Topic: Debunking of stinnett's criticism of kahn, et. al.
started by: pjacobsen
Posted by pjacobsen on Dec. 11 2002,6:27Preface
On December 2, 2002, Robert B. Stinnett, issued a "hit-piece" entitled "The Pearl Harbor Deception" against David Kahn, Stephen Budiansky and Edward Drea, some of the most respected writers in the cryptologic field who brought to light some of the terrible scholarship and unsuportable views in Stinnet's book, "Day of Deceit.
This "article" was made available on-line by Stinnett's co-opted conservative advocacy group, The Independent Institute, which by no surprise is located in his own home town, Oakland and has served as a advocacy stump for Stinnett on many occasions. It can also be found on-line on The History Channel, World War II board.
Here is a quick rebutal of Stinnett's accusations against Kahn, Budiansky and Drea written pretty much off the cuff. Those who saw Stinnett's hasty retreat on our brief debate on The Battle of Midway Roundtable recently will recognize that it was Stinnett, not his reviewers above, that misquoted and turned the whole intent and thrust of one small part of Rocheforts Comint Summary of 25 November 1941 which focused on the "extensive communications" of Vice Admiral Inoue, CinC Fourth Fleet, by making erroneous claims that this report proved that Vice Admiral Nagumo, CinC 1st Air Fleet, broke radio silence and was located by U.S. Navy direction finders.
I will let the readers decide from themselves who violated journalistic ethics and who uses tabloid journalism techniques.
Subject Debunking Stinnett's charges against Kahn, Budiansky and Drea.
While at the doctor's office waiting for my wife, I jotted down some quick thoughts on Stinnett's latest rejoinder [of December 2, 2002] to some reviews by the a few of the most respected writers in the cryptologic field. I guess I should be disappointed that he did not include my "A Cryptologic Veteran's Analysis of Day of Deceit - a Book Review" published in the "Cryptolog" and "Cryptologia" and myself personally in his critcism. For some unexplained reason this omission was made even though he mentioned me and David Kahn in the "afterward" portion of the paperback version of his book. Perhaps, it was his quick departure from our on-line debate on the Battle of Midway roundtable that led to this omission. There he also attacked me personally as using "tabloid journalism techniques," which is much like the kettle calling the pot black.
Stinnett appears to infer that the release of the Crane (Indiana) Naval Security Group Depository records was due to his FOIA requests. In fact, the declassification of these files was only awaiting the completion of Archives II at College Park, Maryland as there was insufficient space in the Washington, D.C. or Suitland NA facilities. Stinnett fails to mention that these files were "opened up" to a select number of other researchers besides himself including for one, Stephen Budiansky.
Stinnett claims that David Kahn, Edward Drea and Stephen Budiansky have ties with NSA that taint their views, but provides no proof of such bias. I know for a fact that Kahn refused a position with NSA's Center for Cryptologic History so he would be free to write anything he wished in his book, "The Codebreakers." I can assure everyone that neither Budiansky nor Drea have any ties to NSA that would affect their writings. Yes, I was assigned to NSA from 1957-1960 as a new Ensign (LDO) but even I am not beholding to NSA for any reason either.
As to the withholding of certain Crane (RG38) documents, my experience from many NA visits including the last one in September this year shows that relatively few such withdrawal requests are in evidence and I saw no indication that these few withdrawals were for any significant historical documents in the Pearl Harbor arena. Furthermore, Stinnett admitted he freely had a year's access to these documents and made thousands of copies of the documents he thought were significant to his revisionist conspiracy theory. I note he does not identify any specific document that has been "withdrawn." Therefore, I see little for him to complain of except to pound on his unsupported claims of continuing coverup. It has been reported that some of the withdrawals are temporary by NSA's Center for Cryptologic History and other DOD historical studies and that they will be returned when those studies are completed.
It is Stinnett and not Kahn who "rewrote" a U.S. Naval Communications (sic) [Intelligence] Summary prepared by Commander Rochefort ..." I had better put in those extra two periods that Kahn neglected to add undoubtedly for space reasons or I will be also be accused again of violating journalistic ethics. As you will see when I am finished, Stinnett had to really resort to extremely small nit picks to even begin to accuse his critics of making errors.
Stinnett is the one who is guilty of completely rewriting Rochefort's Comint Summary of 25 November 1941 that he most vigorously attacks Kahn for. On pages 162-163 of "Day of Deceit, he says,
"The first to ignore Yamamoto's silence order was Vice Admiral Nagumo. As he departed Hitokappu Bay at 60 A.M. on 26 (Tokyo time) HE HELD EXTENSIVE RADIO EXCHANGES WITH JAPAN'S CENTRAL PACIFIC COMMANDER AND THE SUMBMARINE FORCE COMMANDER. THEIR THREE-WAY CONVERSATIONS WERE INTERCEPTED BY STATION H OPERATORS AT MIDMORNING ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25. (Emphasis added).
Joseph Rochefort revealed the Nagumo broadcasts directly to Admiral Kimmel in the Communications (sic) [Intelligence] Summary dated November 25 but delivered to the Admiral the next morning. "COMMANDER CARRIERS WAS IN EXTENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE SUBMARINE COMMANDER AND CENTRAL PACIFIC FORCES. (Emphasis added) (note 43) Rochefort's source was the intercept operators at Station H, WHO OVERHEARD NAGUMO USING THE AKAGI'S RADIO TRANSMITTER AND COORDINATING WAR TACTICS WITH VICE ADMIRAL SHIGEYOSHI INOUE, JAPAN'S CENTRAL PACIFIC COMMANDER (FOURTH FLEET), AND VICE ADMIRAL MITSUMI SHIMIZU, COMMANDER OF JAPANESE SUBMARINES (SIXTH FLEET). .... NONE OF THESE "EXTENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS" INTERCEPTS HAVE BEEN RELEASED BY US CENSORS." (Emphasis added).
However, when you actually look at Rochefort's
Communications Intelligence Summary for 25 November 1941, you see nothing whatsoever to support Stinnett's egregious allegations. First of all, if Rochefort intended to report such activity by Nagumo as the main actor in such "extensive communications", he would have put that entry under the heading of "Combined Fleet" which Nagumo and his carriers fell operationally and administratively under. However, the actual words that Rochefort used in that summary were:
GENERAL (This section usually contains significant activities by entities not covered by other regular sections like, Combined Fleet. These particulars are omitted for clarity.)
COMBINED FLEET - (This is the section where Nagumo's Commander Carriers, which was later determined to by CinC 1st Air Fleet, as well as First and Second Fleets information would be located. There are many examples, that are too numerous to mention here, in November and December 1941 of entries appearing here to describe when Nagumo as Commander Carriers/CinC 1st Air Fleet was observed either sending or receiving messages.)
CHINA - (Nothing in this summary)
AIR - (Omitted for clarity)
THIRD FLEET (Nothing in this summary)
FOURTH FLEET - CINC. FOURTH FLEET IS STILL HOLDING EXTENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS WITH COMMANDER SUBMARINE FLEET, THE FORCES AT JALUIT AND COMMANDER CARRIERS. HIS OTHER COMMUNICATIONS ARE WITH THE THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH BASE FORCES [within his jurisdiction in the mandated islands.] (Emphasis added.)
It is crystal clear that Rochefort is talking specifically about and only about the unusual activity of CinC Fourth Fleet, Admiral Inoue's "extensive communications" with six different entities, of which Nagumo is only one. In the radio intelligence parlance of those days, Inoue originated messages to those six entities. Most likely these messages were only seen of the Tokyo Fleet broadcast. Most likey, the message to Nagumo indicated by Rochefort was received by Nagumo through the Tokyo broadcast and it was not necessary for him to transmit to obtain this message from the Tokyo broadcast. Stinnett specifically stated that Nagumo sent messages from the Akagi's transmitter even to Admiral Shimizu, CinC Sixth Fleet [submarines] but when you read the actual summary from which Stinnett bases that allegation, there is nothing in the summary saying that Nagumo was in communication with Shimizu. It is Inoue who is doing all the talking to the six other entities. Thus, it is Stinnett who misquotes Rochefort in his effort to advance his predetermined revisionist conspiracy agenda and Kahn was right. Stinnett is and was dead wrong as is clear to any objective observer who has access to the document Stinnett claims is his source. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
There is an old saying that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." That works in spades when one has a revisionist historical agenda. Unbelievable, Stinnett who claims to be a self-appointed expert in this field, erroneously asserts that Rochefort Communications (sic) [Intelligence] Summary of 25 November 1941 reflects Japanesed naval communications activity of 26 November due to time zone changes and the International Date Line. However, even a neophyte researcher in this field would have noted that the major Japanese radio call sign changes of 1 November and 1 December 1941, where Japanese communications used Tokyo -9 time zone, were reflected in Rochefort's summaries of the same dates [1 November and 1 December] instead of on 31 October and 30 November 1941 which would have been the case if Stinnett allegations were true. Furthermore, all U.S. naval intercept logs, intercepted messages, supervisor's reports and Comint Summaries used Tokyo -9 time zone to avoid confusion and errors in converting Japanese naval activity that used Tokyo time to any specific U.S. time zone. This is just another example of the hundred or so errors in Stinnett's book and his subsequent writings.
As to John Toland's reference to "Seaman Z," the allegations attributed to Robert D. Ogg were thoroughly debunked by Commander Irvin Newman's interview of him. See RG457 SRH-255 NA, College Park, Maryland. Ogg admitted that he did not know the source of the radio transmissions for the bearing he plotted for his superior, Hosmer. Furthermore, Ogg stated that they came from two DF stations, one in San Francisco and one "about 100 miles down the California coast." The only DF station in the San Francisco area was at the Farallon Islands off the coast in the Pacific Ocean and the only DF station down the California coast was some 300 miles generally southeast of San Francisco at Point Arguello. When plotted on a DF tracking chart, the bearings from those two locations towards Japan or the Notheast Pacific Ocean would appear as almost parallel lines due to the NW/SE orientation of the California coastline. Thus, no real fix or transmitter location in the North Pacific Ocean could be made from those two supposed locations from transmitters in the alleged locations. Since Hosmer was interested in the location of Japanese commercial ships, it is most likely that such bearings from whichever DF stations were involved were Japanese commercials ships not the Kido Butai. Apparently, Stinnett recognized his problems with the Toland/Ogg reports from the Newman interview so he changed the DF station locations in his paperback version of "Day of Deceit." Now he says they were from Station T, Pt. St. George several hundred miles North of San Francisco and a mysterious "Station X" which he claims was the commercial Mackay Radio Station at Half Moon Bay some 50 miles south of San Francisco. However, RG38 records indicate that Station X was a Canadian DF station located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Again, Stinnett is wrong.
A review of Station H supervisors's reports, pencilled notes on TESTM reports, and Rochefort's Comint summaries for 1941 show that Station Cast is almost invariably referred to as "Cavite." This is obviously a hangover from the many, many years the station was at Cavite and the fact that its military administration was still at Cavite.
Thus, when Stinnett lambasts Budiansky for such a picayunish nit pick, Budiansky is in good company. It is clear that Stinnett is desperate to find something to complain about in the reviews by Kahn, Budiansky and Drea and will stoop to any lengths to achieve that end.
It is Stinnett and not Drea who does not understand cyrptanalytic terminology. I note throughout the book and even in his various speeches and writings Stinnett improperly uses the term "Cryptographer" for those U.S. naval personnel working on Japanese naval codes when he should use "Cryptanalysts." Cryptographers construct codes or work on code of their own country while cryptanalysts try to break existing codes usually of foreign countries.
As Budiansky thoroughly discussed in his article, "Too Late For Pearl Harbor" in the December 1999 issue of U.S. Naval Proceedings, official OP-20-GYP-1 records show zero decrypts of JN-25B (Stinnett's "5-num" or AN-1) code and cipher combination by any U.S. naval entity before 7 December 1941. Then Lieutenant John "Honest John" Lietwiler was only discussing his basic code value and overlying cipher value recovery process. Commander Rudolph Fabian testified before the Pearl Harbor Congressional hearings under oath and noted that just before the outbreak of hostilities, "We (at Station C) had established liaison with the British unit at Singapore. We were exchanging values, both code and cipher recoveries, but we had not developed either to the point where we could read enemy intercepts." See "Secret Allies in the Pacific" by Roland H. Worth, Jr. p. 105. As one can see, Fabian spoke directly to actual decrypts while Lietwiler was talking about code and cipher recoveries. OP-20-GYP-1 records show that the U.S. Navy had only recovered some 3,900 basic JN-25B book values out of the total of over 55,000. I had the experience of working for "Honest John" Lietwiler in 1946 and 1948 at Bainbridge Island, Washington. Since I had been at Guadalcanal and he was later evacuated to Melbourne, we often had small conversations about the pre-war and early war years. Lietwiler was quite surprised by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and felt quite disappointed that they had not been able to decrypt JN-25B in time to be of help to the Navy ships and personnel prior to 7 December 1941. So Stinnett is wrong again when he claims Station C was decrypting JN-25B messages.
As a matter of accuracy, Stinnett is wrong again when he states that Lietwiler was the "commanding officer" of Station Cast. First, that entity was headed up by a simple Officer-in-Charge and the command was the District Communications Officer at Cavite. More importantly, it was Fabian not Lietwiler who was the military and administrative head of Station C. Lietwiler was sent out to relieve Fabian, but Fabian's wife was confined to a sanitorium for a lung ailment and he was allowed to stay on. Even though Lietwiler was senior to Fabian, by agreement Fabian, who was not a cryptanalyst nor a language officer kept on as the OIC thus freeing Lietwiler who was both a cryptanalys and language officer to continue the work on JN-25B code and cipher recoveries and Purple diplomatic decrypts and translations. So once again, Stinnett is wrong.
It is abundantly clear from official records and the personal testimonies of many naval analysts that there were no decrypts of JN-25B (5-num - AN-1) until the first one was made by Rochefort's Hawaiian group in January 1942.
OP-20-GYP-1 records show all the contemporary decrypts with assigned numbers starting with #1 in January 1942 by Hawaii.
Hopefully, this hits the high spots of Stinnett's recent tome.
I would be glad to respond to any questions or comments
Posted by David Aiken on Dec. 12 2002,11:14Aloha All,
Phil Jacobsen made an excellent rebuttal [above] of Robert Stinnett's article that I thought it important for all to see the flaws of < Stinnett's article >.
Posted by Tracy White on Dec. 12 2002,2:54The Independent Institute also sent out this in an e-mail newsletter:
> There is, however, an injustice that should enrage even Stinnett's
> critics -- assuming that they seek the truth. "Immediately after DAY
> OF DECEIT appeared in bookstores in 1999," writes Stinnett in his
> rejoinder, "NSA [the National Security Agency] began withdrawing
> pre-Pearl Harbor documents from the Crane Files housed in Archives
> II.... As of January 2002, over two dozen NSA withdrawal notices have
> triggered the removal of Pearl Harbor documents from public
> If Stinnett's critics want an honest debate, shouldn't they speak out
> against the NSA's stonewalling and in favor of the release of the
> documents -- written more than 60 years ago -- that would help settle
> the debate? If truth is their goal, what have they got to lose?
Let's turn this around a bit. If Truth is Stinnett's goal, why did he leave that Battle of Midway Roundtable instead of sticking to his guns? If the NSA is withdrawing all of his research and they want our help in pressuring them to re-release them, why not give us the exact documents to ask for? Why does he always talk vaguely about sources and not give us what we need to verify his work. What is he scared we'll find?