Saturday, December 7, 2013

"This Is Not A Drill": Intelligence Lessons From the Pearl Harbor Attack


It is not difficult to be stunned, even today, at the rapid course of events that unfolded on December 7, 1941.  Steeljaw Scribe captures the enormity in his blog post, "Air Raid Pearl Harbor. This Is Not A Drill"

Listen to President Roosevelt's address to be taken back and remember the true sense of national shock. Over 3400 casualties. 18 capital ships sunk, capsized or damaged.  188 planes lost.

"Attack A Surprise"  Recriminations were not in short supply, with many official and unofficial reports on bureaucratic, military and intelligence failures.  It was not until 1946, however, that the Congress published the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack.  The Report's Conclusions and Recommendations for national intelligence include issues that remain relevant today, as we observe threats both foreign and domestic:
"That effective steps be taken to insure that statutory or other restrictions do not operate to the benefit of an enemy or other forces inimical to the Nation's security and to the handicap of our own intelligence agencies.  With this in mind, the Congress should give serious study to, among other things, the Communications Act of 1934; to suspension in proper instances of the statute of limitations during war (it was impossible during the war to prosecute violations relating to the ''Magic" without giving the secret to the enemy); to legislation designed to prevent unauthorized sketching, photographing, and mapping of military and naval reservations in peacetime; and to legislation fully protecting the security of classified matter."

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