[Congressional Record Volume 143, Number 143 (Wednesday, October 22, 1997)]
[Pages S10996-S10997]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


 Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, the National Security Agency has 
recently lost to retirement its deputy director, William P. Crowell. As 
David Kahn has recently written in Newsday, Mr. Crowell has taken NSA 
and ``brought the super-secret spy organization into its public, post-
Cold War posture.'' For too long, we have been learning our cold war 
history from Soviet Archives. Bill Crowell set about to change that at 
the National Security Agency. He directed the establishment of the 
National Cryptologic Museum, which I have visited and commend to my 
colleagues, and helped to make public the hugely important VENONA 
  The VENONA intercepts comprise over 2,000 coded Soviet diplomatic 
messages between Moscow and its missions in North America. The NSA and 
its predecessors spent some four decades decoding what should have been 
an unbreakable Soviet code. Led by Meredith Gardner, these 
cryptanalysts painstakingly decoded these messages word by word. They 
would then pass on the decoded messages to the FBI, which conducted 
extensive investigations to determine the identities of the Soviet 
agents mentioned in the messages. The resulting VENONA decrypts detail 
the Soviet espionage effort in the United States during and after the 
Second World War.
  We need access to much more of this type of information. Not only 
does VENONA allow us to learn our history, but in releasing it to the 
public, not insignificant gaps in the government's knowledge of this 
material are being filled. For instance, the identity of one of the 
major atomic spies at Los Alamos was recently discovered by clever 
journalists using the published VENONA messages. Joseph Albright and 
Marcia Kunstel of Cox News and, working independently, Michael Dobbs of 
The Washington Post, identified the agent codenamed MLAD as Theodore 
Alvin Hall, a 19-year-old physicist working at Los Alamos. Hall 
provided crucial details of the design of the atomic bomb which enabled 
the Soviet Union to develop a replica of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
  Bill Crowell recognized the historic value of VENONA and played an 
important role in getting this material released, along with Dr. John 
M. Deutch, and with the gentle prodding of the Commission on Protecting 
and Reducing Government Secrecy. Mr. Crowell should receive a medal for 
his work.
  Mr. Crowell retires after a long career of government service. He 
served as a senior executive of the National Security Agency for 17 
years. He was appointed Deputy Director of the agency by the President 
in 1994. In addition to his work which has already been described, Mr. 
Crowell has worked in recent years to help craft a responsible 
Administration policy regarding encryption technology. I ask to have 
the article by David Kahn in Newsday, which announces his retirement 
and highlights some of his accomplishments, printed in the Record. I 
salute Mr. Crowell for his dedicated service and wish him well in his 
future pursuits.
  The article follows:

                      [From Newsday, Oct. 6, 1997]

    National Security Official Retires--Helped Refocus Agency's Aims

                            (By David Kahn)

       The National Security Agency has said goodbye to its 
     retiring deputy director, who largely brought the super-
     secret spy organization into its public, post-Cold War 
       William P. Crowell was the force behind the establishment 
     of the National Cryptologic Museum, which exhibits what had 
     been some of the nation's deepest secrets; the revelation of 
     the VENONA project, which broke Soviet spy codes early in the 
     Cold War; and the National Encryption Policy, which seeks to 
     balance personal privacy with national security.
       Succeeding Crowell will be Barbara McNamara, who, like 
     Crowell, is a career employee of the agency, which breaks 
     foreign codes and makes American Codes for the United States 
       McNamara is the second female deputy director of the 
     agency. The first, Ann Z. Caracristi, who served from 1980 to 
     1982, is the sister of the late Newsday photographer Jimmy 
       More than 500 present and past members of the agency 
     attended Crowell's recent retirement ceremony at its glossy, 
     triple-fenced headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. They applauded 
     as he was presented with awards for his intelligence and 
     executive services and with a folded American flag that had 
     flow over the agency.

[[Page S10997]]

       They laughed as a picture, claimed to be his retirement 
     portrait, was unveiled: It was a photograph of Crowell, 
     notorious for his love of motorcycles, astride his fancy 
     bike. During his acceptance speech, Crowell choked up when he 
     thanked his wife, Judy, a former agency employee and fellow 
     motorcyclist, for her help.
       The agency director, Air Force Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minihan, 
     recited some of the administrative landmarks of Crowell's 
       Crowell, 58, a native of Louisiana, began in New York City 
     in 1962 as an agency recruiter. In 1969, when he sought an 
     assignment to operations, he became instead an executive 
     assistant to the then-director. He eventually got to 
     operations, where he rose to be chief of W group, whose 
     function remains secret, and then chief of A group, which 
     focused on the then-Soviet Union. After a year in private 
     industry, he rose through other posts to the deputy 
     directorship on Feb. 2, 1994.
       Among his organizational accomplishments were conceiving a 
     crisis action center and linking the agency with other 
     producers of intelligence to improve information exchange.
       His more public initiatives included the museum and the 
     VENONA disclosures, which sought to maintain public support 
     for the agency after the disappearance of the Soviet Union. 
     The National Encryption Policy seeks to enable the agency to 
     read the messages of terrorists and international criminals 
     who use computer-based, unbreakable ciphers while enabling 
     individuals to use good cryptosecurity to preserve such 
     rights as security on the Internet.