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Lektor/Spektor

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The Lektor (named Spektor in the novel) was a fictional cipher machine developed and used by Soviet Intelligence to protect commercial, diplomatic and military communication. The device first appeared in the 1957 novel From Russia, with Love and was subsequently seen in its 1963 film adaptation. The device also made an appearance during the 2005 video game of the same name.

Background

The central plot device of From Russia with Love, the Lektor/Spektor was a highly sought-after decoding machine, used by Soviet Intelligence to de-compile coded and highly sensitive documents. The unit is described as roughly the same size as a typewriter; and was in a brown leather case. Inside it contained small buttons, a coded data strip was inserted into a slot, and out of another slot came the decoded message on a strip of paper.

An offer of the machine was received by MI6 in London, ostensibly from Soviet cipher clerk Tatiana Romanova, and contained the condition that Bond was to collect her and the machine in Istanbul. MI6 is unsure of Romanova's story, but the prize of the decoder is too tempting to ignore and Bond's superior, M, orders him to go to Turkey and meet her. In both the novel and its film adaptation, the machine is used as bait for Bond, whom the antagonists (SMERSH in the novel, SPECTRE in the film) wish to humiliate and kill. In the novel the device has been booby-trapped to explode when examined, whereas its film counterpart is a genuine device which SPECTRE intends to sell back to the Soviets.

Behind the scenes

The Spektor machine was not a Cold War device, but had its roots in the World War II Enigma machine, which author Ian Fleming had tried to obtain from the Germans during his time in Naval Intelligence Division.[1]

References

  1. Chancellor, Henry (2005). James Bond: The Man and His World. London: John Murray, p.97. ISBN 978-0-7195-6815-2. 

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