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Retired Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Senior Scientific Intelligence Officer S. Eugene (Gene) Poteat Analyses the April 10, 2010 Crash of Polish Air Force One TU-154M Near Smolensk, Russia: "Russian Image Management - The KGB’s latest intelligence coup, and NATO’s latest intelligence disaster".

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During his press conference on July 19, 2013, Antoni Macierewicz presents conclusive proof of the detection of C4, TNT, RDX, HMX (octogen), p-MNT (para-mononitrotoluene ), nitroglycerine, and other explosives on the wreckage and seats of the Polish Air Force One!
During his press conference on July 19, 2013, Antoni Macierewicz presented conclusive proof of the detection of C4, TNT, RDX, HMX (octogen), p-MNT (para-mononitrotoluene ), nitroglycerine, and other explosives on the wreckage and seats of the Polish Air Force One!
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Memorial is wide-ranging and simultaneous scrupulous historical research of topics that were until recently inaccessible to Russian scholars: the GULag, the history of the security organizations VChK (the Cheka)-OGPU-NKVD-MGB-KGB, statistics on political repression in the Soviet Union, and dissidents' resistance during the Khrushchev-Brezhnev era. Memorial is a number of international research projects, in which internationally recognized research centers in the humanities acts as partners. It is a support program for young researchers throughout Russia. It is the struggle for free access to historical information, to the past, which was hidden from us for so long.
Memorial is wide-ranging and simultaneous scrupulous historical research of topics that were until recently inaccessible to Russian scholars: the GULag, the history of the security organizations VChK (the Cheka)-OGPU-NKVD-MGB-KGB, statistics on political repression in the Soviet Union, and dissidents' resistance during the Khrushchev-Brezhnev era. Memorial is a number of international research projects, in which internationally recognized research centers in the humanities acts as partners. It is a support program for young researchers throughout Russia. It is the struggle for free access to historical information, to the past, which was hidden from us for so long.
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Doomed Soldiers In Polish

NSA (National Security Agency) "Eavesdropping On Hell", by Robert J. Hanyok

Historical Guide to Western Communications Intelligence and the Holocaust, 1939-1945

Chapter 2: Overview of the Western Communications Intelligence System during World War II

Step 4: Disseminating the COMINT

Once a translation was completed, there remained the problem of getting the intelligence it contained to the military and civilian leaders and organizations that needed it. In Britain, the Joint Intelligence Committee, which served under the Chiefs of Staff, produced intelligence reports for the rest of the government. The JIC had been functioning since before the war (when it had been called the Joint Intelligence Subcommittee). The major services and Foreign Office were represented on it. The services and the Foreign Office, which was responsible for M.I.6, and, ultimately, GC&CS, funneled intelligence to the JIC, which, in turn, distributed it to the necessary recipients. The JIC also issued the military, political, diplomatic, and economic estimates of the war. [77]

Early in the war, the United States SIS produced and disseminated COMINT to other agencies and commands, usually in the form of translations. This system soon broke down. The Army codebreakers were swamped by the increase in messages to exploit. SIS was unprepared organizationally and lacked the resources to distribute the COMINT. It reported communications intelligence in a haphazard fashion; no effort was made to check the signals intelligence against other sources. Organizationally, the SIS remained within the Signal Corps. Its product had to go to G-2, the War Department’s intelligence arm. Another organization, the Special Branch, was formed in mid-1942 under the control of the War Department’s operational intelligence arm, the Military Intelligence Service. Special Branch thereafter would handle the analysis of the COMINT product from SIS, combine it with other sources of intelligence, and then disseminate to the rest of the government whatever useful intelligence it had gained. Special Branch produced the “Magic” Summary and also other special topical studies. [78] In 1944 Special Branch was broken up and subsumed under the War Department’s Military Intelligence Service, which took over the management of COMINT analysis and dissemination. [79]

Within the British government and ministries, the Ultra material was distributed to the intelligence and service ministries that required it. As a general rule, copies of all Ultra translations or decrypts were sent to Secret Intelligence Service Headquarters in London and the intelligence departments of the three services. This distribution scheme varied, though, as the war progressed. A good example of this change can be seen with the dissemination of the German Police decrypts. For example, in August 1941 eight copies of police decrypts were produced and distributed. One copy went into the files. Two copies went to M.I.6 HQ, while another was transferred from the Service to the Ministry of Economic Warfare. A fourth copy went to the Air Ministry intelligence section. The fifth copy went to M.I. 8, British Army Y staff. The War Office section responsible for occupied Europe, M.I. 14, received a copy. One final copy was sent to Bletchley Park as part of a standing intelligence exchange, known as the B.P.I.E.

Starting in late 1942, the police decrypts carried a distribution list that contained both office designators and named individuals within M.I. 6 or the intelligence section of the Air Ministry or War Office. Why the distribution became name-specific is not clear, though it may have reflected a maturing topical specialization by individual analysts within M.I. 6 and other ministries. Also, after 1943 it appears that copies of the police decrypts, including those of the SS, were passed to the American contingent at Hut 3 in Bletchley Park. For example, in August 1944, a Lieutenant Colonel Taylor, most likely Lieutenant Colonel Telford Taylor, the G-2 Special Branch representative to Bletchley Park, received a copy of an SS message detailing the rail transport of almost 1,300 Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz. [80]

For the Allies, this last step in the communications intelligence system potentially was the trickiest because it was the one most likely to compromise Ultra to the Axis. It was recognized early in the war that such information, being at once the best source for Axis plans, intentions, and capabilities, also could be the most ephemeral of all intelligence sources. To lose the advantage that Ultra conferred on the Allies - what Churchill on one occasion called his “golden eggs” - could have been critical to the progress of the war, if not to its outcome. This was especially true in the early years of the conflict when Ultra was just about the only edge that a beleaguered Great Britain had against the military and naval forces of Germany and Italy in the various combat theaters. A method was needed to allow access to the intelligence derived from Axis communications, known variously as “Boniface,” “Most Secret Source,” or Ultra, to those who had the “need to know,” especially in overseas commands. Yet, that method had to ensure that the cryptologic sources would not be compromised and subsequently lost.

To solve the security problem posed by disseminating Ultra to overseas commands, the British developed a system to control the distribution of COMINT and, concurrently, to minimize the chance of its exposure. In August 1941 an organization, the Special Liaison Units (SLU), was formed under the control of the Chief, Secret Service, that administered the dissemination of Ultra to British commands in the Middle East. Soon, SLUs were present at every command of the British armed forces. These units were staffed largely by Royal Air Force personnel who were familiar with the signals intelligence sources and could offer technical background information concerning the intelligence. The unit also enforced the security regulations that protected the Ultra intelligence.

The units, many of which were attached to the various Allied commands around the world, received the Ultra intelligence from Hut 3, most commonly in the form of a translation. The intelligence was transmitted by enciphered radio, cable, or carried by a courier. When normal communications service was not available to an SLU, the transmission of Ultra information to the field was handled by Special Communications Units (SCU). The translation, or the message that contained it, carried a special designator (two- or three-letter combination) known as a delivery group that specified the recipients. A single translation could carry several delivery groups depending on how many commands had the “need to know.” [81] The SLU, in turn, dispatched special representatives who delivered the information to those individual commanders, ministry heads, and diplomats cleared to receive it.

Right: Sample Ultra translation with delivery groups

Keeping the lists of recipients approved, or “cleared,” to receive Ultra was another facet of the SLU system. The lists were fairly limited; recipients usually were high-ranking ministers or military officers, generally no lower than corps commanders or their equivalents in the other services. For example, in the United Kingdom, a late 1944 Ultra distribution list for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force of cleared army and air force personnel ran some twenty pages and included about 500 names. [82] Yet, when one considers the size of SHAEF, and the subordinate commands involved, this listing is not particularly large.

The Americans developed their own version of the SLU, called the Special Security Officer or SSO. The SSO system was sponsored by the War Department’s Special Branch and officially was adopted by the War Department in late 1943 as the main method of Ultra distribution to major U.S. commands. The SSO liaisons were first established in the Pacific, Southwest Pacific, and China-Burma- India Theaters.


Sample Ultra translation with delivery groups

Eventually, by spring 1944 an SSO was set up in Europe to support General Eisenhower, although an SLU counterpart also was present. Like their SLU counterparts, these officers personally handled all aspects of the Ultra traffic. They received the intelligence messages sent from the War Department, carried the intelligence to their designated recipients, briefed them, and then returned with the material. [83]

The other major American system of distribution of communications intelligence was by summary report. This distribution method began with the early typewritten “Magic” Diplomatic Summary and was published first in March 1942. The summary remained limited to senior officials within the Washington, D. C., area: the White House and the War, Navy, and State Departments. A subordinate office of the Special Branch of the Military Intelligence Service compiled this summary. It was a digest of relevant translations based mostly on diplomatic sources with a preponderance of Purple, or Japanese diplomatic translations. Some other sources of information included mostly prisoner debriefings and digests of reports from aerial imagery. Occasional press and OSS-produced intelligence sometimes would be slipped into a summary, but COMINT material clearly dominated the content of the summaries, sometimes comprising over 90 percent in a single issue. Occasionally, communications intelligence was the only source in a summary. [84] It was understandable why this was called the “Magic” Diplomatic Summary.

With the closer liaison between GC&CS and SIS, and the resulting access to more intelligence, the number of American summary reports grew. A European version, the “European Summary” was started in late 1943. Special Branch representatives in Britain culled Enigma translations published by Huts 3 and 4 for items to include in this summary. The European Summary was based mostly on translations of Axis military intercept. Also, the distribution of the European Summary was limited to about a dozen copies sent to Washington. [85] Except for two examples, a complete set of this summary series has yet to be located in any archival holdings in the United States. In July 1944 a “Far East Magic Summary” was started. It summarized the military, political, and diplomatic Magic translations and military intelligence reports related to the campaign against Japan. It was published through the surrender of Japan in September 1945. [86] This latter summary carried no information on the Holocaust.

Access to the “Magic” Summary was limited, usually with only a few copies hand-carried to the War, Navy, and State Departments, and the White House. The service chiefs, General George Marshall of the Army and Admiral Ernest King of the Navy, saw them, as did their deputies for intelligence and operations. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and the Assistant Secretary of State, Adolph Berle, received the summaries. Whether the copies of the summary were returned immediately to Arlington Hall when reviewed or held in a secure area for a short period is not clear. Whatever the case, it appears that the copies of the summaries eventually were returned to Special Branch.

How much communications intelligence reached the “top,” that is, the desks of Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt, depended both on their individual predilection and the selection process by their staffs. Churchill has been portrayed accurately as a voracious consumer of Ultra information. In September 1940 Churchill requested that “C,” Stewart Menzies, the head of M.I.6, provide him daily all Enigma messages.’87 This request clearly was impractical because of the number of decrypts. By summer of 1941, Churchill was receiving a daily brief from “C” that summarized important Ultra material. Bletchley Park produced a veritable daily banquet of information from which Churchill simply feasted. Sprinkled throughout the daily briefings are reports about the massacres of Jews in Russia, Hitler’s directive to shoot German political refugees taken prisoner with Free French units, Jewish internees in North Africa used to unload Axis ships in Tunisia, anti-Jewish hostility in Turkey, Himmler’s instruction to the SS to remove all works of art from Florence, Italy, rumors of the German Reichsbank hiding gold and sensitive documents, and SS orders to move Jewish inmates to Dachau late in the war. [88]

Churchill used the intelligence from the daily briefings for planning strategy and berating commanders who were slow to exploit local advantages that he saw from Ultra decrypts. [89] At these briefings he also was informed of sensitive political and intelligence issues, such as the danger of passing Ultra to the Soviets, increasing German signals security, and the chance that Ultra might be compromised by a “precipitous” military action against Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Headquarters. [90] The daily summaries he received from Bletchley Park during the war, as contained in the PRO series HW1, illustrates the depth and breadth of the intelligence brought to his attention.

On the other hand, FDR seems to have been living on, if not quite a monk’s diet, then certainly a somewhat leaner ration when compared to Churchill’s appetite for Ultra. It was not that Roosevelt was uninterested and ignored the intelligence from radio intercepts. He referred to the Purple translations closely during the failed negotiations with Japan prior to Pearl Harbor. He did, in fact, continue to receive this intelligence in various forms throughout the war. The most notable was the “Magic” Summary. Roosevelt’s aides would brief him in the morning or afternoon (or both) on the highlights from the various summaries. The White House also received “translations of interest” from either the Army’s Signal Intelligence Service at Arlington Hall or Special Branch throughout the war. Sometimes he would ask to read some of the translations used in the summary. All of his aides have reported that the president was extremely well informed from the intelligence. Usually when the president went abroad to conferences, such as Casablanca and Cairo, the Magic material was forwarded to him. [91] And FDR would complain about a lack of intelligence on a particular issue he found important. For example, in November 1943 he called the secretary of war, Henry Stimson, and the secretary of the navy, Frank Knox, to the White House to complain about a lack of intelligence on the domestic and political situations inside Japan. [92]

It appears that other U.S. officials were not always satisfied with the distribution of “Magic” information to the president and his use of it. General George Marshall, who well understood the importance of the COMINT, established a new summary system in early 1944 for President Roosevelt, creating a presidential “Black Book” of briefings. He did this after discovering that FDR was not getting or reading the Magic decrypts from the Army. In February 1944 he addressed a memo to President Roosevelt specifically on this issue. In the first paragraph he reported that he had learned that the president “seldom sees the Army summaries of ‘magic’ material.” Marshall later explained that a new arrangement of material had been prepared and that the president should avail himself of these. [93]

It is difficult to determine the precise context for Marshall’s complaint. FDR was receiving intelligence daily, indeed even on occasion demanding it. Marshall may have believed that Roosevelt was not utilizing “Magic” when making wartime decisions. Certainly, Roosevelt’s approach to wartime leadership differed substantially from Churchill’s. Unlike Churchill, who hectored his generals and admirals for action and often used Ultra as his hammer, FDR left the execution of the war to his military chiefs. Roosevelt preferred a personal working relationship with his commanders. They would develop and carry out operations subject to his approval. As long as his military commanders kept FDR’s confidence, they were free to direct the military operations of the war. Perhaps to a person of Marshall’s business-like attitude, FDR could appear maddeningly casual or detached from the direction of the war, especially when compared to Churchill’s tendency to get involved to the point of almost meddling. [94]

A review of the “Magic” Diplomatic Summary files shows that they contained very little information about Axis atrocities or crimes against Jews or other groups in occupied Europe. There were perhaps three or four items a year beginning in mid- 1942. [95] Additionally, from the set of translations SIS forwarded to the White House from early 1942 to the middle of 1945 only one - an Irish diplomatic message from Rome in October 1943 - can be found that had anything to do with the Holocaust. [96] Whether these few reports from American signals intelligence on the Holocaust eventually were briefed to President Roosevelt is unknown. This small number of references in the summaries is interesting because U.S. COMINT produced over 400 translations dealing with aspects of the Holocaust. Almost all of these were from diplomatic sources. Also, it seems that Roosevelt never saw the German Police decrypts that GC&CS had produced earlier in the war. [97] This gap, though, may be explained by the fact that the German Police and SS mostly had stopped reporting by radio about the massacres in Russia and the concentration camps by the end of 1942. Whether he was apprised of the information in the British decrypts through other sources, possibly the OSS via its exchange with the British Security Committee in New York, is unknown. The president had other sources of information about the Holocaust, including the OSS, his advisors, like Rabbi Stephen Wise, and personal briefings from first hand observers like Jan Karski. [98]

Throughout the war, President Roosevelt’s reaction to the news of the Holocaust could be characterized as sympathetic, but also as realistic and restrained. He did authorize the Allied Declaration condemning the Nazi killing of the Jews in late 1942. He also publicly denounced the Nazi execution of civilians in October 1941. The president favored the postwar retribution against Axis war crimes. Yet, he believed that the best course to end the killing was the successful and quick defeat of Nazi Germany. [99] Furthermore, Roosevelt, like Churchill, understood the political problems that would follow from any statement that singled out Nazi atrocities against the Jews. The Germans could very well use any specific declaration about the Holocaust against the Allies as a propaganda weapon. And, on occasion, they did, denying claims about gassing of Jews and publicizing stories about Jewish control of the Allied war effort. [100]

There was also an overriding security consideration regarding the dissemination of Ultra material about the Holocaust. Publicizing any information based on Ultra could seriously compromise the work at Bletchley Park, especially the exploitation of the German high-level Enigma and its many variants. If the Germans had been warned that the Allies had penetrated their most secret ciphers and codes, they could have installed new systems. Allied codebreakers then would have been returned to the difficult early days of the war when Enigma’s workings were a mystery. If such a compromise had occurred in 1941 or 1942, the attendant loss of information could have adversely affected the Allied strategic posture against Germany.

The fear of compromise of Ultra sources rightly dominated and formed the entire British (and later American) administration of the dissemination of intelligence derived from it. The Allies developed some ruses and cover stories to protect these sensitive cryptologic sources. [101] The initial British approach to disguising Ultra material was to make it appear to have originated from a traditional espionage or agent source. The original cover name for Enigma decrypts was “Boniface,” and the material from Bletchley Park was issued by M.I.6 to further disguise its source. This cover name was used to suggest that the information came from an agent high in the German command that was controlled by M.I.6. This approach may have secured the cryptologic source, but it often subverted the impact of the Ultra material since many recipients were skeptical of what they assumed was human agent information. But the British leadership appeared to accept the loss of some operational efficiency as long as security was maintained. [102] By late 1941, though, the volume of Enigma decrypts had increased dramatically as had the number of recipients. This growth forced the British to finally extend the initial SLU presence in the Middle East and give more recipients the “need to know” about the source of Ultra intelligence.

While this expansion of approved recipients solved one aspect of the security problem, it still left the problem of compromise of Ultra information through its use in military operations. When there were no other intelligence sources to account for knowledge of Axis plans and moves, the Allies had to devise ways to disguise the role of Ultra information. An example of this was the British use of reconnaissance aircraft flights to “discover” Axis convoys in the Mediterranean that were known already through Ultra. When British codebreakers learned the date and route of an Axis supply convoy, the Allies would schedule many days of air reconnaissance over the route. [103] In the Pacific, the aerial ambush of Admiral Yamamoto in April 1943 had been based on a decrypt of the valuable Japanese naval code, JN-25. The cover story, told to the U.S. Army Air Force pilots who carried out the mission in case they were captured, was that the information on Yamamoto’s flight came from Allied coast watchers. [104] In another interesting example, shortly after the German invasion of the USSR, the British supplied the Russians with signals intelligence based on high-level cryptanalysis. However, London was aware that the Germans could exploit many Soviet ciphers and that Berlin could discover Ultra information in Moscow’s radio traffic. Therefore, London disguised the Ultra it gave Moscow and characterized it as “a most reliable source.” [105] In all of the above cases, a subterfuge was used to cover the real source of the information. Still, no matter the deception or cover for the real source of information, there was always a chance of discovery by the Axis. And this fear weighed heavily on the Allied codebreakers.

The handling of the information derived from the German Police decrypts from the Russian front in the summer of 1941 points to the dilemma just discussed. On 24 August 1941, Winston Churchill delivered a radio speech about the atrocities committed by the police on the Eastern Front. It was based on information derived from police decrypts. The prime minister was aware of the German depredations against Jews and other target groups in Russia since the start of the invasion. He may have been motivated to make the broadcast because of the shocking information in the reports. In the radio address, Churchill mentioned that Russian inhabitants from entire districts were being exterminated, but he made no reference to Jews being a specific target of the police units. Instead, Churchill made a general statement about German Police executing Russian “patriots.” Perhaps in the first months of the invasion, the prime minister had not yet understood the emphasis on the Jewish target by the police and SS. [106]

Even though the sole source for British knowledge of the massacres in the western Soviet Union was the police decodes, it appears that Churchill was not sensitive to the potential for compromise when he included a reference to the police executions in his broadcast. Nor is it certain if senior officials of M.I.6, GC&CS, or the Joint Intelligence Committee were themselves sensitive to the possibility of a compromise of the police decodes. Churchill may have viewed the military situation in August on the Russian front as critical. Certainly, there were members of his cabinet who believed that the Soviet Union was facing defeat. [107] He may have wanted to bolster domestic British support for Moscow’s struggle by delivering the speech.

A probable result of Churchill’s speech was that, on 12 September 1941, Kurt Daluege, the commander of the German Police units, sent a message to all of his command to cease transmission of reports by radio of the mandated executions on the Russian Front. A second probable effect of Churchill’s speech was that, in November 1941, the police changed the manual encryption system for their messages from a double transposition cipher to a double playfair system, the latter of which, ironically, was a relatively easier system for Bletchley Park to exploit. The British cryptologists believed that Daluege’s order and the cryptographic change were inspired, in part, by Churchill’s broadcast. [108] Although the order to cease reporting by radio had been sent on 12 September, nearly three weeks after the broadcast, it is likely the speech influenced the German changes. Daluege’s 12 September order probably was preceded by a period of deliberation within the police leadership and staffs in Berlin about the practice of radioing reports of massacres. Not to be overlooked as a possible influencing factor, as well, is that Daluege’s order may have reflected a long-standing concern with the cryptographic shortcomings of the police cipher and that the speech was the impetus for a final decision to rectify a long-standing cryptographic security issue. [109]

The dissemination of information derived from Ultra sources presented a constant security risk for the Allies during the war. The compromise of this capability, that is, of the cryptanalytic exploitation of any of the high-level Axis cryptographic systems could have closed a valuable source of information. Churchill’s speech condemning German atrocities in Russia, by referring to the role of the German Police, contained a reference to the source of intelligence that may have tipped the Allied advantage in this one case. [110] And it appears that the Germans quite likely changed their cipher in response to the prime minister’s broadcast. That the Germans replaced the then current police manual cipher system with one easier to exploit was a matter of good fortune for the codebreakers at Bletchley Park; the opposite, that is, the replacement with a stronger cipher system, was just as likely an outcome. The reliance on intelligence from singular cryptanalytic sources such as Ultra only increased the potential for a major compromise of the Allied codebreaking. For the Allies, no matter the demands of the situation, whether it was countering an Axis military operation or revelations about the police massacres, the best security policy to follow was to avoid risking the disclosure of their cryptologic secrets throughout the war.

In October 1942 the British began to accumulate information on war crimes by the German Police units to be forwarded to the Foreign Office, which would keep the dossier. This arrangement had been agreed upon between Sir Alexander Cadogan, the permanent undersecretary for foreign affairs and the head of M.I.6, Stewart Menzies, following a suggestion by Sir Victor Cavendish-Bentick, who chaired the Joint Intelligence Committee. [111] Two Foreign Office officials were to gather the information. How it was to be organized is not certain. Notes attached to the police decrypts suggest that the evidence was to be organized into three categories: (a) the number of people shot or maltreated in known and unknown areas, (b) officials responsible with summary of atrocities each had perpetrated, and (c) a listing of Police, SS, and Army units and a summary of the atrocities each had committed. [112]

At war’s end, the Foreign Office had gathered together a number of Police and SS decrypts. In late May, Cavendish-Bentick approached Menzies about the classification of the material and whether that would mean it could not be turned over to the Nuremberg War Crimes Commission. Menzies passed the request to Edward Travis, the director of GC&CS after 1942. The response from Travis was that the Police decrypts that contained information about the massacres and other atrocities in Russia was “medium-grade” and could be released to the prosecution at Nuremberg. (The category was known as PEARL, referring to material derived from low-level cryptanalysis such as the manual ciphers used by the Police. This category was later recast as PINUP and included everything NOT derived from high-level cipher systems such as Enigma.) Travis added that the concentration camp messages could not be released because they contained some SS Enigma material, known as “Orange.” [113]

This material, though, was never used at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in the prosecution of major or other criminals. Many Police officials were included in the group of lesser criminals, or Category 2, and some of them were tied to atrocities in the decrypts. [114] Another striking feature with regards to the absence of the decrypts in the Nuremberg evidence was that the head of the staff for the American prosecutor, Chief Justice Robert Jackson, was none other than Colonel Telford Taylor. Prior to the trials, Taylor had supervised the exchange of Ultra material with the British from 1943 to 1945. As part of the BRUSA Agreement in June/July 1943, Taylor probably had received copies of Police decrypts from later in the war. [115] But he most likely did not receive copies of any Police decrypts from prior to the agreement.

Right: Telford Taylor (right front), formerly head of Special Branch liaison with London, now a brigadier general, pictured with his staff at Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (Source: NARA)

Taylor had worked at accumulating evidence against Axis war criminals for two of the general counts against the accused, that is, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. Considering that some of the material, namely, the lower-level decrypts such as those of the police, could have been used as evidence, the failure by Taylor to utilize the material seems to demand an explanation. This is especially pertinent since one possible result of this unwillingness to use the decrypts was that many Police junior officers, noncommissioned officers, and rank and file police were not investigated for war crimes immediately after the war. [116]

Telford Taylor (right front), formerly head of Special Branch liaison with London, now a brigadier general, pic- tured with his staff at Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (Source: NARA)

There are probably two explanations for why the decrypts were not used by any of the Nuremberg tribunals. The first was that, according to Taylor, sufficient evidence already existed in the forms of captured documents, eyewitness testimony, and the depositions of the accused senior Police and SS officials. Taylor also deferred to the British, who, he contended, had more expertise about German organizations such as the Police, the SS, and others. [117]

The second reason, and perhaps the more compelling one in light of the ensuing thirty-year cloak of secrecy that dropped around Ultra, was the overriding concern by both British and American intelligence officials to keep secret the advantage gained from the wartime exploitation of high-level German cryptography. In the immediate postwar situation in Germany (and later for Japan) intelligence officials in both countries were concerned about resurgent national feelings or the chance that underground resistance movements might start up against the occupation governments. The Allies could suppress such potential movements by exploiting any ciphers or codes that might be used by the insurgents.

Also, the Western Allies took the long view when it came to protecting Ultra. New threats to world security could arise in the future. If there were a general awareness of the Allied success in codebreaking, then any future enemy would be on guard against the possibility that its communications might be exploited, and this would hamper any American or British effort against them. [118]


[77] Hinsley, Vol. I, 36-43.

[78] Many of these studies were of political and diplomatic topics. These studies were notated as Special Research Histories (SRH). Some examples include: SRH-083, “Chung-King-Yenan Controversy,” and SRH- 094, “French-Indo-China (Political Situation).” The SRHs can be found in NARA, RG 457 and the Library of the National Cryptologic Museum.

[79] See SRH-035, “History of Special Branch, MIS, War Department, 1942-1944,” 9 July 1979 and SRH-117, “History of Special Branch M.I.S., Jun 1944 – Sep 1945.” 2 March 1981.

[80] HW 16/70, CIRO/PEARL/ZIP/AT 1194/ 14.8.44

[81] Hinsley, Vol. III, Part 2. 975-8, “Series Prefixes and Delivery Groups used for SCU/SLU Signals to Commands.”

[82] Bradley F. Smith, 181; “List of Ultra Recipients and SHAEF G-2 Organization, Mission, and Function.” RG 457, Entry HCC, Box 1277, Folder 3735.

[83] SRH-107, “Problems of the SSO System in World War II.” 13 December 1980.

[84] Gilbert and Finnegan, 10.

[85] One extant European Summary, dated 11 April 1945, carried two distributions. The first one listed 11 recipients within the War Department; the second listed the President, his Chief of Staff, and the CINC U.S. Fleet, and the Deputy Director Military Intelligence, British Army Staff. SRH-005, ”Use of CX/MSS Ultra by the United States War Department, 1943 – 1945,” 49.

[86] The “Magic” Diplomatic Summaries are located in RG 457, Entry 9006, Boxes 1-19. The “Magic” Far East Summaries are found in Entry 9001, Boxes 1-11.

[87] Hinsley, Vol. I, 295-6. Churchill’s demand for the COMINT grew out of dissatisfaction with the tendency of the JIC and the service intelligence directors to publish long appreciations, the “bulk of which defeats their purpose.”

[88] In order, HW 1/1, Item 30, 28 August 1941; HW 1/28, Item 643, 13 June 1942; HW 1/58, Item 1134, 24 November 1942; HW 1/65, Item 1267, 28 December 1942; HW 1/129, Item 3113, 26 July 1944; HW 1/149, Item 3658, 1 April 1945; HW 1/151, item 3713, 27 April 1945.

[89] Churchill received GC&CS items from “C” that had not been given to the various department and ministry chiefs. They often were unaware of the material the prime minister used to criticize them. Ibid., 295-6.

[90] In order see HW 1/58, Item 1134, 22 November 1942; Ibid.; HW 1/23, Item 469, 2 April 1942.

[91] David Kahn, “Roosevelt, Magic, and Ultra.” Cryptologia (Vol. XVI, No. 4, October 1992), 289-319.

[92] Christopher M. Andrew, For the President’s Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996), 139.

[93] SRH-111, “Magic Reports for the Attention of the President, 1943-1944.” 1980; Bradley F. Smith, 187.

[94] See Eric Larrabee, Commander-in-Chief: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, His Lieutenants and Their War (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), 11-12, 16, 643-4; James F. Schnabel, History of the JCS and National Policy, 1945 - 1947. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1996), 3; Andrews, 125-6; Ibid., SRH-111.

[95] Alexander S. Cochran Jr. The Magic Diplomatic Summaries: A Chronological Finding Aid (New York and London: Garland Publishing Inc., 1982). From 1942 to the end of the war in Europe, there were fewer than 12 references to Jews or the Holocaust. For example, Summary No. 397 from 28 April 1943 contains information from a German diplomatic message to Dublin concerning Aryan spouses of Jews.

[96] “Collection of Multinational Diplomatic Translations of White House Interest.” RG 457, HCC, Boxes 833,1030 to 1032.

[97] Jan Karski, an alias for a Polish intelligence courier, Jan Kozielewski, visited the Warsaw ghetto and Belzec. He came to London in late 1942 with information about the Holocaust. See Laqueur, 118-120, and E. Thomas Wood and Stanislaw M. Jankowski, Jan Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 1994).

[98] Persico, Joseph. Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage (New York: Random House, 2001), 218-220.

[99] Laqueur, 94-5.

[100] Breitman, 105, 151-3; MND Translation, Kabul (Pilger) to Berlin, 10 May 1943, SIS #81006 (RG 457, HCC, Box 363), concerning Reuters News Agency publication of information about gassing of the Jews; MND Translation, Berlin to Buenos Aires, 14 April 1943, SIS #82728(RG 457, HCC, Box 363), which urges the German embassy there to make no statement on the protests against the perceived anti-Jewish policy of Churchill. (This “anti-Jewish policy” is not further explained in the German message.); MND Translation, Berlin to Far East stations (NPD (Neue Presse Deutsche) Broadcast), 3 March 1944, SIS #112776, (RG 457, HCC, Box 399) which urges German correspondents to push stories about behind the scenes machinations of world Jewry.

[101] Perhaps the most famous anecdote, though false, was the bombing of Coventry on 14 November 1940. Winterbotham was the first to claim that Churchill allowed Coventry to be bombed to protect the Ultra secret. (See his Ultra Secret, 94-96) However, Winterbotham got it wrong. Ultra carried no information on Coventry. For the correct story of Ultra and bombing of Coventry see Hinsley, British Intelligence in the Second World War, Vol. I., Appendix 9, 528-48, and Nigel West, A Thread of Deceit (New York: Random House, 1985), 9-17.

[102] Hinsley, Vol. I, 138, 145, 417, and 570-1.

[103] PRO, HW 1/XX, Item 1470, 13 March 1943, Memorandum from SCU Algiers. For more, see Hinsley, Vol. 2, 283-7, about the Mediterranean convoys.

[104] For the Yamamoto ambush, see SRH-288, “Radio Intelligence in WWII: Tactical Operations in the Pacific Ocean Areas, April 1943.” 336-7, and Edwin Layton (along with Roger Pinneau and John Costello), And I was There, Pearl Harbor and Midway - Breaking the Secrets (New York: William Morrow and Company Inc., 1985), 474-476.

[105] Hinsley, Vol. 2, 58-67; see also Smith, Sharing Secrets with Stalin.

[106] Breitman, 93-4, 106.

[107] Hinsley, Vol. II, 87-9; Smith, Sharing Secrets with Stalin, 30-33.

[108] Breitman, 92-96; Philipps, 84-5.

[109] It is also possible that another standing concern of the police command was the possibility that someone within the police or SS organizations might reveal information about the massacres to the Allies or neutral countries. Passing the reports by radio meant that a number of people saw the messages: radio operators, code clerks, dispatchers, etc. Sending the reports by courier limited the number of people who might see them.

[110] On 6 December 1941, the Nobel Laureate German author, Thomas Mann, made a radio speech from Los Angeles on the CBS network in which he called attention to the massacre of 300,000 Serbs and “unspeakable deeds” against Jews and Poles. It is not clear if this speech provoked a similar reaction from the Germans. - New York Times, 7 December 1941, Vol. XCI, No. 30,633.

[111] HW 14/54, “GC&CS Directorate, Policy Papers.” 1942, October 1-10.

[112] NARA RG 457, HCC, Box 1386, “German Police and SS Messages.”

[113] HW 14/128, “GC&CS Directorate, Policy Papers.” 1945 May 16-31, Notes from 26 and 28 May. The British developed a number of categories of cover names for the various German cipher systems, both machine and manual. Here are some representative examples:
Luftwaffe: Weather: Army: SS:
Colors (Red, Yellow) Vegetables (Leek, Garlic) Birds (Albatross, Bullfinch) Fruit (Orange, Quince, Grapefruit)
Police (Playfair): Games (Rummy, Poker)

[114] Breitman, 218.

[115] For example, a Colonel Taylor, presumably Telford Taylor, was named in the distribution for CIRO/PEARL/ZIP/AT 1194/14.8.44, HW 16/70, “German Police Decrypts.”

[116] Breitman, 219-221

[117] Robert E. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1983), 16

[118] Smith, Ultra-Magic Deals, 212-214


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