Friday, July 22, 2016

North Korea Revives Coded Spy Numbers Broadcasts

In an era of sophisticated spycraft, North Korea appears to be returning to the days of shortwave radio.

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The North broadcast a series of seemingly random numbers on Pyongyang Radio twice recently, an eerie reminder of the days when the North encrypted messages to its spies in South Korea.

In the latest episode last Friday, an announcer read what she described as “a mathematics review assignment for investigative agent No. 27,” engaged in a “distance learning” program.

“Turn to Page 459, No. 35; Page 913, No. 55; Page 135, No. 86,” she said, continuing to cite numbers for 14 minutes.Decades ago, it was not unusual for late-night radio listeners in the South to hear mysterious numbers arriving on static-filled signals from the North. more