With a little help from Aristotle and the infamous Soviet spy, Harry Gold.
In the course of his interrogation, Rumrich divulged some information on how the Nazi spy ring operated. For example, he explained how as a means of identification, he would receive one half of a torn postcard that would be reconciled with the other half carried by one of his fellow agents.
NThe Nazi Spy Ring in America – Rhodi Jeffreys-Jones.
In a fragment ascribed to Aristotle’s Constitution of Ithaca, the Spartans repeatedly used a pair of sticks (skutálē) as a simple encryption device. A long piece of leather was wrapped around a stick of a particular diameter and a message was written on it. The message could not be read without being wrapped around around a stick of the same diameter.
The Aristotlian fragment gives another version of the skutálē as it was used in financial transactions in Sparta. Discourides cut the skutálē in the presence of witnesses and wrote the corresponding part on each segment to signify a contract or bond (sumbolaoin). He would give one part to one of the witnesses and keep the other himself. This suggests what might have been a more precise function in wartime.
Aristotle’s Empiricism – Jean De Groot.
After wrapping up the details of the Fuchs meeting, the handler told (Harry) Gold something surprising: the Soviets had a second mole inside Los Alamos. This mole would be in Albuquerque, not far from Santa Fe, while Gold was visiting, so Gold needed to make a side trip there to pick up additional papers from a man named Greenglass.
The handler then gave Gold half a Jell-O box top, which had been cut into a jigsaw shape. He passed the puzzle piece over to Gold. You’ll know it’s Greenglass, he said, because he’ll have the other half.
Harry Gold: Spy in the Lab – Sam Kean April 25, 2019. https://www.sciencehistory.org/distillations/harry-gold-spy-in-the-lab
Somerton Beach, 1948.
The plan was for one agent to receive a copy of a book (Rubaiyat) with the part of the last page containing the two words Tamam Shud removed. The other agent was to receive the removed slip of paper. Upon meeting they would reconcile both the tear in the book and the Tamam Shud slip. With that completed to their satisfaction, whatever needed to done would be done.
Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances were their undoing and the agent carrying the TS slip was found dead on the morning after their meeting was planned to have taken place,* aware of this the other agent disposed of his Rubaiyat through the open window of a car parked nearby rather than be caught with it in his possession.
Given that contact was known to exist between both agents and Harkness: one being the existence of her phone number on the back of the abandoned Rubaiyat, the other her reaction at being shown the bust of the dead man found to be carrying the TS slip, it is suspected she was responsible for covertly distributing both the book and the TS slip.
As far as the code found inscribed on the back of the Rubaiyat is concerned, it may have been something written by a previous owner as the book was likely sourced by Harkness second-hand rather than bought new. Her choice of a Rubaiyat as a means of covert identification is not surprising as she was known to have a strong attachment to the book, as evidenced by her gift of an inscribed copy to a wartime acquaintance some years previously.
Speculation has it that the reason both the body and abandoned Rubaiyat were found so close to Harkness’ home is that not only did she covertly distribute the book and slip, she also advised the agents where would be the best time and place for them to meet.
*If we were to believe that the man who saw a man carrying a man along the beach on the night of the 30th was watching the Somerton Man being taken to the bottom of the steps, already dead, then perhaps the man doing the carrying was the individual SM was meant to meet and the meeting and his death took place at 90A Moseley St. A scenario that might explain the body’s lividity, and after completing the carry he abandoned the Rubaiyat by slipping it into Freeman’s auto, not realising Harkness’ phone number was written on the back.