MAGIC: The Untold Story of U.S. Intelligence and the Evacuation of Japanese Residents from the West Coast during WW II

By David D. Lowman
Former Special Assistant to the Director, National Security Agency

A year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a select group of cryptanalysts working in the Army's Signal Intelligence Service broke Japan's highest-level diplomatic code. The messages they recovered from this effort, cover-named MAGIC, revealed the existence of widespread Japanese espionage networks along the West Coast of the United States.

Using reproductions of the MAGIC messages, David Lowman paints a compelling picture of the wartime situation which led President Roosevelt to order the unfortunate evacuation of all residents of Japanese ancestry from America's vital and vulnerable West Coast.

Forty years after the fact a group of Japanese-Americans, in an effort to obtain punitive damages from the U.S. government, convinced Congress and the American public that the evacuation was not the result of military necessity but that it was the result of "racism, war hysteria and a lack of political will." More than 82,000 former evacuees were paid $20,000 in addition to compensation previously received.

Former U.S. Senator S. I. Hayakawa, a Japanese-American, felt that this "wolf-pack of dissident young Japanese-Americans" was making an unconscionable raid upon the U.S. Treasury. He, in turn, was called a banana, yellow on the outside and white on the inside.

Lowman reveals in this book for the first time how this group ignored declassified intelligence that supported the governmentís actions even as they fabricated evidence to support their own cause.

In addition to providing copies of the MAGIC intercepts that first revealed the existence of a widespread domestic Japanese threat, Lowman provides reproductions of declassified reports from three U.S. intelligence organizations that were charged with discovering the true scope of the problem the United States faced.

These reports discuss the use of U.S. based Japanese businesses, societies, churches, language schools, clubs, fishing boats, labor unions and individuals in the Japanese war effort. Like Germany, Japan believed in total intelligence and, according to one estimate by an intelligence officer sympathetic to Japanese residents, the loyalty to the United States of about a fifth of the Japanese population could not be trusted.

Lowman's book, which is published posthumously, is sure to reopen the debate concerning America's actions during WW II. In doing so, it will inevitably help restore the reputations of our wartime leaders and the honor of our country.

No one is better qualified to tell this story than David D. Lowman, a former high ranking intelligence officer with the National Security Agency, a specialist on World War II signal intelligence and a participant in the congressional hearing and court cases relating to this issue.


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