Obama loses battle to keep World War II records secret

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tags: Obama, WWII, Edward Snowden, Battle of Midway



Edward Snowden can smile briefly: The Obama administration just lost a fight to keep grand jury records sealed in a 1942 national security leaks prosecution.

A federal court ruling, written by an Obama friend and former law school colleague, rejects a Justice Department attempt to keep secret the testimony from a 74-year-old prosecution of The Chicago Tribune for revealing that the U.S. had cracked Japanese codes. (Bloomberg)

Writes Judge Diane Wood for the court majority: "The U.S. Office of War Information warned the populace that 'loose lips sink ships.' But what if the ships sailed some 70 years before the tongues wag?" (United States Courts) Wood is chief judge of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and the Obama friend who's been a finalist for a Supreme Court vacancy.

Historian Elliot Carlson wants transcripts of the grand jury that investigated reporter Stanley Johnston's June 7, 1942 story that accompanied the front-page news of the stunning post-Pearl Harbor victory of the U.S. at the Battle of Midway.The victory was crucial to the ultimate Allied victory. (Chicago Tribune)

“Navy Had Word of Jap Plan to Strike at Sea" disclosed that we knew the Japanese planned a minor attack elsewhere to distract us from Midway. President Franklin Roosevelt was furious with the paper and, in apparently the only such attempt ever, the government went after a reporter (Johnston) for allegedly violating The Espionage Act.

The grand jury didn't indict him or other Tribune staff, which was hailed as an important free speech victory. Now, the Obama administration is fighting Carlson's attempt to release records stored at the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland.




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