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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.

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.

Dr. David Kahn, 2020 Hall of Honor inductee
Dr. David Kahn
By | Dec. 15, 2020
About Dr. David Kahn, Journalist, Author, former NSA Scholar-in-Residence, 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. Whitfield Diffie

2020 Hall of Honor Inductee

Dr. Whitfield Diffie is a globally renowned pioneer in computer security, best known for his 1975 joint invention of Public-Key Cryptology.  Public Key now underlies all secure electronic commerce and stimulated development of an entirely new class of encryption process.

During and after a career in industry, Diffie has been a policy advocate for communication privacy rights with strong cryptography as a primary tool. He has been a frequent presenter at computer security conferences, published numerous articles, and co-authored the book Privacy on the Line, an influential study that addressed issues and policies related to law enforcement and national security.  He has testified before Congressional subcommittees regarding computer security and privacy.

Another historic Diffie insight was the “digital signature.” With this advance, digitally transmitted documents could easily – and for the first time – be irrefutably confirmed and documented, with an immense impact on commerce, as well as command and control systems.

Diffie maintains good relations with NSA, while remaining a respectful critic when necessary. The Phoenix Society inducted him as an honorary member.  He has served on the Board of the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation and has made presentations at the biennial Cryptologic History Symposium.  Unique among independent cryptographers, Diffie is, in many ways, a member of the NSA family.