Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Have some Hors D'Oeuvres with that Campaigne

Linda has reminded me  that Twigsnapper once pointed her toward Howard Campaigne, saying it was he who had sent him away from Townsend's side before his (TTB's) WWII mission imploded. Supposedly, Campaigne objected to Townsend's bodyguard and escort being a Royal Marine.

Mr./Dr. Campaigne's own recollections of that time, if not  of that particular event, are posted here as a downloadable .pdf.

To  sum up: As a newly minted (1938) Ph.D. and mathematics faculty member at the University of Minnesota, Campaigne liked to  play around  with crytoanalysis systems in his spare time. He offered up one of his designs to the Army and they told him all of their crypto work was co-ordinated with the Navy, and he should go through them.

When war broke out in Europe,  he was offered a commission in the US Navy.  Toward war's end he was at  Bletchley Park working with the Brits on TUNNY, a machine intended to help break the German High Command's FISH code.  His particular area of interest was in learning how to replicate the FISH technology and he was sent on one of the very first Technical Information Commitee (TICOM) missions to collect classified crypto information before it fell into the hands of the Russians.

 Colonel George A. Bicher, the director of the U.S. Signal Intelligence Division in Europe, conceived of TICOM in the summer of 1944. The organization was so secret that even today, more than half a century later, all details concerning its operations and activities remain classified higher than Top Secret by both the American and British governments. In 1992, the director of the National Security Agency extended the secrecy order until the year 2012, making TICOM probably the last great secret of the Second World War.

Campaigne was in Paris on May 2nd, and  on  his assignment the next day which was  the day the war ended. He says:

A. Now there some other teams in northern Germany and I never did find out what all they got, but they did get things.
Q. Was it a combined British/American team?
A. Yes. Yes. Joint combined, my team when we went over the second time I had a British solider, an Intelligence Corps officer, and I had a British Navy officer and six or eight enlisted men ot various types.
This narrative seems to place his first trip at War's end, at the opposite end of Germany from Townsend's concurrent northern expedition. However, Mr. Twigsnapper has also been known to give out [wrong] information just to point someone in a desired direction.

Is it possible that , not understanding the joint command nature of the TICOM situation until his second assignment, Campaigne simply heard about Twigsnapper's presence  and had him removed via transmittal of a radio order from London?

But why? Linda's hypothesis is that he somehow knew in advance that the meeting ahead was compromised (from Bletchley's big ears? ) and ordered Twigsnapper away before he could fulfill his mission directive of killing Townsend rather than allowing him to fall into enemy arms.

head hurts now.
moving on...

Anyway Campaigne retired as a reserve Captain with the Naval Security Command, but spent the bulk of his professional career in the crypto end of signals intelligence, working on progressive and  sophisticated computer systems from  ATLAS forward.

Although he missed out on  LIL ABNER, "the brute'. Campaigne says that the  program was conducted in parallel with ATLAS development by a (censored) organizational counterpart. He would have been referring to the design bifurcation of the first computers commissioned for the newly born twin INTS: COM and SIG.

LIL still seems to be a well-hidden topic; however, I seem to recall that someone claimed that it was created for ECM/ECW (electronic countermeasures and warfare) purposes. This makes complete sense as these elements are at the the heart and soul of the SIGINT functions, and this particular section of the good Dr. Campaigne's story is  more heavily redacted than the rest of his tale.
One other activity Campaigne was quite proud of was his contribution (in the very early fifties) to the selection of optimum radio intercept locations around the world.  at the same time He was working on this project, Brown's propulsion and communications demonstration was being held at Pearl Harbor, reportedly for the benefit of President Truman.

History says that Truman's meeting with General MacArthur was set for Wake Island at the General's convenience. (Since when do generals dictate terms to Presidents?)  Truman flew from San Francisco to Hawaii, for an overnight stay before proceeding to Wake. The pilots' logbooks in the Truman libary mention that that they had used an impressive new com system  that allowed them to remain in constant in touch with the Naval and Coast Guard ships (and submarine) strung out across the Pacific on the first leg of the journey.

Campaigne's mention of the power of antipodal reception points makes me wonder just what the distance range of the new system might actually have been.

And finally, Campaigne delivers this juicy tidbit:
One of the things that happened in '57 to '59 is that we gave some money to a joint program on satellites. And it got down to the Pentagon, they said what in the hell is NSA doing with satellites? And they wouldn't leave it alone,
And THAT wrangle ended in the NRO compromise. Satellites would not belong to either the NSA or the Pentagon, but to an entirely new agency. Which is .99999 percent likely why Townsend was attending regular meetings in Chantilly, Virginia in the summer of 1960. Chantilly was to become the home of the new agency.

All in all,  .06 degrees of separation between the Townsend's and Howard's work, I'd say.

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