Major Speeches and Debates of Senator Joe McCarthy Delivered in the United States Senate, 1950-1951

By Joseph McCarthy | Go to book overview

JANUARY 5, 1951
Statement on Drew Pearson and Violation of United States Espionage Laws

Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. President, I should like to invite the attention of the Armed Services Committee, the Justice Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to what would appear to be one of the greatest breaches of security that perhaps we have ever witnessed during wartime. I read a story in a local paper last Saturday which, if true--I repeat, which, if true--means that we have a man in the decoding room in the Pentagon who is guilty of high treason. If this story is true, it means that we have had a breach of security which endangers the lives of millions of American young men and which endangers the very life of this Nation. Before going Into the facts, I should like to recite a bit of history.

One of the outstanding military men in Japan was Admiral Yamamoto. He it was who did much of the planning for Pearl Harbor, at which Japan from a standpoint of destruction of shipping won the greatest battle against a navy of all times.

It will be recalled that Yamamoto bragged that he would dictate the terms of the peace treaty from Washington. In the spring of 1943, Yamamoto was making a survey of what then appeared to be the impregnable Japanese chain of island defenses strung across the Pacific. As Yamamoto's very heavily escorted and guarded plane took off from the airfield at Kahili on April 7, 1943, a few American fighter planes dropped out of the clouds and headed directly for Yamamoto's plane. The American fighters were outnumbered more than 20 to 1. They did not waste any time on the Japanese fighters, but headed right through them and tore Yamamoto's plane to shreds and within a matter of seconds it exploded in the air. This was possible only because we knew exactly the time his plane was taking off, exactly the type of protection it would have, where it would be in the formation, and so forth.

Because of the brilliant planning of Yamamoto many Americans had already died. Had this brilliant strategist lived, many American boys who are living today would be dead. Had he lived many Japanese who are dead today would undoubtedly be living.

At the time, of course, we could not notify the American people Just how this brilliantly successful attack upon and destruction of Japan's most valuable military man could have been timed to the second. Since then, however, it has been made public knowledge that we had broken Japan's code and from radio messages picked up and decoded we could plot his trip all through the Pacific and decide the ideal time for his destruction.

The Senate will recall the Battle of Midway at which time we once and for all broke the back of Japan's seapower. Since then many papers and periodicals have carried the story, which, of course, could not be made public at the time, namely, that we had broken the Japanese code and that this breaking of the code contributed vastly to this great victory over the Japanese Navy, which marked perhaps more than anything else the turning point of the war.

Some of the unsung heroes of the war were the men who worked night and day in our decoding rooms. Those unsung heroes saved the lives of a vast number of American young men. To them should go substantial credit for the crippling of the Japanese Fleet at Midway and for destroying a substantial part of the brains of the Japanese military when Yamamoto's plane disintegrated over the Kahili Airfield, and also for a great number of other American victories.

It is not necessary to tell this Senate or the country how inconceivably painstaking, almost beyond words, is the Job of breaking the enemy's code. The young men who work at this task are called cryptanalysts. One of the greatest helps that can be given them in finding the key to a code is possession of at least one of the enemy's messages, both encoded and decoded. If one of our cryptanalysts can be handed the same message in code and also decoded, a long and important step is taken toward breaking the enemy's code. For that reason the strictest possible rules of top secrecy are imposed upon the handling

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