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Monday, September 19, 2016

Ind. Courts - More on "Breaking the code on a Chicago mystery from WWII"

Updating this ILB post from Sept. 16th on the 7th Circuit's 2-1 decision last Friday in Elliot Carlson v. USA, John Keilman reported in the Chicago Tribune last Friday in a long story headed "Secret papers from WWII espionage probe of Tribune could go public," that began:

Te Battle of Midway was still raging in the Pacific Ocean when a bombshell of a different sort exploded on the front page of the Chicago Tribune: The U.S. Navy, the newspaper reported, had obtained advance knowledge of what the Japanese fleet was going to do.

The story, published June 7, 1942, was awash in detail, naming the Japanese vessels involved in the battle and the strategy they were pursuing. Anyone reading the account could have gleaned an unstated but critical piece of information — America had cracked Japan's naval code.

That set off a furious legal fight in which the federal government tried to prosecute Tribune journalists for violating espionage laws. A prosecutor even impaneled a grand jury to seek a criminal indictment.

The grand jury ultimately decided not to indict the journalists, but for 74 years, the testimony that led to that decision has remained under wraps. Now a Maryland historian is closer than ever to revealing those secrets, only to face the opposition of a familiar foe — the federal government.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 19, 2016 10:37 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions