CIA through Swiss encryption firm

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 12, 2020, 06.47 PM(IST)

(Representative Image) Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Communications and Information Security was the Crypto AG's forte and after its establishment in the 1940s, it was used by the CIA and the NSA to making cryptography equipment.

Encrypted messages from several countries were reportedly being read by the CIA for decades, including India, through its secretly-owned Switzerland-based company trusted by governments all over the world to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret.

Crypto AG entered into a deal with America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1951 and came under its ownership in the 1970s. As per reports, the US and its allies exploited other nations' gullibility for years, taking their money and stealing their secrets.

Also read: US, German spies plundered global secrets via Swiss encryption firm

Communications and Information Security was the Crypto AG's forte and after its establishment in the 1940s, it was used by the CIA and the NSA to making cryptography equipment.

Governments the world over trusted the Swiss firm for more than half a century to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret. The clientele of Crypto AG included Iran, military juntas in Latin America, India, Pakistan and even the Vatican.

Also see: Iran media claims CIA chief behind Soleimani’s assassination killed in Afghanistan plane crash

None of the customers ever came to know that the Swiss firm secretly belonged to the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence. Spy agencies reportedly rigged the company's devices so they could easily break the codes that countries used to send encrypted messages.

Reports from the CIA state that foreign governments were paying good money to the US and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries.