The Gist

The Nazi-Busting Woman Erased by History

Elizebeth Smith’s code-breaking genius helped America win two world wars, but the FBI took all the credit.  

William and Elizebeth Friedman cracked codes used by America’s enemies in both world wars.

National Cryptologic Museum/Wikimedia

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Elizebeth Smith got her start poring over Shakespearean verse for secret messages that were not there. But she soon used those skills to break codes used by America’s enemies in both world wars. The FBI took credit for her decryptions of Nazi messages, and her husband’s work received much greater attention from the wars’ historians. Jason Fagone changes that with his latest book,­ The Woman Who Smashed Codes, and joins Mike to talk about it.

In the Spiel, Mike surveys famous comedians’ reactions to Louis C.K.’s admitted sexual misconduct.

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