Strategic Intelligence Agency


After the outbreak of World War II, the war in Europe became increasingly tense. The United States had already called for the establishment of a unified intelligence agency. On June 22, 1941, Germany went to war against the Soviet Union. The severity of the situation has greatly exceeded previous expectations. Roosevelt quickly made a decision to establish the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI), with William Joseph Donovan as its director.

In July 1941, Donovan asked for a $450,000 grant from the Bureau of Budget to start work in several dilapidated buildings near the White House. He uses flexible social skills to attract a large group of elites. There are well-known scholars from Harvard University, famous poets, rich businessmen, bankers, film directors, playwrights, etc., all of whom are prominent figures, all shrewd and capable, with great abilities.

A few months later, the staff of the Intelligence Coordination Bureau increased from a few dozen to more than 600 people. There were large and small offices in many places in Washington and New York. But Donovan is still not satisfied. He wants to double the size of the organization.

Donovan completely ignores the relevant administrative regulations and wants to recruit talents of various identities, whether he is a thieves or people with different political inclinations, he does not care, as long as he has a skill. Most of the recruited people don't know anything about intelligence work, and they don't even have common sense of the simplest organs to receive daily work supplies. But Donovan doesn't care about this at all. He wants to train these "potential people" into top-notch intelligence personnel through formal training. In some secret schools, British intelligence experts serve as teachers, teaching various covert operations skills to the Special Operations Division of the Intelligence Coordination Bureau, including cartography, assassination, blasting, and fighting.

The work of the Intelligence Coordination Bureau is divided into two parts: disclosure and concealment. The disclosure activities are mainly for scholars to conduct specialized analysis and research on intelligence. The concealment work mainly refers to the activities of sabotage and subversion behind enemy lines. The Coordination Bureau is composed of 5 professional agencies: the Secret Intelligence Service, which is engaged in espionage work; the Special Operations Department, which is engaged in sabotage and subversion activities; the Counter Intelligence Department, which is engaged in anti-espionage work; the Heart Warfare Operations Department, which produces and disseminates black propaganda; , To train guerrilla units that enter the enemy's area. In addition, there are logistics departments such as financial management, communication, and recruitment.

The Research and Development Office is another important department under the Intelligence Coordination Bureau. It is mainly composed of inventors and scientists. It is responsible for developing various intelligence tools, forging various identity documents, and developing special Weapons. They invented many silent pistols and sophisticated explosive devices used in assassinations. There is an ingenious device called "Kathy Jones", which is specially used to destroy railways. It uses magnets to attract the locomotive and the lower part of the electric eye, so that the train will only explode when it enters the tunnel, causing greater losses.

The Intelligence Coordination Bureau developed rapidly. Donovan continuously provided various intelligence reports to Roosevelt. The president was satisfied with his work. However, its status at this time is far from reaching the height that Donovan expected. Roosevelt's suspicious character made him distrust the intelligence provided by any agency or person-at least more than 10 intelligence channels were operating. The Army and Naval Intelligence Departments and the FBI were worried that the expansion of the Intelligence Coordination Bureau would endanger their own interests, so they rejected it very much and refused to provide some secret information. In short, they did not do anything to hinder Donovan.

After the establishment of the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI), the chaotic situation of self-government has not changed much. This undesirable situation eventually led to the Pearl Harbor incident. .

The beginning of establishment

On June 13, 1942, under the joint recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Donovan, Roosevelt ordered the Intelligence Coordination Bureau to be combined with the military intelligence forces. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was established, with Donovan as its director. This was the first unified central intelligence agency in the United States and the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Its official work is sabotage, espionage, counter-espionage, deployment, and implementation of secret operations-these tasks have become the basic scope of operations of the CIA.


When the Strategic Intelligence Agency was first established, the United States selected a large number of young agents to go to the United Kingdom for special training.

The young Americans who have just come into contact with secret intelligence operations are still very unfamiliar and immature to this business, but they are full of enthusiasm, serious and studious. This is in sharp contrast with the old gang of British intelligence circles. The British opened 6 large-scale secret training bases in the country to teach them basic espionage experience, including assassination, fighting, capture, blasting, interrogation, camouflage, survival in the wild, reconnaissance and counter reconnaissance, and so on.

In the early days of the war, the Anglo-American intelligence community had a very close relationship. As a big brother and a master, the Special Operations Office of the United Kingdom has guided its "little brother" and students in many actual battles, and the Strategic Intelligence Agency honestly accepted its "big brother" status and humbly learned its experience in the territory. . In some countries and regions, the local agencies of the Strategic Intelligence Agency and the British Secret Intelligence Service are even completely integrated.

When they landed in Normandy, the pair of masters and apprentices also joined forces to perform a good show. They carefully built a large number of props on the beaches of East England. It seemed that there were warships, tanks, artillery, ammunition, The barracks and fuel piles have tried their best to create the illusion of the "First American Army". This huge scam has been going on for more than a year. German-speaking American and British intelligence agents also joined forces to deceive German pilots and give them false instructions through the radio.

But this happy partnership didn't last long, and the contradictions began to show up. The British fear that as the strength of the Americans grows, they will eventually overwhelm Britain; the Americans are unwilling to remain under British control. In subsequent specific actions, the two parties often quarreled over differences in activity methods and division of powers. Donovan said angrily: "The British are too bossy. They have taken our planes and money, and they have stuck us everywhere!" A colonel of the British Secret Intelligence Service was even more dissatisfied: "We spent the most time in war with the Germans. Long, they have suffered the most. We taught them how to survive and operate outside, but these nasty Yankees jumped out and gesticulated." However, no matter how fierce the noise is, the cooperation between the two sides will continue, but they are not mutually exclusive. Convinced.

After the CIA was established, it only did not engage in secret operations in three countries, and the United Kingdom was one of them. The cooperation between Britain and the United States on intelligence has continued to this day. On the headache of Iraq, the British intelligence agencies and the Central Intelligence Agency are also advancing and retreating together, which can be described as difficult brothers and sisters.

Examples in World War II

Actions in the North African Landing War

At the end of 1941, the United States and Britain reached an agreement that the Allied forces will enter North Africa at the end of the following year and open up new Battlefield. This plan is code-named "Operation Torch".

At this time, Washington simply knew nothing about the situation in North Africa. The intelligence gap must be filled immediately. The Strategic Intelligence Agency quickly took over the US intelligence agencies in North Africa, and the Strategic Intelligence Agency appointed the hero of the First World War and Marine Corps Colonel William Eddie as the head.

Eddie took 2 million US dollars to expand the secret underground organization in France and found local tribal and religious leaders for help. The latter dispatched thousands of believers to help the Allied forces collect intelligence and steal Transport weapons.

Eddie’s spies provided a large amount of information about the fortifications on the coast of North Africa and the French military strength, which enabled the commander of the North African Expeditionary Force Eisenhower to have a comprehensive and profound understanding of the combat conditions. Not only Donovan, but even Donovan's mortal enemy, Secretary of the Army Intelligence Department, Strang, also expressed his appreciation for his intelligence work. In August 1942, Eddie went to London to report intelligence to the leaders of the Allied forces. His injured leg limped and his chest was covered with medals, which made people respectful. The team of more than 100,000 people, plus all the weapons, equipment and supplies, is very large.

In order to ensure that the movement of the Allied forces is not detected by the Axis powers, the spies of the Strategic Intelligence Agency spread false information about the expeditionary force going to Dakar on the French West African coast, and a large number of them are assembled in Gibraltar. The ship is to rescue the besieged Malta. The Germans believed the news and sent a dedicated air force to keep an eye on the "fleet to Malta."

On November 8, 1942, Operation Torch officially began, and Germany was defenseless. The navy of the French Vichy government guarding the North African seaport was also caught off guard, but the fighting remained fierce. The Strategic Intelligence Agency took the opportunity to direct the French underground organization to stage a riot, and Eddie’s agents provided maps, led the way, and introduced important fortifications and fort locations for the landing Allied forces. The fierce street fighting lasted for two days and two nights. At this time, the seven German squadron aircraft were still circling over the Bonbon peninsula hundreds of miles away, struggling to catch up with the "fleet to Malta."

The North African landing ended with the victory of the Allied forces. The North African campaign greatly enhanced the prestige of the Strategic Intelligence Agency. The accuracy and activity of the intelligence provided by it made Washington and the military look at each other with admiration. The military began to accept the view that this institution can become its own good partner in war. The Strategic Intelligence Agency took the opportunity to expand its scope of activities.

Action in Myanmar

At the end of January 1943, 12 parachutes quietly landed in the subtropical forests of northern Myanmar. In the next three years, a small team of more than 100 people has been active here. They are the 101st squadron of the Strategic Intelligence Agency led by Evre.

The 101 team has absorbed many local Kachin people as the backbone. They use this inaccessible forest like hell as a base. They are uncertain about their whereabouts. They engage in guerrilla warfare, destruction and rescue throughout Myanmar. . Donovan likes fighting and sabotage, and feels that "collecting information is barely acceptable" because it is more or less risky, and analyzing intelligence and writing reports in the office is "too boring".

Under his leadership, ordinary personnel of the Strategic Intelligence Bureau looked down on intelligence work, and preferred to take risks on the battlefield or engage in subversion behind enemy lines. Such characteristics of work also affected the future direction of the CIA.

Actions on the European Continent

In 1942, Prime Minister Churchill issued an order to "set fire to Europe", which hit Donovan's arms. He selected a large number of personnel from the Strategic Intelligence Agency to receive training in the United Kingdom. After returning, he was divided into multiple special operations teams to carry out special military missions in various places. Most of them were subversive and sabotage activities such as "burning, killing, smashing, and looting". Except for the Pacific Navy and the department led by General Douglas MacArthur, which did not allow them to intervene, Donovan's special teams are located almost all over the world. Sometimes he himself also asked to participate in certain adventure activities, although in his capacity and level, this is not allowed.

At the end of 1944, the Strategic Intelligence Agency obtained 4 types of Soviet military and diplomatic codes (the Soviets did not know that these codes were cracked and were still in use) and about 1,500 documents. Donovan was ecstatic. . However, President Roosevelt and Vice President Edward Sirenius ordered him to return the passwords and documents to the Soviet Union without disclosing the source or keeping a copy. Donovan executed the order, but before returning it, he secretly copied the password. The United States later used these copies to decipher the Soviet code, code-named "Operation Verona", which played an important role in investigating Soviet spies in the United States.

At the beginning of 1945, Donovan also issued an verbal order without authorization to collect and analyze secret information that could reveal the Soviets' intentions in the Balkans.

At the end of World War II, the Strategic Intelligence Agency carried out an action plan code-named "Paper Clip" to search for German scientists and bring them back to the United States to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Soviets. A lieutenant named Rhodes encountered an American colonel who refused to cooperate during the mission. The colonel accused him of doing so and refused to hand over these scientists. Rhodes actually took out a pistol at him and commanded his team to surround these scientists.

Later, he was tried by a military court for this reckless behavior, but Donovan appreciated such courageous behavior and provided him with testimony and defense. He said that Rhodes’s disregard of military discipline annoyed him, but he “would prefer to see a lieutenant who has the courage to disobey orders and complete the task resolutely, rather than a subordinate who follows the rules and only cares about climbing up.”


In early 1945, Roosevelt asked Donovan to formulate a plan for a long-term intelligence agency after the war. This was exactly what Donovan had always wanted to do. He quickly came up with a top-secret plan and proposed the establishment of a permanent unified central intelligence agency under the direct control of the president. The head of the agency, together with the secretary of state, the secretary of the army and the secretary of the navy, will form an advisory committee to coordinate the major intelligence agencies. Complete espionage, counterintelligence, research and analysis, foreign political subversion, and "other intelligence-related tasks" that the president may assign. However, due to well-known reasons, this plan was temporarily shelved. Soon, Donovan's most worried thing happened. The plan was exposed, followed by resistance, criticism, and opposition from the four parties. The State Department, the Chief of Staff, the Budget Bureau, and Army and Naval Intelligence agencies, who were originally dissatisfied with the Strategic Intelligence Agency, all strongly opposed this idea. Hoover was even more angry because he was drafting the FBI to control all foreign countries. Plan for intelligence work. This time, he was determined to fight Donovan.

In February 1945, the "Chicago Tribune" and the "Washington Times Herald" who opposed Roosevelt published Donovan's plan with eye-catching headlines, saying that he "will establish a post-war super spy System", "monitoring the lives of citizens", and said that this institution will be the "U.S. Super Gestapo". Donovan knew in his heart that it was his old opponent Hoover who could obtain this top-secret document and leak it to the outside world. However, he did not have time to quarrel, and the idea of ​​establishing a central intelligence agency has caused an uproar in the country, and the opposition is endless. He began to seek supporters in many ways and tried his best to persuade the president.

On April 12, 1945, Roosevelt died and Harry S. Truman took over as president. Truman himself did not like to engage in secret organizations. The various intelligence agencies in Washington took the opportunity to lodge a complaint against the Strategic Intelligence Agency, including institutional expansion, overpopulation, corruption and incompetence, serious pro-Britishism, and so on. The media also began a new round of criticism. All this made Donovan feel that something was wrong. He clearly saw that the Strategic Intelligence Agency would probably cease to exist after the war. He tried to save this situation and ran for it, but at this time his influence on the White House is no longer comparable to that of the past.

In September 1945, Truman ordered the dissolution of the Strategic Intelligence Agency. He expressed his gratitude and appreciation to Donovan for his outstanding long-term performance, but in peacetime, "this kind of talent is no longer needed", but comforted He said, "The government's post-war intelligence agency will be established on the basis of the organization you created."

On September 28, at the headquarters of the Strategic Intelligence Agency, Donovan trembled and announced his disbandment to his subordinates. He thanked them for their excellent work during the war, praised their bravery and dedication, and affirmed that this work will have important significance for the United States in the future. Finally, he glanced at the familiar building again and left alone.

The Central Intelligence Agency

After the Strategic Intelligence Agency ended, without the central coordination and analysis system, US intelligence activities fell into chaos and dispersion. Truman often found that the intelligence on his desk was unorganized, and various agencies issued many unanalyzed and conflicting reports, making things even more confusing. This is not what he likes to see. He began to realize that disbanding the Strategic Intelligence Agency was a mistake.

In January 1946, Truman ordered the establishment of the National Security Council, whose members are composed of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Army and the Navy, and the President’s military advisers, and are fully responsible for the United States’ foreign intelligence activities. A Central Intelligence Unit was established under the committee as the executive agency to replace the original intelligence activities of the Strategic Intelligence Agency overseas.

In 1947, President Truman approved the National Security Act of 1947. According to the "National Security Law", the CIA must comply with the "no police, subpoenas or law enforcement force or domestic security duties." This structure has led to tensions between the CIA and other intelligence agencies of the Department of Defense, as well as between the CIA and the FBI.

On September 18, 1947, the CIA was born in this delicate political environment.

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