This section was taken from the official history of OSS. The
text has been slightly edited.
Counterespionage (CE) is a distinct and inde-pendent intelligence
function. It embraces not only the protection of the intelligence
interests of the government it serves, but, by control and manipulation
of the intelligence operations of other nations, it performs a dynamic
function in discerning their plans and intentions, as well as in
deceiving them. An effective counterespionage organization is therefore
an intelligence instrument of vital importance to national security.
The development of a secret intelligence organi-zation makes protective
counterintelligence inevitable. However, to confine such activity
to its protective aspects would be to eschew the development of
the affirmative phases of counterespionage, which give it its unique
and distinct value.
A counterespionage organization usually develops slowly. Basic
to it is the vast body of records, which is the key to its operations
and which normally takes years to accumulate. A second requirement,
however, no less vital, is skilled personnel familiar with the intricate
techniques by which the intelligence efforts of other nations may
be controlled and directed.
The United States lacked these basic factors. At the outbreak of
the war, its counterintelligence activities were performed by several
agencies and departments of the government and the armed forces,
principally FBI, G-2, and ONI. Fortunately, the domestic security
problem, most important at that time, was efficiently handled by
the FBI, which kept itself alerted to threats from beyond US borders
by liaison with Allied security services, chiefly those of the British.
With respect to areas outside the Western Hemisphere, however, the
United States had virtually no security protection. Also, the divisions
of interest of the various American organizations concerned with
counterintelligence and the limitations upon their several missions
had resulted in incomplete and duplicative records, which were scattered
and uncoordinated. The lack of complete past and current records
of enemy espionage organizations, their personnel, and activities
made the effective pro-secution of counte-espionage seem impossible.
The development by COI/OSS of a secret intelligence organization
to operate outside the Western Hemisphere made it obvious that it
would be necessary to establish a security organization for its
protection. It is, of course, inevitable that a secret intelligence
agent in a foreign area will attempt to acquaint himself with the
intelligence activities and undercover personnel of other nations
operating in the same area. This, however, provides only localized
and uncoordinated knowledge. Furthermore, it does not take advantage
of the affirmative possibilities inherent in the possession of such
knowledge, if it is coordinated with related data and supported
by an efficient centralized organization.
It was widely recognized that centralization was the key to counterespionage.
This may be said to be true of secret intelligence generally. When
it became apparent in early 1942 that SI would have to set up some
form of security organization, the question of centralization was
raised. By midsummer, the subject had been discussed by COI/OSS,
not only with other agencies and departments of the government,
but with the British Security Coordination. Such discussions stimulated
the move to establish a CI division in SI.
The British had been sharing with COI, G-2, FBI, ONI, and other
interested agencies certain counterespionage information. Experience
gained in unraveling Axis espionage and sabotage organizations had
developed a high degree of efficiency in the coordinated net of
security services, which the British had long maintained. In addition,
they had built up over many years one of the essential instruments
for CE worka comprehensive and current registry on hostile
and suspected persons and on their organizations and relationships.
Nothing remotely like it on overseas CE intelligence was available
to American agencies. Nor could such a body of records be produced
except after decades of extensive operations. Therefore, the British
were particularly anxious that the handling of the information,
which they made available to the American services should be consonant
with the highly specialized CI techniques they had evolved. This
demanded carefully trained specialists, solely concerned with CE
material loosely coordinated with US agencies.
In August 1942, therefore, representations were made by the British,
which strongly suggested an arrangement between the British and
American agencies that would provide a more restricted and secure
channel for the handling of CI information. If such an arrangement
was concluded, the British indicated that they would be willing
to make available all the CI information in their possession. The
significance of this offer to the development by the United States
of a counterespionage organization cannot be overstated. The United
States was given the opportunity of gaining in a short period extensive
CE records, which represented the fruits of many decades of counterespionage
experience. Further-more, the British offered to train American
personnel in the techniques essential to the proper use of those
records and the prosecution of CE operations.
The proposed arrangement envisioned the establishment of a civilian
CE organization within OSSin short, an American entity similar
to MI6(V) and MI5, the British services for overseas and home security
respectively, both of which were civilian services only nominally
under military control. Following preliminary discussions in the
United States, Donovan designated one of his special assistants
to proceed to London in November 1942, where he worked out with
the British arrangements whereby a small liaison unit of the projected
CE organization would be stationed in London. Procedure for transmission
of the CE material to the United States also resulted from these
At that time it was intended that the new CE unit to be established
within OSS should become the exclusive link between British and
American CE services. FBI, however, had long maintained a close
and cordial liaison with British security services, particularly
MI5, in the interests of American security in Western Hemisphere.
It was therefore agreed that FBI, in view of its jurisdiction over
CE in Western Hemisphere, would continue its independent liaison
with British services insofar as exchange of CE information relating
to that area was concerned.
Definitive arrangements having been concluded, a Counterintelligence
Division within the SI Branch of OSS was established by General
Order No. 13 of 1 March 1943. Arrangements were made to send four
officers and four secretaries to London for the sole purpose of
preparing the British channels to the United States. This group
arrived in London by the end of March. The American offices of the
Division were established in the OSS headquarters in New York City,
which adjoined the offices of the British Security Coordination.
CE material from overseas and from Washington was received through
the British in New York and was indexed and carded by the CI Division
there. The New York office served as headquarters for the new Division
for some six months.
As the CI Division of SI expanded, realization of the full possibilities
of counterespionage, together with certain problems of relationships
both within OSS and with various British agencies, made it evident
that the ultimate development of the CE function would not be possible
if its divisional status was maintained. In the first place, counterespionage,
as explained above, serves a greater purpose than the protection
of secret intelligence activity. Secondly, the British SIS and their
domestic and foreign security services were totally separate and
distinct organizations between which rivalry existed. Also, COI/OSS
policy had been from the beginning to maintain complete independence
in the secret intelligence field, whereas close cooperation and
collaboration with British CE were essential to the CI Division.
As has been noted, it is doubtful that the activity could have been
more than nominal during the war years had not the cooperation of
the British been offered and advantage taken of the unique opportunity
An additional factor which complicated the position of the new
Division as a part of SI was that the approach to Controlled Enemy
Agents (CEA) necessarily had to functional, in effect, as opposed
to the geographic setup of the SI desks; that its Registry (which
formed its major activity in the United States) had to be completely
separate; and that CE security problems were distinct from those
of a secret intelligence service.
In view of these factors, it was proposed that the Division be
given independent status as one of the intelligence branches. In
this proposal SI concurred on 15 June 1943. Therefore, General Order
No. 13 was recinded and a new order issued to create the Counterespionage
Branch (X-2) of the Intelligence Service of OSS.
X-2 was therefore free to develop the possibilities of CE in the
protection of the security of American intelligence activities abroad,
as well as the protection of national interest in foreign areas.
In addition, the Branch was in a position to take advantage of long
British experience and knowledge of the techniques of manipulating
enemy agents and therefore to enter the intricate field of CE operations.
The London office of X-2 soon became, and remained for the duration
of hostilities, the base for the control of CE operations in Europe.
The broad liaison established in London, consequent upon the elevation
of X-2 to branch status, diminished the significance of the relations
with the British in New York. Further, the arrangements for carding
and processing of incoming material in New York, useful while the
American carders were in the tutorial stages and needed the help
of their British colleagues, became awkward when that stage had
passed. Much of the material arrived initially in Washington, had
to be transmitted to New York, for a short time, and then returned
to the permanent and central X-2 Registry in Washington. In addition,
CE material had to be screened from the mass of information flowing
into other OSS branches in Washington, and such material could not
be conveniently sent to New York for carding. Therefore, in September
1943, the research work in New York was discontinued and the files
transferred to Washington. The move facilitated the work of X-2,
tightened the unity with which the Branch operated, and placed the
control of the Branch closer to the central authority of OSS.
By September 1943, X-2 was therefore in a position to address itself
to the job of developing a major security organization in the remaining
period of the war.
In January 1944, by the end of the formative
period, it was possible for X-2 to lay out a firm plan of branch
organization. An assistant Chief, who served as head of the office
in absence of the Chief, dealt with current policy problems. The
Administrative and the Liaison Officers, together with a Deputy
Chief, reported directly to him.
The Administrative Officer was responsible for all budget and finance
matters, the procurement of office personnel, arrangements for home
and overseas travel, and other administrative functions.
The Liaison Officer established and maintained channels for the
exchange of intelligence with other branches of OSS, with ONI, G-2,
FBI, State Department, Office of Economic Warfare (OEW),
X-B, and other American and Allied agencies.
The Deputy Chief had charge of the procurement of military and
civilian personnel for overseas duty; for the headquarters services
to overseas operations and research; for the training, indoctrination
and briefing of all personnel; and for the organization of field
offices and field communication procedures. He had under him a field
procurement and training officer.
The Deputy Chief was assisted by an Executive Officer whose main
concern was the four offices, which handled Security, Planning,
Personnel, and Training.
Headquarters intelligence activities were organized under an Operations
Officer and a Director of Research who reported to the Deputy Chief.
The Operations Officer was responsible for all overseas operations;
for all routine functions in connection with procurement for overseas
personnel; for cover, communications, and other like arrangements.
The Director of Research supervised the work of the "geographical"
desksdivided on the basis of theaters of warwhere reports
were processed and marked for carding and for distribution. He also
supervised the Traffic Index and Registry Section, which maintained
the card index system of enemy agents, organizations and their relationships,
maintained files of documents and cables, and received, recorded,
and dispatched all X-2 documents. Under him were four desks for
special studies: The Enemy Intelligence Organization Sectionwhich
produced overall studies for use in operational planning and for
the information of field personnelthe Watch List Unit, the
Insurance Intelligence Section, and a CE/Smuggling Section. The
X-2 Art Unit was added to these special sections a year later.
The first drastic change in the early arrangements for handling
the intelligence (Registry-Desk) activities in the Washington headquarters
came in April 1944, when the Divisions of Operations and Research
were abolished. Their functions, hitherto separated, were combined
under geographic area offices, supervised by Theater Officers. The
Carding Section was discontinued as a unit, and its files were divided
among the geographic area offices. Thereafter, the carding was done
under the immediate direction of the area intelligence officers.
The alphabetical control card file, which showed the location of
all personality cards, was located in the X-2 Registry. The Office
of Special Studies continued as an independent unit on the same
level as the Theater Offices and reported directly to the Deputy
Chief. The former Director of Research was made Coordinator of Analysis
to assist him.
A further change was made in November 1944 with the creation of
the Office of Executive Assistant to the Chief of the Branch. This
officer was given authority to act in the name of the Chief over
the entire Washington X-2 organization. At the same time, a Chief
Intelligence Officer was appointed to supervise the work of all
intelligence personnel, this eliminating the Office of the Deputy
The Office of Special Studies was abolished, as was that of the
Coordinator of Analysis. These functions were place under the Chief
Intelligence Officer, as were those of the Theater Officers. A vetting
Officer was placed on this staff, and the X-2 Registry was taken
from the administration office and put under his direct control.
This adjustment placed all research activitiesintelligence
reporting, the making of intelligence records processing, and the
likeunder the direction of the Chief Intelligence Officer.
One of the purposes of the change was to bring headquarters handling
of intelligence into line with that of the London War Room, which
had been set up to assist SCI units with armies and army groups
in the field after D-day.
The reorganization symbolized the fact that the field offices,
controlled and directed in the beginning by the area desks, were
largely self-sufficient. The executive function was on the receiving
end, either of requests for services, which could be handled by
administration or for information, which could be produced by a
staff intelligence officer.
One of the main coordinating CE instruments is the body of recordsof
foreign, enemy or potential enemy personnel, organizations, relationships,
activities, known planskept by the registry section. In a
certain sense, the organization exists to produce its files of current,
tested, and readily available information and to apply them to the
protection of national interests. It is, therefore, at once an end
and means of all CE activities, being the focal point at which all
lines of such activities meet. It thus provides the basis for the
coordination, which is essential. The files provide leads for the
filed, which in turn produces material for the growing accumulation
of data in the files. The CE registry may supply data useful in
illuminating decisions on the application of national policy in
certain areas or for the light it can throw on the problems met
by CE workers in the field. No positive intelligence collecting
agency can operate safely for long without the protection CE files
can afford to its agents.
CE cases may take years to mature. Items in the files that have
every appearance of being dead can suddenly become of primary importance.
Thus it is known that enemy organization will normally plant as
many "sleeper" agents as they can to be alerted and used
at a later date. It is well in all cases to go on the old CE axiom:
"Once an agent, always an agentfor someone." Such
individuals may not be important in themselves, but they will in
due time be visited by and call attention to more significant figures.
The assembling of CE records is usually a long and expensive business.
The European intelligence servicesbecause of the geographical,
industrial, military, and political situation of their states vis-a-vis
their neighbor stateshave been forced to recognize the significance
of security information. They never go out of business, and they
regard the money laid out for keeping up their files as money well
spent. CE operations cannot be mounted quickly and still be made
to yield useful returns.
Liaison with other government agencies and the intelligence services
of friendly governments and, on occasion those of unfriendly ones,
provides a valu-able source of CE information. This is particularly
true in time of crisis or of war when mutual interest can be served
by exchange of information, thus the X-2 liaison in Washington with
FBI, G-2, ONI, State Department, Office of Censorship, Treasury
Depart-ment. Foreign Economic Administration (FEA) and Office of
War Information (OWI), was carefully maintained throughout the war.
The reports passed on by other branches of OSS also added valuable
material to the files. The richest sources, however, were those
opened to the Branch by the British, and, in varying degrees, by
other Allied services.
Like control of the enemy's pouched messages, the interception,
when possible, of his telephoned, telegraphed, or wireless messages
provided positive and security intelligence of the highest value.
A CE organization inevitably securesespecially in war-time
from captured agentsinformation very useful to the cryptographic
department of its government; in turn, such relevant information
as those departments pass on is used to protect the security of
national interests. Interchange of mutual services apart, there
is normally in all major intelligence systems a close tie, based
on security considerations, between the overseas CE organization
and the departments that work on codes.
The improvement of the mechanics of the Registry, and of the related
processing of reports by intelligence desks, was a matter of constant
concern to X-2. The efficiency of the CE Registry is an index of
the efficiency of the organization that exists to produce and apply
it; any maladjustments in the organization of the headquarters office
is felt there seriously; maladjustment in the Registry, in turn,
reacts on the work of the liaison section and on the operations
of the agent network. The basic principle that the CE reistry must
be separate from other intelligence registries and be served by
people trained in CE methods and procedures was recognized at an
early date; when an independent section of the OSS Registry within
X-2, manned by Branch personnel, was established. It took some time,
however, to get the Registry and desk arrangements running smoothly.
Such arrangements aimed at a full and free flow of information from
and to the field, a speedy, accurate recording system, and an organization
of the records which would at once reflect the worldwide unity of
the agency and make all items easily available. In the beginning,
the Registry-desk problems arose chiefly from a lack of experience
and of trained personnel.
The Branch Chief was able to announce in September 1945 that X-2
had received a total of more than 80,000 documents and reports and
10,000 cables, yielding a card file of some 400,000 entries. Lists,
reports, and studies based on this material had been distributed
to US departments and agencies, to Allied organizations, and to
X-2 offices in the field. In the period 1 April 1944 to 1 April
1945, for example,
X-2/Washington distributed 2,780 classified reports, ranging from
overall studies to reports of more usual length, to government depart-ments
Personnel Procurement and Training
The Personnel Procurement
and Training and the Administrative Sections were faced with multiple
difficulties, which inevitably grew out of the rapid expansion of
the Branch in the first six months. The task of carrying through
the necessarily slow processes of contacting, checking, assessing,
indoc-trinating, training, and briefing more than 200 CE workers
and subsequently dispatching a large percentage of them to the field
was particularly formidable in view of the Branch's rigid security
standards. The strictness of the procedural and security arrangements
of a CE machine, the tightness of allotments of Army and Navy personnel
during those months, the shortage of transportation, and other elements
in the wartime situation restricted freedom of choice and movement.
With settlement of policy and practice with respect to recruiting
and training and the acquisition of a larger number of more experienced
officers in the Washington field office to help with the program,
the training of the 400 recruits, later added to X-2, became more
manageable. A formal indoctrination course, which followed attendance
at the assessment school, was set up in June 1944 for overseas personnel.
It was given in part in the headquarters offices and in part at
a staging area in New York City while personnel awaited transportation
to the field. A month later a program was established for the training
of headquarters officers and secretarial workers.
Percy E. (Sam) Foxworth, Special
Agent in charge, FBI, New York City.
All matters of inter-Branch policy were determined in Washington.
Questions arising on matters within the jurisdiction of the London
office were decided in Washington on information from London. As
the field operational control office, London was vested with the
authority to make decisions necessary for field operations in Europe,
North Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East.
Problems of adjustment were inevitably numerous in the first few
monthsespecially those that involved interpretation of the
basic principles of X-2 to other branches of Special Operations
(SO) and to other agencies.
The peculiarities of a CE organization were for a time not fully
understood within OSS and the necessity for special X-2 arrangements
was not at first acknowledged. The need for separateness of its
Registry was one such matter. Unique CE security regulations, especially
with respect to cable communications, was another.1 Also,
Special Training (ST) had originally based its curricula on the
special needs of SI and SO, and changes, which were necessary for
the adequate training of X-2 personnel, could only be brought about
slowly. Misapprehensions as to the close relations between X-2 and
the British services were not infrequent. For the last months of
1943, then, the establishment of Branch policy in these respects
was one of the main preoccupations of the Branch Chief and his assistants.
The definition and adjustment of such policy decisions in terms
of the organization and work of the Branch were constant. Frequent
adjustments within the frame of established policies were called
for by management difficulties that arose from forces beyond the
control of the Branchthe regulations of other services and
the likeand by those that came from the necessarily exploratory
and tentative character of the organizational pattern during a period
of very rapid expansion.
Liaison With Other Agencies
One of the chief activities of X-2/Washington was the transmission
of CE information to other user agencies and for that reason the
Liaison Section was one of its busiest units. In addition to responsibility
for arrangements within the Branch to expedite liaison with Allied
services, the Section maintained continuous liaison with State Department,
G-2, ONI and FBI, as well as with Air Intelligence (A-2), the Office
of Censorship, FEA, OWI, Treasury (including the Bureau of Narcotics,
Secret Service, War Refugee Board, Foreign Funds Control, Bureau
of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue), and such other governmental
departments and bureaus as were interested in CE information. It
also maintained the American contact with British counterintelligence
and British Imperial Censorship.
In the year before the German collapse, more than 3,000 reports
were disseminated to Washington agencies. Of these, 682 went to
the Office of Censorship, 410 to FBI, 977 to G-2, 480 to State,
and 125 to ONI. In addition to such disseminations, X-2 made available
to FBI a list of approximately 5,000 documents of an intelligence
nature from its records. The liaison with FBI was concerned largely
with the exchange of information on the overseas background of persons
of interest to the Bureau; with intelligence regarding enemy agents
who might operate in the United States; and with the coordination
of policies and arrangements for the handling of certain double
agents prior to their departure from Europe for the United States.
A Watch List Unit was set up in July 1943 to collect for dissemination
to the US Office of Censorship, British Imperial Censorship, and
French Censorship all CE information derived by X-2 from the communications
of known or suspected agents. The Unit listed all names of such
agents and their cover addresses, letter boxes, or mail drops so
that enemy communications could be intercepted and surveyed. It
was possible for the Unit to pass on to the censorship offices with
which it cooperated studies not only on persons and organizations
but also on methods of secret communication. In turn, it received
like information from those offices.
An Insurance Unit was established when X-2 headquarters were in
New York, and its work was directed from there throughout the existence
of the Branch. Its function was the detection of enemy intelligence
activities operated through insurance cover. As its work progressed,
it evolved into an X-2_SI unit, with its most profitable investigations
those of a secret intelligence nature. Never a large unitit
was staffed by six officers who were insurance expertsit did
impressive work. For example, its London office secured, after other
American intelligence investigations had failed, information valuable
to the military, naval, and especially air commands with regard
to the Far East, as well as Europe. The procurement of such information
illustrated once more the intelligence principle that the richest
intelligence on an area frequently can be gathered at a point outside
A CE Smuggling Unit, planned toward the end of 1943, was designed
to coordinate information on smuggling from all available sources
because of the frequent tieup between that activity and espionage.
It was hoped that such a unit, surveying, for instance, the smuggling
traffic between Iberia and South America, could produce for OSS,
FBI, and other American intelligence agencies studies on the relations
between various Fascist intelligence systems, their communications,
etc. Actually, this promising plan came to nothing because of a
shortage of officers. As a result, the geographical desks had to
deal piecemeal with such problems as they arose.
An X-2 Art Looting Investigation Unit was established in the second
half of 1944, when it became apparent that the Germans intended
to carry on with plans for subversive action after the cessation
of hostilities and were making arrangements for a supply of funds
during the post-hostilities period. It was known that various sorts
of treasure, in the form of items of small bulk but great value
(jewels, paintings, objects d'art), which could be converted into
money, had been stolen or otherwise acquired and were being stored
at various places in Europe. The Allies appointed the Roberts Commission
and the McMillan Commission to advise the US War Department and
the British War Office, respectively, on questions involving the
return of such objects to their rightful owners. X-2 was primarily
interested in the people who would attempt to dispose of works of
art of this kind, as a source of information on current and future
activities and plans of the enemy. The staff of the Art Looting
Investigation Unit, which was related to the commissions mentioned
above, worked under the direction of the London office.
OSS Field Security
The rapid growth of CE files, resulting from Washington and London
liaison and from field operations, made it possible by early summer
of 1944 for X-2 to be increasingly useful to OSS field security
at a time when SI and other OSS operations ramified on the European
Continent. Pursuant to a directive from Donovan, X-2 took over the
CE investigation of a large number of new categories of OSS personnel:
In July 1944, 677 names were vetted;2 in August, 1,167.
Field stations of American agencies, other than OSS, had recourse
to X-2 files for the vetting of employees, especially in enemy territory
under American control, as did foreign offices of the State Department
in connection with visa applications and arrangements for the entry
of members of foreign missions to the United States. Such work was
performed under the supervision of an X-2 Vetting Officer.
By 1944, also, careful studies of prisoner-of-war lists were undertaken
through liaison with the Captured Personnel and Materials (CPM)
Branch of MIS, with increasingly interesting results. Subsequently,
an arrangement was made whereby an interrogation officer from CPM
was assigned to X-2 for CE liaison. He was briefed by X-2 from its
files so that CPM could use the material without endangering the
security of sources. Relations with the office of the Provost Marshal
General were maintained to locate prisoners of war in order that
identifications of certain prisoners as known or suspect agents
could be supplied.
The principal function of CE was to penetrate the enemy's or potential
enemy's closely guarded undercover intelligence services in order
to discover his intelligence objectives. Knowing the enemy's aims,
it was the further function of CE to neutralize his intelligence
efforts or control and direct them to its own purposes.
One of the principal methods by which this was accomplished was
the manipulation of double agents, that is to say, captured agents
who would be persuaded to continue their activities for the enemy,
ostensibly in good faith but actually at the direction of X-2. Various
forms of pressure were brought to bear upon such agents, depending
upon the particular situation. Generally, however, the motivations
of self-interest and self-preservation were sufficient. A second
standardized form of double-agent operation would be the case of
an agent recruited by X-2 and infiltrated into enemy territory to
induce the enemy to employ him as an agent and return him to Allied
In both of the above basic types of double-agent operations, there
were varying benefits from the stand point of intelligence. The
controlled agent could call for supplies or money. His reports to
the enemy could attract replies, which revealed not only actual
or projected enemy intelligence activities, but enemy intentions
of greater magnitude. Further, such a controlled agent could serve
as a magnet to draw other enemy agents into the CE-controlled network.
Such operations naturally required the utmost delicacy in handling.
The two basic types of operations mentioned above were subject to
an infinity of variations and adaptations, depending upon the particular
circumstances. On occasion, operations involving controlled agents
became extremely complicated. The enemy, of course, engaged in the
same types of activity. Thus, an enemy agent might be infiltrated
into Allied territory to seek employment as an agent. His objective
would be to return to enemy territory, ostensibly working for an
Allied service, but actually operating for the enemy. Such an agent
might be tripled, if his real purpose were discovered when he sought
employment with Allies.
Another variation would be a captured agent who might agree to
be doubled, that is, to continue ostensibly operating his radio
or other channel of communication for the enemy while under Allied
control. If the enemy realized that such an agent had been "turned,"
he might try to feed the Allies deceptive material in the form of
questionnaires. However, if it were realized that the enemy was
aware of Allied control, the agent might be quadrupled in an intricate
operation of deception and counter-deception. On occasion, the oration
might become too complicated, whereupon it would be dropped.
One of the principal uses of double agents was to feed the enemy
such seemingly good information from a given area that he would
feel no need of sending additional agents to the region. In this
fashion, X-2 could gain complete control of the intelligence, which
the enemy received from a particular area.
There were infinite variations in methods of manipulating agents.
They depended solely upon imagination, ingenuity, and judgment.
The value of success in such operations was, of course, great. Control
of the enemy's intelligence instruments provided an important channel
of deception; examination of the enemy's intelligence question-naires
to agents gave an indication of what he wished to know and thereby
provided a basis for deducing his plans and intentions.
A primary principle was not to induce open defections on the part
of enemy agents. If the enemy were aware that one of his agents
had defected to the Allies, not only was an important channel of
deception and a source of information closed, but the enemy would
be inclined to send other, and perhaps more successful, agents to
the region in question.
The actual operations of X-2 were, of course, carried out in the
field. It was the function of the Washington headquarters to receive
and preserve in usable form the fruits of field operations. The
Washington Registry, however, made many field operations possible.
The central Registry, in which was collected all available data
concerning enemy intelligence organizations, agents, and subagents,
as well as organizational and individual relationships, provided
the coordinating instrument, which was vital to success in counterespionage.
Those files did not lose their value at the conclusion of the given
operation, or of a war.
Individuals or relationships, which have seemed dormant for a long
period, may become active again and provide the key to detection
of widespread intelligence activities.
The uncoordinated fragments of enemy subversive personality lists,
which had existed in June 1943 when the Branch was established,
had by 1945 grown to a registry of some 400,000 carded names. These
records, together with those of the FBI, provided a foundation for
American security intelligence.
By October 1945, when OSS liquidated, X-2/Washington had become
the headquarters for a widespread net of overseas stations, with
a total of some 650 personnel. London was operational headquarters
for North Africa, Western Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East,
with missions in France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland,
Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, Turkey,
Syria, and Egypt. CE work in India, Burma, Ceylon and China had
been organized around headquarters in New Delhi, Myitkyina, Kandy,
Kunming, and Shanghai, each of which reported directly to Washington.
In addition to the valuable files of CE intelligence kept current
by these stations and the reports resulting from liaison, X-2 had
developed two other major elements of an effective CE organization:
A pool of trained and experienced personnel and a net of relationships,
principally in the form of basic agreements and operating contracts,
with Allied counterespionage services at home and abroad.
Virtually all of the X-2 staff had received extensive CE operational
training and experience in cooperation with Allied specialists in
such work, both in the United States and overseas. The high success
of a number of exclusively conducted X-2 operations in the field
indicates the degree to which the staff of the Branch benefited
from this experience.
In the two years and four months of its existence, X-2 worked out
firm agreements with the FBI, G-2, and the State Department. In
London, the basic operating agreement that was negotiated in 1943
with MI6(V) was supplemented by a scarcely less important agreement
with MI5 in early 1944. X-2 thus gained full access to the experience
and extensive files of both the external and internal British CE
services. Similar working agreements were concluded with the French
services. Liaison contacts were established with the competent services
in liberated countries, notably Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway.
Basic agreements with the military, for example, SHAEF, AFHQ, Com
Z, and 6th and 12th Army Groups, implemented by SCI units had prepared
the way for X-2 to service the occupation authorities after the
collapse of Germany. Similar agreements in the Far East had opened
up an additional field of operations.
Starting at a late date, X-2 developed a CE organization for wartime
service, which could take its place among the major security services
of the world. No small part of the credit for making this achievement
possible was due to the records and experience made available by
the British. In the course of exploiting that opportunity for wartime
purposes, the United States assembled the elements of an effective
A Counterintelligence Division of SI, organized March 1943, became
the Counter-Espionage (X-2) Branch of OSS by June of that year.
Despite the late start, by 1945 the United States had acquired an
experienced group of professionals in the complicated techniques
required for the protection of US services abroad. The advance was
made possible by the extensive cooperation of British MI6 (Section
V) and MI5.3
The British Services
From the beginning of the war, the British had urged creation of
such a service either in OSS or jointly between OSS and the FBI.
After it had been formed, the British carried out a thorough policy
of offering the new section complete access to files in London,
sources, secret methods, procedures, and knowledge of the personnel,
organization, and operations of what was probably the world's most
experienced and efficient, and therefore most carefully safeguarded,
Characteristic of the apprentice training offered OSS by the British
was that given to some X-2 members in the double-agent section of
MI5(B). These officers were assigned desks in the offices of that
section and had free access to the files of double-agent cases,
to the traffic of current ones, and to the officers who had directed
or were directing such cases. Normally, in the course of their study,
they met both double and controlled enemy agents whom the British
were operating, helped to gather the "chicken feed," which
was to be transmitted to the Germans, and learned the relationship
between the section to which they were attached and the other intelligence
organizations which shared the exploitation of double-agent networks.
One American officer was given a desk in the room of the director
of the double-agent section and was made party to all conversations
and conferences on problems arising in connection with management
of current British cases, some of which were of a long-range character
and therefore involved the highest security. When the secret methods
of the British agencies were fully understood, the importance of
the security risk they took was appreciated as overwhelming.
It was on this basis that X-2/London opened offices adjoining those
of the British and began in March 1943 to learn the job. It became
obvious early that London would have to be the center of X-2 operations
in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East due to the presence
in London of other Allied counterespionage services and the sources
of intercepted material, which were available only there. It was
clearly impossible to transmit in a short time the vast stores of
CE material in the British Registries, made available to X-2 through
its liaison with MI6(V). Until the Washington CE files had grown
from liaison sources, and from X-2's own subsequent field operations,
to something like the quantity of those in London, action on cases
of American interest would have to be handled by the group stationed
This decision was not intended to, and did not, stop the flow to
the United States of CE material of all classifications. The accumulation
of CE files in the OSS Registry by the end of the war attested to
the steady and voluminous flow of CE reports and studies from the
London desks to those in Washington. It did mean, however, that,
on the whole such material would be of use there chiefly for information
purposes and for organization into a basic American registry of
CE intelligence relating to areas outside the Western Hemisphere.
The prime necessity of maintaining a direct and close coordination,
not only with the British but with other Allied CE agencies was
another important consideration in centering American overseas CE
headquarters in London_at least until the last stages of the war.
The headquarters, files, and staffs of the Free French, Norwegian,
Dutch, Belgian, Polish, Czech, Greek, and Yugoslav Governments were
located in London, as were those of the French Service de Securite
Militaire. The eagerness of the chiefs and officers of these services
to cooperate with the Americans provided an opportunity that no
American CE group could disregard.
Liaison with the French was closer than that with other agencies,
although it never reached the level of that with the British. British
counterespionage agencies were unwilling to admit the French services
and reserved joint operation to X-2 only.
Source material came not only from Allied counterespionage services
but also through liaison with SHAEF Evaluation and Dissemination
Section, Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Center (U.K.),
London Military Documents Center (the earlier Military Intelligence
Records Section), War Department, War Office, War Crimes Commission,
Special Operations Executive (SOE), Admiralty, FBI, ONI and US Army
Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects.
CE schooling of the more formal kind supple-mented the apprentice
training. From the earliest days, English and French officers from
London headquarters or from the field shared their experiences with
X-2 personnel in frequent formal training talks. The subjects of
these talks ranged from notes on communications, office procedures,
and the like to analyses of the overall CE situations in certain
areas. One series illustrated the interrogation methods of the Germans
(by men who had been interrogated by them) and of the English (by
men who had conducted the interrogations of enemy agents). Such
English establishments as central registries, interrogation centers,
and training schools were open to X-2 officers for observation visits.
Another principal element in the X-2/London training was the schooling
that grew out of the day-to-day association with colleagues in the
British and other Allied CE services.
X-2 was first organized on a regional basis to match
British opposite numbers: (1) The Western European section was established
with three main desks, French (including Belgian and Dutch), German,
and Swiss; (2) the Iberian section included Spanish, Portuguese,
Italian and_through 1943_North African desks; (3) The Scandinavian;
and (4) the Middle Eastern sections (established during the first
quarter of 1944) handled the affairs of their areas under an arrangement
of one desk each. American CE interests in Eire were covered by
an officer who made visits to Dublin at regular intervals and kept
close liaison with the section of MI5 that dealt with British security
problems in southern Ireland.
In May 1944, Reports section was added to these and placed under
an officer whose responsibility was the supervision of all X-2/London
The work of these desks comprised the bulk of X-2 activity: carding,
collating, and interpreting all reported items of CE information
in terms of the centralized intelligence available in land through
the London registries; preparing notes for the field based on these
studies, embodying information, suggestion, and direction; answering
specific inquiries of field officers; preparing, for Washington
and the field, handbooks, and other overall studies of the CE situation,
enemy organizations, and enemy methods; disseminating relevant intelligence
items to other Allied agencies; and conducting liaison with other
OSS, American, British, and Allied offices.
X-2 also personally checked SI agents against the British files,
as well as employees of other US agencies. Such vetting had disturbed
SI/X-2 relations for some time, because SI feared that the tracings
would reveal its agents to the British services. Growing recognition
by the other branches of OSS that such revelations could be avoided
and that the benefits received from that service were valuable enabled
X-2 to carry out more fully the directives of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff and of the Director, OSS, to safeguard the undercover operations
of the other branches in the field. Further evidence of profitable
cooperation between SI and X-2 was the preparation by the X-2/French
Desk, in July 1944, of CE briefs used for SI agents who were dispatched
into five areas in France during that month. As the armies advanced,
X-2 also conducted interrogations of SI agents who had been overrun
by the armies and had been returned to England.
Preparing Special Counterintelligence Teams
In preparation for the invasion of Europe, the X-2 intelligence
sections for the areas to be occupied had two main tasks: the gathering
of as great a store of basic counterespionage files as possible
from the registries of the British and other Allies; the preparation
of a machine consisting of Special Counterintelligence teams5
for work with invading armies, and a headquarters War Room to support
These tasks were clearly parts of the one main purpose: the liquidation
of the enemy intelligence and subversion services. The earlier operations,
from neutral countries and newly gained footholds in Africa and
on the Continent, aimed at drawing a tight intelligence ring about
the periphery of enemy-occupied and dominated Europe; those that
accompanied the attack of the armies applied in the field the stores
of intelligence so far gathered toward the neutralization and control
of enemy services.
There was in London a startlingly large and accurate mass of data
on individual enemy agents and their organizational relationships,
on channels of communication and the like; it was possible not only
to list and map enemy offices and operational stations, communications
chains and training schools, but also to pinpoint the location of
individuals and of related groups of the German satellite undercover
agencies. This information had been gathered from the activities
of Allied CE stations in neutral countries, the surveillance of
known enemy chains, the operations of double agents and controlled
enemy agents, the interrogation of defected or captured enemy agents,
censorship sources and various other means. The SCI teams carried
this information to the field with theminformation, which
they, and the CIC teams of the armies, exploited with results that
expanded at times in almost geometrical progression: the swift capture
and interrogation of one pinpointed agent led to the identification
and location of one, two, or three others, who each might yield
like identifications in his turn.
Members of the SCI teams to accompany American armies in the field
were trained and briefed in the X-2/London office, and, for a group
of selected officers, in the double-agent section of MI5 (B). The
training consisted of formal lectures on enemy organizations and
their relationship; the study of CE files of invasion areas; classes
in codes and communications procedures; work with desk personnel
in the preparation of SHAEF cards, target lists, and the like; land
discussion and study group meetings with experienced British and
To supply a stream of information to SCI and CIC teams in the field,
a series of cards was prepared by MI6 (V) and X-2. These were file
cards, edited in a standard style, on which were summarized in a
complete but compact form all information available from all sources
on a single enemy or suspect personality. Cross references to organization
and personal relationships were contained in the data given or were
specially noted. A maximum use of symbols and abbreviations made
it possible to pack the cards with information, so that reference
to related cards could provide the basis for a quick but fairly
thorough interrogation. Additions were to be made to these cards
as new information came in; when need arose, amended new cards were
to be printed and distributed. The cards were produced in several
colors: data on persons connected or believed to be connected with
the Abwehr or the Sicherheitsdienst (the main target of Allied CE
agencies) were printed in pink cards; those on political quislings
and collaborationists, on buff; those on friendly persons, on white.
The Evaluation and Dissemination Section (EDS), which was set up
by SHAEF to collect and collate information on the Nazi Party, police,
paramilitary organizations, etc., received the pro forma of the
pink cards assembled by X-2 and MI6(V), and printed and distributed
them to the CI staffs.
In late April 1944, the training of the SCI units and Western European
Desk's arrangements to serve them, were tested in a three-day field
exercise carried out, together with SI and SO units, at Horsham
under simulated battle conditions. An analysis of the weakness of
the liaison and communications methods, brought out under this test,
indicated the need of more standard procedures, which were accordingly
prepared and published in May. The document fixed the terms under
which a joint British and American headquarters' Western European
Desk, to be known as the SCI War Room, was to operate, and defined
the relationships between SI, SO, and X-2 with respect to the handling
of agents, the interchange of information, and the interrogation
of certain categories of persons. The plan established two separate
organizations in Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander
(COSSAC). One of these was the Evaluation and Dissemination Section
(EDS) to compile, analyze, edit, and distribute (a) the semi-overt
type of counterintelligence (on collabora-tionists, police, political
papers, etc.), and (b) such secret intelligence as MI6/X-2 furnished
it for production and distribution in the form of handbooks and
pink SHAEF cards. The other was the so-called SCI War Room, an unofficial
arrangement completely under the control of MI6/X-2 for the purpose
of servicing SCI unites in the field and EDS in London.
The SCI War Room contained master maps pinpointing all known German
agents and espionage centers, including "national" subagents
of Allied-controlled German agents. It was a headquarters desk,
geared to serve as the operational and intelligence base for the
units with the armies. In the period before the liberation of Paris,
it handled all requests, even for supplies, from the field.
Besides the normal desk work of receiving, processing, carding,
and distributing the mass of information from all sources and preparing
target lists and studies for the unites, it answered queries for
checks on arrested or suspect agents, assisted with fuller information
for field interrogations, and arranged with field units for shipment
to the UK interrogation centers of enemy agents of importance or
special promise as double agents. By September 1944, X-2 began to
receive and distribute through the
War Room copies of the valuable "020 Reports"6
(on the interrogation of enemy agents at Camp 020, the chief British
interrogation center for agents apprehended in the United Kingdom
or brought there from other countries). Until a special Vetting
Desk was set up at the end of 1944, the War Room had also the task
of carrying through security tracings on an increasingly large number
of SI agents recruited in the files as military operations progressed.
In early March 1945, a reorganization of
the War Room and desk system was accomplished, which (a) made of
the War Room a broader and less secure agency, and (b) gave to the
desks the job of handling double agents. The desks were now organized,
not according to countries within the SHAEF area of responsibility,
but according to branches of the German intelligence services.
The SHAEF G-2 Joint Counterintelligence War Room was to work directly
for the SHAEF Counterintelligence Branch (CIB) staffs during the
last phase of military operations and through the liquidation period
that would follow the collapse of Germany. It was based on the large
and efficiently staffed MI5 registry, together with that of MI6,
and a number of posts in it were assigned to MI5 officers, secretaries,
and clerical help. The French services were also admitted to participation.7
The Director and Deputy Director were attached to SHAEF and
were not responsible to their respective Services. The War Room
had neither concern with the running of agents, although it did
receive relevant information produced from such operations nor was
it responsible for German activities outside the SHAEF area except
for Austria, which, by special agreement, was to be the concern
of the War Room during the occupational phase.
The new War Room was looked upon by the CIB staffs as part of their
own machine, and they had recourse to it constantly for information
on the German intelligence services and guidance in the conduct
of their operations. This relationship made for a diffusion of information
on enemy intelligence personnel and organizations to lower field
units, which had hitherto known little or nothing about them. The
War Room assisted in training and briefing interrogators assigned
to American Interrogation Centers, a number of whom came to London
for study and conference. It also sent to the field overall studies
on enemy sabotage activities and methods, although none was prepared
on such general topics as types of agents employed, missions, cover
At the same time, it was decided that the London headquarters'
handling of double-agents cases should be done, not by the War Room,
but by the appropriate desks of X-2 and MI6(V), with the understanding
that information derived from double-agent sources necessary for
the operations of the CI staffs would be transmitted to the latter
in a secure form by the War Room staff.
Desks were also relieved of the manual work of producing or amending
SHAEF cards, by an arrangement that had all checking and processing,
as well as the making of new entries on cards, done by a staff of
expert women at the Registry. The translation, evaluation, and distribution
of all in-coming captured documents were managed by a single section
under the direction of an experienced officer, who supervised the
production of English precis of relevant documents and of accession
lists of all documents for officers of the interested desks. That
officer also supervised Registry action on his material. Such work
as overall studies, including the London weekly survey of the CE
situation for SHAEF, was taken care of by a small section of expert
The most striking of the new features, however, was that the desks
were assigned, not to the study of the GIS in certain areas, but
to that of highly particular sections of the Abwehr or the Sicherheitsdienst
themselves. Thus the several desk officers could become final experts
on assigned sections and subsections of the German Intelligence
Service (GIS). Given that concentration of specialty, an officer
could have at his command all the information available on his subject
and could, therefore handle more business more effectively in a
day then he could if his interests were more dispersed and the necessity
of refresher reading on various kinds of scattered cases necessary.
Such functional arrangement of targets was an ideal one for a CE
agency since the targets were not areas, but enemy undercover agents
and operations themselves. Normally the area desk was the only
workable solution to the problem of world coverage; the final integration
of data had to take place in general study sections working with
registry files. In 1945, however, the enemy undercover agencies
were concentrated in a small enough area to permit desk specialization.
An X-2 London Desk
A typical desk history, through the various
reorganizations, was that of the German Desk, which began its work
in January 1944. As was true of all the London desks, its first
activities centered chiefly on the job of building up its basic
file of records from the large accumulations of the counterpart
British desk. It focused on the enemy undercover organizations in
Germany, which for the purposes of the Desk, included Austria.
In August, of 1944, the Polish, Czechoslovak, and Swiss desks were
incorporated into a German Desk, in preparation for a German War
Room to service SCI teams and the filed stations, before and after
the German surrender. Actually, no such War Room came into full
operation for the season that the joint Z-2/MI5/MI6 SHAEF, G-2 Counterintelligence
War Room came into being in time to deal with the mass of work on
the arrests, interrogations, and the like, that came with the decline
and collapse of the German military strength. The new arrangement
left to the Desk the management of all special cases and the processing
and distribution to Washington of the reports transmitted to it
by the War Room on German cases. Lists of suspect persons, organization
studies of the GIS, and area target lists and similar material made
in preparation for the support of the field teams in Germany were,
despite the change, distributed to the field.
Targets list, worked out from sources ranging from Top Secret material
to German telephone books, were found to be highly useful to Theater-Forces
(T-Forces) and CIC teams, which went into towns and cities with
the first army units. Such raids yielded in turn, from captured
documents and the speedy interrogations of captured GIS personnel,
fuller and more recent information of target ahead. A staff of the
German section in the Paris office worked on this project exclusively.
Its lists, produced and distributed at top speed, were, when time
allowed, supplemented and corrected by cabled and pouched notes
drawn from the London files of the German Desk and of the War Room.
Headquarters could, by this time, draw on fully checked and detailed
interrogation reports of captured or defected German officers and
agents of high grade. Toward the end of the fighting and after,
only the more highly placed and more knowledgeable members of the
GIS could be given thorough interrogation. They would yield more
information of the significant personnel in the echelons below and
above them, with the least expenditure of time and energy.
The German Desk collaborated with the War Room, not only in making
target lists, but in the preparation of studies and reports on the
methods and techniques of German intelligence services, recent changes
in the relationships among branches of the various German services,
their plans for long-range resistance, sabotage and intelligence
operations, and related activities.
During the period of settlement after VE-Day, the Desk served the
X-2 staffs at Wiesbaden, Frankfurt, Munich, Salzburg, Berlin, Stuttgart,
and Bremen. All special cases handled by these stations were directed
by the London German Desk.
The SHAEF War Room aimed at rapid self-liquidation as possible.
By the end of the summer of 1945, the German intelligence services
had disappeared as organizations. By that time, too, the Counterintelligence
Branch (CIB) staffs were in a position, with the information provided
by the War Room, to take over much of the work hitherto done by
that unit. In September 1945, it was terminated, and X-2 London
remained the controlling center for US counterespionage operations
The War Room had been an arrangement for the servicing of the mobile
CE units that mediated between the London registries and the CIB
staffs with armies and at army groups. However, much CE data one
X-2 filed unit might carry with it, it was unlike SI or SO field
units in its continued dependence on the central registries. Swift
recourse to the full information in the central files was a prime
requisite for counterintelligence and counterespionage operations.
Control had to rest at the center in which the registries were located.
The only serious division of authority occurred in September 1944,
when a Paris office was established to coordinate, under London
direction, US counterespionage in France. Despite the difficulties
inherent in this division, the office and the SCI teams offered
an excellent opportunity for many of the X-2/London personnel to
test independently, in actual field operations, their extensive
The Insurance Unit had been established in Washington under COI
and continued under Z-2 because of the counterespionage value of
its researches.10 The London unit was initiated in February
1944 to tap British insurance companies for intelligence on firms
in enemy territory. Its main product, however, was positive secret
intelligence, and its chief liaison within OSS was with the Research
and Analysis Branch (R&A). Outside OSS, it worked with FEA and
other American and British agencies responsible for assembling economic
intelligence and target information for Army, Navy, and Air Force
commands from the files of insurance and other commercial sources
in the United Kingdom.
Before writing, for example, a fire policy, an insurance company
must make decisions based on thorough studies of the locations to
be insured: buildings, docks, warehouses, industrial plants, and
related installations. No company will consider insuring a building
unless it has complete blueprints of the construction plan, details
of wiring and hundreds of other facts, which can be evaluated only
after a complete study of the physical composition of the area.
Obviously, such detailed and current information was of great intelligence
value. An exhaustive indexed library of such materialarchitects'
or insurance engineers' plans, detailed inspectors' reports, copies
of fire insurance schedules, photographs of establishments, waterfronts
and towns, harbor town, street, water supply, police land fire plans,
city and telephone directories, and the likeprovided current,
checked data of a kind that only large chains of expensive agents
could have gathered at great risk and with much uncertainty.
At first, the Insurance Unit's chief problem was that of care in
approaching the British companies. It was important to know by how
many intelligence research agencies they had already been approached
and how thoroughly their sources of information had been canvassed.
It took some time and much tact to discover that the FEA mission,
which was cooperating with a Far East Foreign Service officer attached
to the American Embassy, had by one means exhausted available sources.
The Unit's first liaison was with the Fire Officers Committee,
a group of senior officers of insurance firms, which had been providing
the RAF with material for target folders on industrial objectives
on the Continent. Through this Committee, it was possible to examine
files which turned up items of value on the Far East that had never
been collected before. The discovery led to an arrangement to index
methodically, through one project, all such information on each
area of the Far East, in the files of all the companies in London
engaged in international business. The manpower problem was solved
by the companies providing clerical help, which would work under
direction of the Insurance Unit. A system of symbols and of protected
channels assured the security of the operation.
From the beginning, the Unit forwarded material to Washington,
for the R&A Branch there, and carried out research on industrial
and other installations in Far East at R&A request. The work
led to direct liaisons with various Far East divisions of the British
services and agencies, including Navy Intelligence Division-21 (the
collection agency for Inter-Services Topographical Department, ISTD),
which had contact with some two thousand British firms with interests
abroad and had indexed the materials available in the UK for all
prominent firms with Far East interests. The liaison made the files
of NID-21 available to the unit and opened the way to profitable
direct liaison with various sections of ISTD itself. ISTD, in turn,
developed like liaisons with Ministry of Economic Warfare and with
A-13(c) l of the Air Ministry. The Unit had a channel to the War
Office through the geographic section of R&A. Thus, by June
1944, it was sending Far East material reproduced by it to OSS/Washington
and to FEA through FEA/London. It was, in like manner, distributing
information to ISTD, NID-21, Ministry of Economic Warfare (MEW),
A-13(c)1, and to the Ministry of Home Security, (which prepared
target folders for the strategic bombing of Europe and, later, of
the Far East, particularly Japan).
An example of the kind of service the Unit was able to give Washington
was the reply to a questionnaire calling for detailed information
on 94 installations and activities in the Hong Kong area. The Unit
returned answers on 64 items. Much of its information came from
insurance sources; other important items were obtained through its
liaisons. The War Office handed to the Unit complete engineering
details of railway lines. The Admiralty provided complete plans
and up-to-the-minute intelligence reports on naval installations.
ISTD made available all its information on both topographical and
economic matters and also introduced the Unit to the British Crown
agents, who opened their files to the Unit. NID-21 approached all
commercial firms known to have interests in the area for relevant
The Unit also maintained coverage of the European Theater. For
example, it provided important intelligence for the Eindhoven airborne
operation of September 1944. Through its index, the Unit knew that
buildings in Eindhoven, which were on the Allied priority list had
been insured by London companies since 1926. Complete and accurate
plans of the entire area were speedily made available to the Allied
Establishment of Central Intelligence
Substantive Authority Necessary in Establishment
of a Central Intelligence Service
In order to coordinate and centralize the
policies and actions of the Government relating to intelligence:
1. There is established in the Executive Office of the President
a central service, to be known as the__________ as head of which
shall be a Director appointed by the President. The Director shall
discharge and perform his functions and duties under the direction
and supervision of the President. Subject to approval of the President,
the Director may exercise his powers, authorities and duties through
such officials or agencies and in such manner as he may determine.
2. There is established in the an Advisory Board consisting
of the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary
of War, Attorney General, the Secretary of the Navy, and such other
members as the President may subsequently appoint. The Board shall
advise and assist the Director with respect to the formulations
of basic policies and plan of the _________.
3. Subject to the direction and control of the President, and with
any necessary advice and assistance from the other departments and
agencies of the Government, the _________ shall perform the following
functions and duties:
(a) Coordination of the functions of all intelligence agencies
of the Government, and the establishment of such policies and objectives
as will assure the integration of national intelligence efforts;
(b) Collection either directly or through existing Government Department
and agencies, of pertinent information, including military, economic,
political, and scientific, concerning the capabilities, intentions
and activities of foreign nations, with particular reference to
the effect such matters may have upon the national security, policies,
and interests of the United States.
(c) Final evaluation, synthesis and dissemination within the Government
of the intelligence required to enable the Government to determine
policies with respect to national planning and security in peace
and war, and the advancement of broad national policy;
(d) Procurement, training and supervision of its intelligence personnel;
(e) Subversive operations abroad;
(f) Determination of policies for and coordination of facilities
essential to the collection of information under subparagraph (b)
(g) Such other functions and duties relating to intelligence as
the President from time to time may direct.
4. The __________ shall have no police or law enforcement functions,
either at home or abroad.
5. Subject to paragraph 3 hereof, existing intelligence agencies
within the Government shall collect, evaluate, synthesize and disseminate
departmental operating intelligence, herein define as intelligence
required by such agencies in the actual performance of their functions
6. The Director shall be authorized to call upon departments and
agencies of the Government to furnish appropriate specialist for
such as may be required.
7. All Government departments and agencies shall make available
to the Director such intelligence material as the Director, with
the approval of the President, from time to time may request.
8. The shall operate under an independent budget.
9. In time of war or unlimited national emergency, all programs
of the _________ in areas of actual or projected military operations
shall be coordinated with military plans and shall be subject to
the approval of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Parts of such programs
which are to be executed in a theater of military operations shall
be subject to the control of the Theater Commander.
10. Within the limits of such funds as may be made available to
_________ the Director may employ necessary personnel and make provision
for neces-sary supplies, facilities and services. The Director shall
be assigned, upon the approval of the President, such military and
naval personnel as may be required in the performance of the functions
and duties of the _________. The Director may provide for the internal
organization and management of the __________ in such a manner as
he may determine.
Executive Order 9621
Termination of the Office of Strategic Services
and Disposition of Its Functions
By virtue of the authority vested
in me by the Constitution and Statutes, including Title 1 of the
First War Powers Act, 1941, and as President of the United States
and Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy, it is hereby ordered
1. There are transferred to and consolidated in an Interim Research
and Intelligence Service, which is hereby established in the Department
(a) the functions of the Research and Analysis Branch and of the
Presentation Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (provided
for by the Military Order of June 13, 1942), excluding such functions
performed within the countries of Germany and Austria, and;
(b) those other functions of the Office of Strategic Services (hereafter
referred to as the Office) which relate to the functions of said
Branches transferred by this paragraph. The functions of the Director
of Strategic Services and of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff,
relating to the functions transferred to the Service by this paragraph
are transferred to the Secretary of State. The personnel property,
and records of the said Branches, except such thereof as is located
in Germany and Austria, and so much of the other personnel, property
and records of the Office and the funds of the Office as the Director
of the Bureau of the Budget shall determine to relate primarily
to the functions are transferred to the said Service. Military personnel
now on duty in connection with the activities transferred by this
paragraph may, subject to applicable law and to the extent mutually
agreeable to the Secretary of State and to the Secretary of War
or the Secretary of the Navy, as the case may be, continue on such
duty in the Department of State.
2. The Interim Research and Intelligence Service shall be abolished
as of the close of business December 31, 1945, and the Secretary
of State shall provide for winding up its affairs. Pending such
(a) the Secretary of State may transfer from the said Service to
such agencies of the Department of State as he shall designate any
function of the Service,
(b) the Secretary may curtail the activities carried on by the
(c) the head of the Service, who shall be designated by the Secretary,
shall be responsible to the Secretary or to such other officer of
the Department of State as the Secretary shall direct, and,
(d) the Service shall, except as otherwise provided in this order,
be administered as an organizational entity in the Department of
3. All functions of the Office not transferred by paragraph 1 of
this order, together with all personnel, records, property, and
funds of the Office not so transferred, are transferred to the Department
of War; and the Office, including the Office of the Director of
Strategic Services, is terminated. The functions of the Director
of Strategic Services and of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff,
relating to the functions transferred by this paragraph, are transferred
to the Secretary of War. Naval personnel on duty with the Office
in connection with the activities transferred by this paragraph
may, subject to applicable law and to the extent mutually agreeable
to the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, continue
on such duty in the Department of War. The Secretary of War shall,
whenever he deems it compatible with the national interest, discontinue
any activity transferred by this paragraph and wind up all affairs
4. Such further measures and dispositions as may be determined
by the Director of the Budget to be necessary to effectuate the
transfer or redistribution of functions provided for in this order
shall be carried out in such manner as the Director may direct and
by such agencies as he may designate.
5. All provisions of prior orders of the President which are in
conflict with this order are amended accordingly.
6. This order shall, except as otherwise specially provided, be
effective as of the opening of business October 1, 1945.
Harry S. Truman
The White House
September 20, 1945
Recommendations from the
Bureau of the Budget, Dated 20 September
Many of the specific changes to internal organization that are
indicated from a consideration of the conclusion are of interest
or concern only to one department. Recommendations applicable to
a single department are presented in broad terms only when they
are of general interest to illustrate the broad principle involved.
Recommendations, concerning proposed change or action of common
or over-all concern, are, however, presented to some detail.
The greater portion of this section of the report is thus devoted
to the proposed central coordinating machinery. This should not
lead to the assumption that the creation of central machinery is
view as the most important step to be taken. Of far greater importance
is the creation of strong departmental organizations particularly
in the State Department, and the separation of security intelligence
operations from the more basic intelligence operations especially
in the State, War, and Navy Departments.
More Widespread Understanding of Intelligence
this memorandum it has been noted how vital to a more adequate Government-wide
foreign intelligence program is a more wide-spread understanding
of what intelligence is, how it is produced and how the intelligence
agency relates to and serves the action-taking or policy-determining
groups. No specific recommendation is possible.
Conduct of the Intelligence Operation at the Departmental Level
Each department (and in some cases subdivision of department) which
has important responsibilities in international matters including
our national defense, or which has public responsibilities for providing
foreign information should provide for a competent foreign intelligence
The kind of facilities which will be required in the various departments
and their size will vary. Except in the case of departments with
major responsibilities, such as the State Department, the facilities
can be quite small.
In each case however, some provision must be made for the following
1. The careful determination of the departments' actual requirements.
This determination will require the development in each department
of a Planning Staff. The requirements of the department of a Planning
Staff will need to be expressed in accor-dance with a standardized
terminology and classification of intelligence and will need to
be stated in sufficient detail to guide reporting, either by activities
of the department itself or of other departments on which on which
the department may rely for information.
2. The systematic cataloging and utilization of all possible sources
to supply the needed information or intelligence.
3. The thorough analysis and evaluation of information through
research techniques. In this way new information is tested against
the accumulated knowledge and established facts of the past and
a complete and digested picture is available in which each pertinent
piece of relevant information is present and in the right place
with the whole so interpreted that conclusions can be drawn and
trends are visible.
4. Careful dissemination of the resultant evaluated product rather
than the mere distribution of incoming reports `of interest'. The
intelligence office must be responsive to the needs of its department
and see that those needs are supplied in full and when needed. On
the other hand, it must protect the department from the voluminous
flood of casual, unrelated, and unevaluated reports or scraps of
information. Just as one expects its statistical office to analyze,
tabulate, and summarize data and point to its significance, so in
its search for knowledge and foreign nations, peoples, conditions
or events it must look to its intelligence office to do a similar
job on the raw material of foreign information.
Our wartime experience has shown that the need for foreign information
and intelligence in any department far exceeds the ability of its
intelligence office to secure or produce without the utilization
of facilities that exist elsewhere. In each case therefore, whether
the intelligence facilities provided in a de-partment are large
or small, the responsibilities of such groups would include not
only responsibilities of their departments but to total Government
program as well. In the latter category are responsibilities such
as (1) to participate in the planning of a Government-wide program,
(2) to interpret the needs of their agencies to the other agencies
of which they may rely for evaluated summary intelligence, (3) to
review the adequacy obtained through the competency of result with
respect to intelligence obtained through other agencies, (4) to
serve as the liaison point between their agencies and the intelligence
groups of other agencies. In general, the departmental intelligence
units should only establish such independent facilities for collection,
evaluation or dissemination as are constant with their role in a
The success of our post-war intelligence operation rests on the
creation within the State Department of an intelligence operation
with responsibilities such as those stated above. The creation of
a centralized intelligence operation in State Department would not
only provide that Department with facilities it has long needed.
In addition it would serve to provide the place where leadership
of Government-wide intelligence activities would be centered.
The intelligence operations of the Army and Navy Departments need
to be readjusted to post-war needs. The war has been responsible
for an emphasis on current news as exemplified in daily situation
reports and on operational intelligence as reflected in large scale
orderof battle operations. Neither the organizations nor organization
nor the staffing have been fully developed to serve the purposes
of active Army and Navy Department participation in interdepartmental
discussion of high future policy. In the Navy Department as an illustration,
the entire intelligence mission is stated to be in support of the
fleet. In neither of the two Departments has sufficient emphasis
been given to research and analysis nor has provision been made
for all available information to be brought together at one point
for evaluation. Further, as already pointed out both still permit
an over-emphasis on security intelligence to interfere with the
full development of more basic intelligence.
Other Departments such as Commerce and Agricul-ture need to recast
their intelligence organizations so as to become participating groups
in a total Government-wide foreign intelligence program.
Separation of Security Intelligence Activities
The security intelligence activities either at home or abroad, serving
internal security purposes should be separated organizationally
from the more basic intelligence activities, except for the mutual
exchange of highly evaluated and summarized reports of general import
(not merely of "cases"). It is further recommended that
an integrated security program including the security intelligence
activities that support it be planned for the Government as a whole.
The implementation of the first recommendation will require action
in a number of departments, not necessarily simultaneously.
In the State Department, for example, the creation of new central
intelligence facilities should not be accompanied by a transfer
of activities now centered in the Office of Controls in the Division
of Foreign Activities Correlation.
In the Navy Department some separation had been undertaken by the
creation of new intelligence facilities in the Office of the Commander
of Chief apart from the Office of Naval Intelligence which is the
principal Navy Department organization concerned with security and
security intelligence. These new facilities offer the possibility
of becoming the nucleus for an expanded basic intelligence operation
in the post-war era when the needs for strictly operational intelligence
will be greatly curtailed irrespective of whether the Office of
the Commander in Chief is retained is or not. The role of NO, however,
as the central staff agency for security matters is not clear, and
a number of related activities, not only in Bureaus and Auxiliary
Services but in the Office of Chief of Naval Operations itself,
are not now coordinated under a single head or staff unit.
In the War Department, too, some separation has resulted from the
reactivation of the Office of the Provost Marshal General. The predilection
for continuance in field of security intelligence, however, still
permits the Military Intelligence Service to become too engrossed
with matters that could be further centralized outside MIS. Further,
because of its organizational placement the PMG cannot be fully
effective as a staff agency to coordinate all security matters.
In both the War and Navy Departments the separation of the security
intelligence operation and the more basic foreign intelligence operation
should be furthered and the security intelligence an the various
forms of internal security operations be more closely coordinated.
The implementation of the second recommendation will require the
creation of an interdepartmental coordinating committee described
Coordination of Intelligence and Security Operations
To insure that the intelligence and security activities of the
Government, carried on by a number of agencies, fulfill all the
national requirements, that they are developed as a total program
producing the maximum result with a minimum of duplication, overlap
and confusion and that adequate planning is accomplished for their
expansion in any future emergency, it is recommended that two interdepart-mental
groups be organized under the leadership of the Department of State.
To one group, which would consist of the Assistant Secretaries
of State, War, Navy and Commerce, would compose an Interdepartmental
Intelligence Coordinating Committee. It would be concerned with
developing an integrated Government-wide foreign intelligence program.
It also would be concerned with planning for the future.
The other group, consisting of the Assistant Secretaries of State,
War, Navy and Treasury and the Assistant Attorney General, would
compose an Interdepartmental Security Coordinating Committee. It
would be concerned with developing an integrated Government-wide
internal security program and of an integrated Government-wide security
intelligence program. It also would be concerned with planning for
These two groups by direction of the President and by means of
planning conducted by permanent staff of their own working through
sub-committee including representatives of any agency of interest
either as customer or contributor, would develop a series of specific
operating plans. These plans would serve as common directives for
the assignment of operating responsibilities among the departmental
intelligence and security agencies. The manner in which such planning
would be conducted will be the same in both the security coordinating
committee and in the intelligence committee, and is described below.
Except as directed later under `Conduct of Central Operations'
the committees would have no responsibilities for the production
of intelligence itself nor for the conduct of operations. Rather
their responsibilities would consist of the following.
1. To develop a detailed and clear statement of the national intelligence
objectives and requirements, including those of all departments
2. To determine the means in terms of actual operations for meeting
the national intelligence and national security requirements.
3. To assign, through a series of specific operating plans, operating
responsibilities to the various departments.
4. To review the adequacy and economy of the total intelligence
program of the Government and of the total security program of the
5. To develop plans, legislation and other instruments in readiness
for the adjustment of the intelligence and the security programs
in the event of emergency or other changed conditions.
The above list of responsibilities describes in effect
the steps in planning. The visible result of such planning and,
therefore, the principal concern of the committee would be the operating
plan itself. Each operating plan when issued would reflect the determination
of the appropriate committee under each of the first three continuing
an long range responsibilities shown above, i.e., the requirements,
the means for their accomplishment, and the specific operating assignments
allocated to the various departments and agencies. When issued,
the specific operating plans would be directives to the department
and agencies. When issued, the specific operating plans would be
directives to the departments and agencies would adjust their operations
to conform to them.
Production of High Level Intelligence
The need to provide for some facilities to serve groups at a
level above the departments themselves is one which should be anticipated
but action is not now recommended.
With principal intelligence activities of the Government being
carried on in the departments in accordance with a planned and coordinated
program, such intelligence as may be needed at the top of the Government
can be produced through or secured from the intelligence operations
in the department. The State Department would provide the principal
facilities for bringing to bear on any high level problem the total
intelligence available anywhere in the Government.
Should it later be found, however, that independent facilities
are desirable to serve the President in the occasional instance
in which he may wish direct and immediate access to the intelligence
involving a matter of high decision, these facilities, which should
be organized in his own office, can be small and need not engage
in large scale initial research and analysis on original raw material.
Conduct of Central Operations
The strengthening of intelligence activities in the departments
and agencies and their coordination by a central planning staff
are the principal means of providing a total operation serving the
total national needs. Central facilities should not be created,
therefore, to engage in operations which can be performed at the
The planning conducted by the two coordinate committees may result
in a decision that some types of operation may be found to be practicable
only if operated centrally or under strong day to day central direction.
It is recommended that any such services as is determined to require
centralization, be conducted as an interdepartmental service under
the appropriate coordinating committee.