Swede behind the encryption device that helped spy on the world

4:55 min

A Swede was behind the encryption devices that allowed the US and Germany to get classified information from 120 different countries during the Cold War. His brother-in-law found out through his own research and couldn't believe his eyes.

He told me many times 'I am sorry I cannot tell you what I have done during my life. If I could, you would think I was the biggest spy in the world'. And he was right,"

In a long article published this week, the newspaper The Washington Post describes how Crypto AG's encryption devices, that were sold to governments all over the world, were rigged in a way that allowed the US to easily break their codes. According to the paper, Crypto AG was "secretly owned by the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence".

Hagelin died in 1982, but Sixten Svensson never suspected anything while he was alive. All he knew was that Hagelin was a very wealthy man. At the beginning of 2010, Svensson was asked by a local history society to write an article about Hagelin, and that is when he started uncovering the secret about the man who was married to his sister.

Listen to the report to hear Sixten Svensson's story.