Brickell and Sandia
billp at nmol.com
Wed Mar 4 18:51:16 PST 1998
Wednesday 3/4/98 6:59 PM
While trying to recover from the stomach flu, I am going over your stuff
You wrote at [Brickell-Gemmell-Kravitz.]
Sandia National Laboratories have created the digital cash equivalent
of the Clipper chip: an "anonymous"
digital cash system that would give participants privacy from all
viewers, except for the government agencies
that would control the secret keys required for backdoor access.
Why is Sandia interested in digital cash systems? Well, Sandia is
responsible for all non-nuclear components
of nuclear weapons. The security of nuclear weapons depends partly on
cryptology. The code- breaking
National Security Agency (NSA), for example, is responsible for the
communication security of the
Minuteman missile, as well as the codes by which the President must
identify himself to authorize a nuclear
Brickell and Simmons were in the COMPUTATIONAL/COMPUTER SCIENCES & MATH
directorate 1400, at Sandia.
I worked in the ELECTRONIC SUBSYSTEMS CENTER, directorate 2300,
division 2311, when I was project leader of the Missile Secure
Cryptographic Unit, the small missile, [between about 1982-86].
All of the nuclear bomb crypto implmentation work was done in 2300, not
The MAIN difference is that the 2300 people were a bunch of PRACTICAL
engineers and REAL-PRACTICAL software types. NOT theoreticians.
Gus Simmon once tried to get into the implentation business.
Simmons bought an Intel 320 [?] development system. The Intel 320 was a
piece of junk and nothing happened with Simmons implementation work.
Simmons try, naturally, caught the attention of 2300 management, for
business reasons, of course.
I LOVE reading all of this stuff from a Sandia historical standpoint.
The REAL WORLD of Sandia crypto stuff in pockmarked by some REAL
SCREW-UPS. Which all
of us implementers shared so as not to commit the same mistakes again.
I asked my department manager, Kent Parsons, how the screw-ups affected
him. He responded that
it made him sleepy. These were MULTI- if not HUNDREDS- million dollar
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