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The Broken Seal: "Operation Magic" and the Secret Road to Pearl Harbor
by Ladislas Farago
Westholme Publishing, 1967
Paper: 978-1-59416-171-1 | eISBN: 978-1-59416-570-2

The Important Study That Evaluates the Intelligence War Behind the Japanese Surprise Attack
“In this fascinating account. . . . Mr. Farago’s investigation suggests that the real villain was the system itself.”—New York Times
“In this well-written and informative account. . . Mr. Farago provides many new facts from both American and Japanese sources.”—Library Journal
“A good history of Japanese and American code-breaking operations between 1921 and December 7, 1941. . . . Farago is important because in this technical study of cryptology he has arrived independently at the same general conclusion as did the non-revisionist diplomatic historians: there was no plot by Roosevelt or his advisers.”—Choice
“His conclusions should act as a corrective to the enthusiasts who claim that intelligence always provides the complete answer.”—Times Literary Supplement
The Broken Seal: The Story of “Operation Magic” and the Pearl Harbor Disaster explores the questions of why, if the United States knew the Japanese codes, did we not anticipate the December 7, 1941 surprise attack and how did the Japanese spy system in Hawaii operate? As a chief of research and planning in the Special Warfare Branch of the Office of Naval Intelligence, the author had access to both Japanese and American classified material to write this study. The author’s intent was to independently ascertain the validity of earlier claims that the Pearl Harbor attack could have been avoided. The result is an eminently readable and engrossing story, first published in 1968, of the relationship between America and Japan in the interwar years and the relentless cat-and-mouse intelligence game conducted by both sides. Despite more recent suppositions that there was a conspiracy among American and British officials to ignore warnings of a Japanese attack that had been gleaned from deciphered diplomatic codes in order to force America into a world war, the author confirms that human error and misjudgment and the actual state of intelligence interpretation at the time made an accurate assessment of Japanese intentions impossible.

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