October 21, 2008


At first, I was thinking of writing something along these lines: "Would you evaluate the current capabilities of U.S. intelligence gathering by considering the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor?" Then it occurred to me that after Sept. 11, it's probably not wise to suggest that we learned how to be vigilant against a sneak attack.

Here's a story evaluating Japanese intelligence operations. It provides a useful overview of what the different bureaucracies do (although I still can't figure out which one employs Tiger Tanaka. The story wonders whether Japan's spies are up to snuff, and offers this failure to suggest they're not:

Another case that highlights a government counterintelligence failure is Richard Sorge and his successful espionage in Japan from 1933 to 1941.

The Soviet spy, posing as a German journalist, created an information network by befriending Japanese sources, including some close to Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe.

Sorge obtained and reported vital information to Moscow, including Nazi movements in Europe.

His coverup was so complete that Japan's intelligence reportedly believed at first he was working for Germany and not the Soviet Union.

The spy, who now is honored with commemorative stamps in his home country, was hanged at Sugamo Prison in 1944.

Are the Japanese right to remember history? Or are Americans smarter for discounting it (when was the last time you heard someone suggest that we haven't learned the lesson of Pearl Harbor)?

Posted by Ideofact at October 21, 2008 12:20 AM