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The Intelligence Failure of Pearl Harbor

MacArthur and the Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, September 27, 1945.

On a late summer morning in 1940, Frank B. Rowlett, a 32-year-old civilian employee of the U.S. Army, climbed into his Ford sedan in Arlington, Virginia, and drove to his job in Washington, D.C. Though his work was all but obsessive and tempted him to revert to it during his commute, Rowlett was disciplined and kept his mind on the traffic. He parked in a lot behind the Munitions Building, the army's offices on Constitution Avenue, arriving at 7 a.m., an hour early, as was his custom. He walked down one of the wings that stretched out the back of the building like teeth on a comb. A steel gate and an armed guard blocked the entrance to Rooms 3416 and 3418. They were among the most secure in the entire structure, and the work that went on in them among the most secret in the U.S. government.

Rowlett was

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