The Pond: an early US spy agency you've never heard of
August 3, 2010 8:04 PM   Subscribe

Before the CIA, there was the Pond -- a highly secret, unacknowledged, and semi-autonomous intelligence agency created by the US military in 1942 as an alternative to the OSS. According the Associated Press, "The organization counted among its exploits an attempt to negotiate the surrender of Germany with Hermann Goering, one of Adolf Hitler's top military leaders, more than six months before the war ended; an effort to enlist mobster Charles 'Lucky' Luciano in a plot to assassinate Italian dictator Benito Mussolini; identifying the location of the German heavy water plants doing atomic research in Norway; and providing advance information on Russia's first atomic bomb explosion." But the CIA says that its record was "largely one of failure and impermanence."
posted by twirlip (6 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
the CIA says that [the Pond's] record was "largely one of failure

So sort of like the CIA itself then...
posted by Jahaza at 8:26 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

I read that as failure and impertinence. They did seem kind of plucky.

also, how cool a name is the Pond? It sounds like a post-rock band.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:33 PM on August 3, 2010

Omg, James Pond.
posted by colinshark at 2:20 AM on August 4, 2010

Created by U.S. military intelligence as a counterweight to the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA, it functioned as a semiautonomous agency for the State Department after World War II and ended its days as a contractor for the CIA with links to J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.

That last part makes me wonder if it ever went away.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 6:09 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

The CIA, for its part, didn't think much of the Pond. It concluded that the organization was uncooperative, especially since the outfit refused to divulge its sources, complicating efforts to evaluate their reports.

This is unsurprising. During the war, the military intelligence pretty much loathed and or dismissed the OSS.
posted by Atreides at 6:14 AM on August 4, 2010

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