Documents detail history of previously unknown US spy agency

John V. Grombach

J.V. Grombach

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A collection of tens of thousands of documents discovered in a barn in a small Virginia town, have brought to light the history and operations of a previously unknown US spy agency that competed for prominence with the CIA during the early stages of the Cold War. The secrecy-obsessed agency was known at various times as the Secret Intelligence Branch, the Special Service Branch, the Special Service Section, or the Coverage and Indoctrination Branch; but insiders referred to it simply as “the Lake” or “the Pond”. It was created in late 1942 by the then newly established US Department of Defense, whose officials did not approve of the civilian character of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the CIA. In its 13-year existence, the Pond operated on a semi-autonomous base under the Departments of Defense and State, but maintained a poor relationship with the CIA, which it considered too “integrated with British and French Intelligence and infiltrated by Communists and Russians”. This information is contained in the files, which were stored in several safes and filing cabinets by the organization’s secretive leader, US Army Colonel John V. Grombach, who died in 1982. Read more of this post

French spies saw Hitler danger in 1924, document shows

Hitler in 1924

Hitler in 1924

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
At the same time when British intelligence was employing Benito Mussolini, and US diplomats were describing segments of the German Nazi party as “moderate [with] appeal to all civilized and reasonable people”, French intelligence reports were identifying Adolf Hitler as a “fascist […] demagogue” and “the German Mussolini”. This emerges from a 1924 report by an anonymous French intelligence operative, which is due to be declassified along with thousands of similar documents currently stored in the French National Archives, according to French newspaper Le Monde. Read more of this post

Mussolini was paid by Britain’s MI5, archives reveal

Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A Cambridge professor has unearthed archived documents showing that money from MI5, Britain’s counterintelligence and security agency, helped Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini lunch his political career. Dr. Peter Martland, Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, said MI5’s Rome station, which at the time was staffed by 100 British intelligence officers, paid Mussolini £100 a week (around £6,000 or $9,600 a week in today’s money) starting “from the autumn of 1917 [and] for at least a year”. The payments, which were authorized by MI5’s director in Rome, Sir Samuel Hoare (later Lord Templewood), were aimed to assist Mussolini’ newspaper, Il Popolo d’Italia, propagandize in favor of Italy’s continued fighting in World War I on the side of the Allied Powers, of which Britain was also a member. Read more of this post