John Kelly’s timely appreciation of former Post managing editor Alfred Friendly, “Alfred Friendly is part of the story that viewers of ‘The Post’ don’t get to see” [Metro, Jan. 17], reminded readers of Friendly’s importance to modern American journalism. It, however, contained a minor misunderstanding. In World War II, Friendly’s role was not one in which “he helped run Bletchley Park, the famed [British] code-breaking facility.” Friendly was indeed at Bletchley during the war. However, unlike a small group of Americans headed by William Bundy, a future assistant secretary at State and Defense, who had a small but direct part in Bletchley’s code-breaking operations, Friendly was a U.S. Army intelligence officer who took the raw decrypts of German Enigma traffic produced by the British and converted them into information that could be used by Allied commanders at the front.
Friendly was not involved personally in Bletchley’s code-breaking efforts, nor did he in any sense oversee them. Friendly published some wonderful reminiscences of his time at Bletchley, the somewhat mistitled “Confessions of a Code Breaker” [The Post, Oct. 27, 1974]. Among his wartime colleagues was the future Nuremberg prosecutor and Columbia University law professor Telford Taylor, who headed the liaison unit.
David Sherman, Chevy Chase
The writer is retired from the National Security Agency.