WASHINGTON, DC—In a carefully phrased, 128-bit encoded announcement that has challenged U.S. security agency procedures, top officials of the National Cryptography and Information Security Council warned that "FrpX-K5jE-Oc4n-e5Dn" if "Ha4d-87gH-uiH3-gB5r-g8Bh" late Monday.

"It may be true, as these codemakers have stated here, that our nation faces 'm7Hk-sJkd-jJk73-4osd-m6Kh,'" Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff told reporters in his plaintext response Tuesday. "But in our defense, I would hardly call our situation 'K5jE-Oc4n.'"

The NCISC declined further comment, saying only that its remarks were meant as constructive criticism, and the CIA, NSA, and FBI may have misinterpreted the message.