Leo Rosen

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Leo Rosen was a U.S. cryptanalyst who worked with Frank Rowlett at Signals Intelligence Service (S.I.S.) before the start of World War II on Japanese ciphers. Rowlett found a method to read the messages enciphered on the Japanese PURPLE machine. Rosen deduced correctly the mechanism of the cipher machine, even though the mechanism used by PURPLE was substantially different from other machines (such as the wired rotor and pinwheel machines).

Rosen built a replica of PURPLE which turned out (when a machine was found years later) to use exactly the same telephone selector switches in common use at that time in the U.S. This machine was used to decode the Japanese diplomatic messages, sometimes before the Japanese ambassadors had themselves. Rosen also contributed his engineering talents during and after the war at Arlington Hall, after the S.I.S. became the Army Security Agency, later to become AFSA and finally the present National Security Agency.

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