The Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA commonly abbreviated, is one of the most important intelligence agencies in the world. The world famous but mysterious institution of the United States of America is at the center of many legends. It is known that the CIA has carried out very interesting operations around the world and is one of the most successful structures in its field in international intelligence wars. However, as you understand, much less is known about the CIA than is unknown! Here is a statue named Kryptos, one of the most mysterious and interesting elements of the history of the CIA.

The sculpture, created in 1990 by American artist Jim Sanborn and housed at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, at first glance looks very ordinary. On the statue, made of copper and resembling a horizontal letter S, there are randomly arranged letters. But the reality is very different from what it seems! Because this statue named Kryptos contains very cryptic passwords. Moreover, even the CIA did not solve the mystery of the statue! Let’s look at the details together.

Jim Sanborn, who made the statue, was born on November 14, 1945, and studied art and sociology at leading educational institutions in the United States.

Jim Sanborn

His work, especially in the field of sculpture, has been exhibited in many museums over the years. Signing to numerous popular works, Sanborn became one of the most important artists in the United States. However, his work, whose name would have been inscribed in unforgettable letters in history, was not very conspicuous in terms of aesthetics, on the other hand, it was not a great work to enter the history of art. However, it contained a great secret.

Jim Sanborn made the sculpture for display at CIA headquarters in 1990.

A statue of Kryptos, which means “hidden” in Greek, was erected at the entrance to the CIA building in Langley, Virginia on November 3, 1990.

The letters of the Latin alphabet were arranged randomly on a copper statue, made in the form of a horizontal letter S.


The statue consisted of four different parts and had over 1800 characters. However, contrary to what many people think, the symbols on the statue were not random piles of meaningless letters. Yes, at first glance it looked like an ordinary and meaningless copper statue. While Kryptos was actually a great mystery, a big challenge to the CIA headquarters!

Jim Sanborn believed that the codes on the statue would be deciphered in 10 years.

Because even though the letters on the statue were engraved into the statue with a complex encryption method, it was located at the entrance to the headquarters of the CIA! Sanborn thought that the passwords in the first 3 chapters of the statue would be cracked in 4-6 years, while the secrets in the 4th chapter, which he deliberately made difficult, would be revealed in a maximum of 10 years. However, events did not turn out the way he expected. The mystery of Kryptos has never been fully solved, despite the passage of 33 years.

Countless CIA personnel have been hard at work unraveling the mystery of Kryptos.

So much so that the statue, the mystery of which could not be solved, got on the nerves of the CIA headquarters, and specialists in the field of secrecy and decryption had to ask NASA scientists for help!

Computer scientists working for the CIA developed special programs to unravel the mystery of the statue, and the leading CIA cryptographers demonstrated all their skills. And yet they didn’t succeed until 1998!

A scientist named David Stein, working for the CIA, announced that he had solved the mystery of Kryptos in 1998!

Breaking down the password in the first three sections

He showed what kind of encryption method randomly placed letters were, and he managed to create a meaningful whole from seemingly meaningless letters. And, using only a pen and paper! But there was something David Stein didn’t take into account…

In the first part of the statueAmong the lies, shadows and light, dreams were details” it was written

Second part; He implicitly explained that the real mystery of the statue could be solved with the help of a code found on William H. Webster, who worked as director of the CIA in the 1990s, and gave the coordinates of the place next to the statue.

In the third part, the archaeologist who opened the tomb of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen in 1922. There was an excerpt from G. Carter’s diary:Through the rubble-strewn doorway remains, pretty slow could be taken out. My hands were shaking, and when I managed to widen the space by opening a small slit on the left, I could barely see the darkness by the light of the candle in my hand. The hot air escaping made the candle flame flicker. Everything that was hidden in the fog was revealed. Do you see anything?” But the 4th chapter could not be deciphered!

The ciphers in the statue of Sanborn gradually became more complex.


However, this section had the fewest letters. However, in this section, Sanborn used a different encryption method from the other sections and also included unnecessary characters and typos to make the password more complex.

Although many cryptographers tried to solve the mystery of the 4th episode, they could not even reveal what encryption method was used to create this episode …

Jim Sanborn shared different clues for those who want to decipher the 4th chapter of the Kryptos statue


The first hint appeared in 2010. Accordingly, in the 4th section, consisting of 97 letters, letters from 64 to 69 corresponded to the word “Berlin”. The clue, announced in 2014, was that he wrote “Hour” between the 70th and 74th letters. The last clue of 2020 announced that between the 23rd and 34th letters was “NORTH EAST”. However, despite all the clues, Episode 4 continues to be a big mystery…

Jim Sanborn states that even if what is written in chapter 4 is revealed, the real mystery of the statue will not be solved.


American artist; He states that deciphering the statue’s secret took longer than he expected, and that he is considering selling the secret at auction and donating the proceeds to charity.

However, he states that the real mystery of the sculpture will never be fully understood. Sanborn on the subject, “They will be able to read what I have written, but they will not be able to understand what I have written. There are things they must discover after the mystery of the statue is revealed, there are things whose true meaning they will never know. People will always ask the question, “What did he mean?” uses expressions.

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