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Cryptologic Hall of Honor

The Cryptologic Hall of Honor was created in 1999 to pay special tribute to the pioneers and heroes who rendered distinguished service to American cryptology.

The standards are high for induction into this great hall. The individuals honored were innovators over their entire careers or made major contributions to the structure and processes of American cryptology. The men and women who have been inducted to the Cryptologic Hall of Honor are all greats in the once silent world of cryptology.

In the early days of America's cryptologic effort, many of the "giants" did both Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance. They made important contributions to both offensive and defensive cryptology. As such, they were among the first inducted into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor. 

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Lester K. Myers, 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
Lester K. Myers
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About Lester K. Myers, former NSA Senior Language Analyst, mentor, and 2020 Hall of Honor inductee.

Dr. Whitfield Diffie, 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
Dr. Whitfield Diffie
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About Dr. Whitfield Diffie, computer security pioneer and 2020 Hall of Honor inductee.

Barbara A. McNamara, 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
Barbara A. McNamara
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About Barbara A. McNamara, former NSA Executive Assistant to the Director, former NSA representative to the Department of Defense, former Deputy Director NSA, and 2020 Hall of Honor inductee.

George R. Cotter 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
George R. Cotter
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About George R. Cotter, former NSA Chief of Staff, NSA Chief Scientist, and 2020 Hall of Honor inductee.

Portrait of Minnie McNeal Kenny
Minnie McNeal Kenny
By | Dec. 15, 2020
The NSA career of Minnie McNeal Kenny, Hall of Honor and African American Honoree.

Dr. David Kahn

2020 Hall of Honor Inductee

Dr. David Kahn has had a major impact in making cryptologic history an academic field of study – and a popular one – more than any single individual has achieved.

In 1967 Dr. Kahn published The Codebreakers, a comprehensive survey of cryptology from Biblical times to the emergence and growth of NSA.  It drew on both archival research and interviews with American and European pioneers in the field, and today is essential reading for anyone wanting to know the discipline.  Kahn became a prolific author of books and articles on cryptologic history, and was founding editor of the journal Cryptologia.

Dr. Kahn served as Scholar-in-Residence at NSA’s Center for Cryptologic History (CCH) in 1993, which resulted in his landmark biography of Herbert Yardley, entitled The Reader of Gentleman’s Mail.  He spoke at many NSA events during his year with the CCH, and during his interactions with employees, hundreds told him they had first gotten into cryptology because of his writings.

Over his lifetime, Dr. Kahn accumulated a massive personal library of rare materials.  In 2010, he donated these to the National Cryptologic Museum, where they are now a cornerstone of its collections.

A journalist, scholar, and author with a career spanning more than half a century, Dr. David Kahn has done more than any single individual to educate the public, around the world, about the importance of cryptology to international peace and security.