Essay on Combating Japanese Espionage with MAGIC

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Combating Japanese Espionage with MAGIC
The use of espionage by the Japanese government against the United States was prevalent just before World War II and immediately following the United States entry into the war. In fact, the intelligence derived from Japanese espionage helped prepare the Japanese military attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. However, unbeknownst to Japanese diplomats, the United States was decrypting their communications through a secret program called MAGIC. This program would eventually document the vast espionage activity conducted by the Japanese government.
History of MAGIC
The Cipher Bureau
In May of 1919, the first civilian intelligence agency in the United States was created, called the Cipher
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The National Security Agency describes the service’s main duty as, “… compiling codes of varying types for U.S. Army use (NSA SIS, 2009).” As opposed to conducting dedicated code breaking activity during peacetime. The former US Army Lieutenant and scientist William F. Friedman would become the Chief of the SIS. Freidman was described as an excellent teacher and developed a rigorous training curriculum for the new cryptanalysis personnel being assigned to the SIS (NSA SIS, 2009). The SIS would also utilize the files from the closed Cipher Bureau to conduct training and become knowledgeable on the cryptographic codes of the Japanese government and various other governments (NCC, 115).
The Type A Machine
In 1935 the Japanese Foreign Ministry started using a “Type A Machine” to encrypt their diplomatic communications. Once the SIS began intercepting the messages encrypted by this machine they nicknamed it “RED” (NSA, 2009). Although at first it proved to adequately encrypt Japanese communications, it would take the SIS less than two years to crack the code and begin decrypting the Japanese information.
The Type B Machine The advances made with decrypting “RED”, and therefore the intelligence provided, would be somewhat short-lived. Because in 1949 the Japanese Foreign Ministry, once again, introduced a new communication encryption machine called the “Type B Machine” (NSA, 2009). Upon

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