The ciphertext on one half of the main sculpture contains 869 characters in total—865 letters and 4 question marks. In April 2006, however, Sanborn released information stating that a letter was omitted on the main half of Kryptos "for aesthetic reasons, to keep the sculpture visually balanced." There are also a few incorrect letters in the ciphertext which Sanborn has said were intentional, and a few letters near the beginning of the bottom half have been displaced from their normal positions, apparently intentionally. The other half of the sculpture comprises a keyed Vigenère encryption tableau, consisting of 867 letters. One of the lines of the tableau is one character too long, which Sanborn has indicated was accidental.
Sanborn worked with a retiring CIA employee named Ed Scheidt, Chairman of the CIA Cryptographic Center, to come up with the cryptographic systems used on the sculpture. Sanborn has revealed that the sculpture contains a riddle within a riddle, which will be solvable only after the four encrypted passages have been decrypted. He has given conflicting information about the sculpture's answer, saying at one time that he gave the complete solution to then-CIA director William H. Webster during the dedication ceremony; but later, he also said that he had not given Webster the entire solution. He did, however, confirm that where in part two it says "Who knows the exact location? Only WW," "WW" was intended to refer to William Webster. Sanborn also confirmed that should he die before the entire sculpture becomes deciphered, there will be someone able to confirm the solution.
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