If you were intrigued by my numbers station post a while ago, you'll definitely want to read this story about the numbers from today's Washington Post. It has all the usual information about the Lincolnshire Poacher, and the station we call V2, which probably comes out of Cuba, but it has new information I've never seen in another story before: official recognition by the the US that numbers stations are, indeed, intended for spies:
While hobbyists guess at the meaning of each cryptic message or which spy service sent it, it's no mystery to intelligence officials, who confirmed the purpose is espionage.
The signals are too strong to be made by amateurs and are often on licensed frequencies. The State Department once complained to the Israeli Embassy in Washington that "E10" was blocking a U.S. broadcast, a source said.
"I can't imagine who else would waste the time in front of a microphone reading numbers" but a spy, said James Bamford, who has written about intelligence. Bamford calls number stations "simple but effective" spycraft.
"It's extremely effective," agreed a senior intelligence official. "If you have a one-time pad, the code can't be broken, and you can send out dummy broadcasts as much as you want to confuse your enemy."