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For the academic institution abbreviated TICOM, see Tilburg Institute of Comparative and Transnational Law.

TICOM (Target Intelligence Committee) was a project formed in World War II by the United States to find and seize German intelligence assets, particularly signals intelligence and cryptographic ones.

It operated alongside other Western Allied efforts to extract German scientific and technological information and personnel during and after the war, including Operation Paperclip (for rocketry), Operation Alsos (for nuclear information) and Operation Surgeon (for avionics). Competition with the Soviet Union for these same spoils of war was intense, with direct payoffs including missile technology that led both to a heightened Cold War stalemate and landing a man on the Moon.


German prisoners prepare the "Russian Fish" for loading and shipment to England, June 1945.

The project was stimulated chiefly by the US military cryptography organizations, and had support from the highest levels. Several teams were sent into the field immediately behind the fighting front.

Captured German cryptographic personnel revealed that, at least amongst the cryptographers, the Enigma was clearly recognized as breakable. They had simply assumed that no one would go to the immense trouble required for the only attacks they could see.[clarification needed] In April 1945, a TICOM team found Russian code and cipher material in a German cryptanalytic center.[1]

FA discovery[edit]

In spite of TICOM and Allied intelligence efforts, the discovery of the Nazi Party's top secret FA signals intelligence and cryptanalytic agency at the Kaufbeuren Air Base in southern Bavaria at war's end came as a total surprise.[2] The province of Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring, it has been described as "the richest, most secret, the most Nazi, and the most influential" of all the German cryptoanalytic intelligence agencies.[3]

Related efforts[edit]

In Operation Stella Polaris the Finnish signals intelligence unit was evacuated to Sweden after the end of the Continuation War. The records, including cryptographic material, ended up in the hands of Americans.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rezabek, 2012
  2. ^ "FA (Nazi Party) - TICOM Archive". 
  3. ^ David Kahn, Hitler's Spies. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 1978 p.180


  • Rezabek, Randy. "TICOM: The Last Great Secret of World War II," Intelligence and National Security (2012) 27#4 pp513-530
  • Body of Secrets, by James Bamford (includes material on the TICOM take)