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Cracking & auditing crypto protocols

>There is no way that the selected group of people could crack a 
>half-reasonable cryptosystem in a few weeks.  Real Cryptanalysts spend
>months and years working on cracking cryptosystems, and none of the
>panelists was a Real Cryptanalyst.  We had all the details of DES,
>and it took 15 years to make a dent in it.

I knew one of the panelists, Ernie Brickell, when we were both at
Bellcore.  Of the five, he's probably the only one with claim to the
term Real Cryptanalyst, as we usually define the term (someone with a
proven track record in cracking real cryptosystems.)  He is generally
credited with putting the final nail into the coffin of the knapsack
public-key cryptosystem.  I was very disappointed when I heard that he
had agreed to let himself be used for such a crass political purpose
as the Clipper Committee.

Other than this minor point, your statement is absolutely correct.
The best known Real Cryptanalyst in civilian life, Adi Shamir, wasn't
involved, and even he took fifteen years to make the first dent in