10:58 GMT15 August 2020
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    The fourth message encrypted on a sculpture at CIA headquarters in Virginia is widely known as one of the most famous unresolved codes in the world.

    Speaking to CNN, American artist Jim Sanborn, who created an enigmatic sculpture on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) back in 1990, expressed surprise over the mystery of the sculpture's four encrypted messages not having been solved yet.

    In the 1980s, Sanborn was commissioned to create a sculpture to be displayed at CIA headquarters in Virginia, something that apparently prompted him to create a puzzling installation with at least four secret messages in it, three of which have already been solved.  

    "I didn't think it would go on this long - thirty years - without being deciphered", he said, in an apparent nod to the fourth message, which certainly remains a challenge to the world's most advanced cryptographers.

    "I cut with jigsaws, by hand, almost 2,000 letters", Sanborn explained, referring to the Kryptos sculpture and adding that he wanted encoded text messages "to reveal itself like peeling layers off an onion".

    He praised efforts by noted cryptologist Elonka Dunin to solve the fourth message, insisting that she "probably knows more about Kryptos than I know".

    Dunin earlier created a website pertaining to Kryptos, which helped her form a community of those interested in deciphering the fourth Kryptos code as soon as possible.

    "Some of them are professional code breakers. Some of them are students”, she told CNN, adding that she cannot say when the Kryptos mystery would finally be solved.

    "I would feel, personally, an immense feeling of relief [if the fourth message is deciphered]. It would be off my plate. […] I wouldn't be distraught if it ended tomorrow", Dunin stressed.

    She also said that she doesn't care who deciphers the mystery, adding, "it doesn't have to be me; I want to see it solved".

    Over past three decades, members of the CIA and the US National Security Agency (NSA), as well as the general public have managed to decipher three of the four encoded messages on the Kryptos sculpture.

    The first one refers to "the nuance of iqlusion" lying "between subtle shading and the absence of light", with the word illusion deliberately misspelled by Sanborn.

    The second message also includes a misspelling, singling out latitude and longitude coordinates for the CIA, as well as referring to "WW", a nod to CIA head William Webster who was at the helm of the agency in 1990.

    As far as the third message is concerned, it contains a paraphrased quotation from archaeologist Howard Carter's account of the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamun in November 1922. It seems that interconnecting all four messages to read as one remains another tough nut to crack.  

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    mystery, sculpture, headquarters, CIA, India United States
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