A significant clue to solving K3 may be discovered by looking into the whirlpool at the base of the Kryptos Tableau. Sanborn mentioned in his 1989 letter to CIA Agency employees that he “also uses another symbol; water. In a small pool on the plaza, partly surrounded by the copper plate, water will be turbulent and provocative…” He later describes this movement of water as representative of the dissemination of information. Water is central to the composition of his work. “…between two massive outcroppings, water will be calm, reflective, contemplative.”
What would one see when peering into the swirling water? If the surface is reflective, a phantom image would appear inside the well. Depending on the viewer’s angle, either the Vigenere Tableau or the Kryptos ciphertext would appear as though it were inside this basin. It would also have the appearance of some force attempting to twist or turn the text.
We now know that k3 is a rotational transposition. Does this mean an agent in the field would be trained to discover a key or method by peering into water? Looking into the whirlpool, a tableau appears to start turning. What is reflected in the calm “reflection pool?” Is there a key in that coy pond? Consistent with the theme of Kryptos, the images appearing in the mirror-like surface of water gives the illusion that an alternate space exists below that surface — a space that doesn’t exist except through the antipodes of that which exists above it. Could the water be drained from these containment areas, no phantom would exist.
Pad to 24 x 14 and rotate clockwise 90 degrees:
Pad into 8 columns, then rotate 90 degrees clockwise again: