NRC Next Espionage Puzzles

Dutch newspaper NRC.Next features a weekly espionage puzzle designed by Ruben pater. I was asked to participate and since then contributed multiple designs.




NSA Spy Satellite program

Since the late 50s U.S. secret services NRO, NSA and CIA regularly launch reconnaissance satellites, also called spy satellites. There are six top-secret spy programs, from which the last one is still active.

By rotating the letters in their orbit around earth to find the five given names, the name of the program that is still active can be discovered. The inner orbit contains the first letter of each name and has a fixed position.



Since 2005, the NSA has known six whistleblowers who have leaked sensitive information on various covert intelligence activities. The best known and most recent of which is Edward Snowden, who leaked information about the PRISM program.

Who are the other five whistleblowers?




TOR Network

Several government agencies, including the NSA and the UK’s GCHQ, are actively looking for ways to compromise the Tor network, which is used by people all over the world to avoid surveillance, internet restrictions and oppressive regimes, but it can also be used for criminal or terrorist activities.

To accomplish this, the NSA relies on its vast capability to monitor large parts of the internet. This is done via the agency’s partnership with US telecoms firms under 4 secret programs.

What are the codenames of these 4 secret programs?