Unsolved Secret C.I.A. Code

A sculpture nestled in the courtyard of C.I.A. headquarters contains four secret codes. To date, three have been uncovered, but the fourth remains a mystery.

It is perhaps one of the C.I.A.’s most mischievous secrets. "Kryptos," the sculpture nestled in a courtyard of the agency’s Virginia headquarters since 1990, is a work of art with a secret code embedded in the letters that are punched into its four panels of curving copper. "Our work is about discovery—discovering secrets," said Toni Hiley, director of the C.I.A. Museum. "And this sculpture is full of them, and it still hasn’t given up the last of its secrets." Not for lack of trying. For many thousands of would-be code crackers worldwide, "Kryptos" has become an object of obsession.