Site logo
Site logo

Site logo

OSS--Of Swashbuckling Sages

The Nation, April 21, 2007

Robert Dreyfuss, in "Hothead McCain" [March 24], describes the Office of Strategic Services, predecessor of the CIA, as a "rambunctious, often out-of-control World War II-era covert-ops team." Led by the legendary "Wild Bill" Donovan, the OSS was a visionary, daring, innovative, unorthodox, effective intelligence organization. It abetted Allied victories in North Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Donovan recruited an array of "glorious amateurs," as he called them, including Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Ralph Bunche, Arthur Goldberg, Julia Child, John Ford [and Nation puzzle setter Frank W. Lewis--Ed.]. Many OSS personnel--including my father--risked their lives volunteering for missions behind enemy lines.

Creating a new intelligence service patterned after the OSS is an intriguing notion that deserves serious consideration, not Dreyfuss's casual dismissal.

Charles Pinck, president

The OSS Society