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27

THURSDAY

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My father’s monthly retirement newsletter taught me more about shadowy government agencies than all the episodes of The X-Files I’ve ever seen: “This newsletter is for former National Security Agency members and their immediate families only. It is not to be distributed amongst the general public and should be destroyed after having been read.” If the powers that be are this tight-lipped about new office decorating schemes, it seems miraculous that John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr were able, with the help of Congress, to consult thousands of documents about the once-ultra-secret program to decipher the “unbreakable” cryptography used by the Soviet Union in the ’40s. Their new book, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, details the history of the project, which started just after World War II and was housed in a former girls’ school in Northern Virginia. Or at least that’s what they want us to think….Haynes discusses Venona at noon at the National Archives, Room 105, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. (202) 501-5000. (Brian Nelson)