11 March 1997
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) today looked back over its 50 year existence and honored an early intelligence service visionary, Lt. General William Quinn, with the Agency Seal Medallion. This award is reserved for non- Agency persons who have made crucial contributions to the mission of the Agency. This medallion, presented by CIA Executive Director Nora Slatkin, carries the inscription: "For outstanding vision and leadership preserving Americaís foreign intelligence capability."
"The verdict of history is that General Quinn was able to preserve the seed from which CIA grew," said Ms. Slatkin.
When the wartime Office of Strategic Services was disbanded on 1 October 1945, then Colonel Quinn recognized the importance of a peacetime centralized intelligence organization. In the fall of 1946, he became Director of the Strategic Services Unit, a CIA predecessor, with the task of reducing the number of people from 9,000 to 2,000 within five months.
Faced with the danger of destroying this nationís unique clandestine and counterespionage talent, Colonel Quinn managed to preserve a core of trained officers that would become the heart of similar capabilities in the CIA. His preparations ensured the country maintained some vital intelligence resources when chilled relations with the Soviet Union expanded into a Cold War.
Lt. General Quinn was appointed in 1961 as the first Deputy Director of the newly established Defense Intelligence Agency. He retired from active duty in 1966 after serving as Commander of the Seventh Army in West Germany. He is also the recipient of the Donovan Award, from the Veterans of the OSS.
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