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Letter to the Editor

In his Dec. 24 column, "Subverting Bush at Langley," Robert D. Novak included a swipe at the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II predecessor of the CIA. Mr. Novak wrote that the OSS "was infiltrated by communists."

The Soviet Union was our ally during World War II. The OSS was not infiltrated by communists during the war; it hired them. They helped to identify native recruits to infiltrate enemy forces and organizations. OSS founder William Donovan reportedly said that he would "put Stalin on the OSS payroll if it would help defeat Hitler."

After the war, a plague of invective assaulted  Donovan and the OSS. He was not only accused of harboring communists but of a far worse crime: proposing a peacetime successor to the OSS that  critics called a Gestapo.  Donovan believed that the main culprit was J. Edgar Hoover, who had vehemently opposed creation of the OSS in 1942. The OSS was disbanded by President Harry S. Truman in 1945.

Regarding Hoover,  Donovan once said that his greatest enemies were in Washington, not Europe. Apparently they still are.

Charles Pinck, President
The OSS Society