A decade ago, I argued that Crypto AG had rigged the equipment used by diplomats around the world allowing US Intelligence Agencies to decode in real-time their messages. This week, Swiss Media Group SRF Rundschau, German public broadcaster ZDF and the Washington Post have confirmed many details of the story after gaining access to a classified, comprehensive CIA history of the operation codenamed “Thesaurus” and later “Rubicon”. There are many issues to discuss. I will address them one at the time. In this post, I will review the suspicious circumstances regarding the death of Boris Hagelin Jr. just a few months after the Swiss Company was sold to the CIA. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
“My son Boris Jr., who met a tragic death in 1970, had an inventive mind, and his contributions when the post-war CX-type was designed were very important.”
The Story of Hagelin-Cryptos — Boris Hagelin (1981)
“Even the vice president of the BND assumed that Boris Hagelin Jr. was not the victim of an accident. It was an intelligence murder.”
Intelligence expert Erich Schmidt-Eenboom 
Over the last two decades, I have noticed that, more often than not, the very same facts are understood and reported very differently in the US and in Europe. The Crypto AG scandal is no exception.
Let us consider the story of Boris “Bo” Hagelin Jr. who died in rather suspicious circumstances.
The Washington Post barely mentions the event and summarily dismisses any doubt regarding the official version of his death.
“Hagelin had once hoped to turn control over to his son, Bo. But U.S. intelligence officials regarded him as a “wild card” and worked to conceal the partnership from him. Bo Hagelin was killed in a car crash on Washington’s Beltway in 1970. There were no indications of foul play.”
That paragraph is about half a percent of the entire piece… On the other hand, SRF Rundschau covers the subject more extensively, discussing the background of this event from about 9′ to 12′. That is about 5% of the entire documentary.
And if no evidence of “foul play” is reported, the documentary makes it clear that the BND assumed that Bo had been assassinated.
On 29/12/2007, I wrote the following in a piece titled The NSA-CRYPTO AG Sting:
” (…) while stranded in Buenos Aires, Boris Hagelin Jr. confided that he thought his father had been wrong to accept rigging the Crypto AG machines.
Stunned by the revelation, the engineer decided to take this matter directly to the head of Crypto AG. Boris Hagelin confirmed that the encryption methods were unsafe.
‘Different countries need different levels of security. The United States and other leading Western countries required completely secure communications. Such security would not be appropriate for the Third World countries that were Crypto’s customers,’ Boris Hagelin explained to the baffled engineer.”
On that day, Bo had crossed the Rubicon.
His father felt betrayed. Boris Hagelin never forgave and he never talked to his son again.
To the CIA, he was now a “wild card”.
There is no doubt that the CIA decided to get rid of him — at least from a legal point of view — and decided to take over the company knowing that their old partnership with Crypto AG could not survive with Bo at the helm.
On January 15 2012, Sixten Svensson — Brother-in-law of the late Boris Hagelin — told me the following:
“Boris Hagelin Junior was killed in Washington DC and died 17.11.1970. He lived 3 weeks in hospital before, but brain-dead.”
Like many, Svensson initially suspected foul play. But after years of research, he now believes that Bo may have actually committed suicide as the result of the dispute with his father and the sale of Crypto AG.
One thing is certain. Prior to his death, Bo made certain arrangements regarding his twin daughters that appear to imply that he did not expect to live much longer…
Near the end of the 1960s, Boris Hagelin (Born July 2, 1892) is finally considering retirement.
The big question for the CIA and the BND is how they will keep their secret deal with the new management.
Clearly, Boris Hagelin Jr. was the natural successor. However, he made it very clear that the company would not continue his father’s dirty business with the spooks.
A CIA document puts it rather bluntly:
“He [Boris Hagelin Jr.] was viewed (…) as a wild card in the deck who, if he discovered the true arragements, might try to derail them.”
Against the will of his son, Boris Hagelin decided to sell Crypto AG. The CIA and the BND bought the company on June 4 1970 for 25 million Swiss francs.
Hagelin Sr. then resigned from the board. Beside himself, only Boris Jr. and Sture Nyberg — to whom Hagelin had turned over day-to-day management — knew the CIA and the BND had acquired Crypto AG.
(Neither the Washington Post nor ZDF could locate Nyberg or determine if he is still alive.)
In November 1970, Boris Hagelin Jr. was killed in a car accident in Washington DC.
Boris Hagelin tried for many years to uncover the truth… Unsuccessfully.
While discussing the case of US Army bio-weapons expert Frank Olson, legendary American journalist Seymour Hersh famously said:
“He was letting them know that he was marching to a different drummer and you couldn’t do it back then. He was a man who was profoundly, profoundly distressed about what he was learning……..and he was dangerous.
Back then, if you thought somebody was detrimental to the cold war, you had no problem dealing with them.”
The words, it seems, apply perfectly to Boris Hagelin Jr. as well.
So, did the CIA assassinate Boris Hagelin Jr. ? Although there is — yet — no evidence, one thing is certain.
The CIA must have felt immensely relieved upon hearing the news of his death.
PS — Following the reports this week by Swiss public broadcaster SRF, German broadcaster ZDF and The Washington Post, the Swiss government has finally opened an investigation into the spying affair involving Crypto AG. Why did it take so long? They do not trust me? Hopefully, they will also open an investigation into the death of Bo Hagelin.
What do you think?
Intel Today would like to know what you think. Do you believe that Boris Hagelin Jr was murdered by the CIA?
The CRYPTO AG Affair — Documentary
The documentary ends with an interesting quote from Boris
Hagelin himself: “I am the 20th century’s greatest spy.”
Until this week, that quote was posted on the Intel Today blog…
And nowhere else!
Hagelin’s memoirs are expected to be published in 2033.
NB: If your German is a bit rusty, you can use the auto-translate feature to your preferred language. The ‘German to English’ option does a fairly good job.
 — Erich Schmidt-Eenboom is a well-known secret service expert and has published numerous books and articles on that matter. He is head of the Research Institute for Peace Policy in Bavaria.
Crypto AG — Was Boris Hagelin Jr Murdered by the CIA?