CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

At the Beginning

Thomas F. Troy

Included here:

1. Donovan and the CIA (1981)

2. Wild Bill and Intrepid (1996)

3. "Truman on CIA," Studies in Intelligence

4. "CIA's Indebtedness to Bill Stephenson," IJI&C

1. Troy, Thomas F. Donovan and the CIA: A History of the Establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency. Washington, DC: CIA, 1981. Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1981.

Pforzheimer finds that the "documentation for this book has been brilliantly researched.... The excellent writing makes it essential reading" for intelligence professionals and scholars alike. For Constantinides, Troy's work meets "high standards of scholarship." The author's research is "enormous and painstaking," and his sources are "carefully documented." He could have made the work "even better by describing the world environment within which the main debates and bureaucratic battles took place."

2. Troy, Thomas F. Wild Bill and Intrepid: Bill Donovan, Bill Stephenson, and the Origin Of CIA. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996.

Warren, CIRA Newsletter 21.2, says that Troy "has destroyed some of the most cherished myths of the intelligence community and replaced them with solid facts and speculation so firmly based that it might as well be fact." It is the relationship between the CIA's father, Donovan, and its Godfather, Stephenson, that Troy has sought to explicate. He "has produced a detailed and fascinating account of two remarkable men and the process by which they established the foundation" for the CIA. "Unfortunately, by concentrating on the process and the details Troy produces little about the personality and character of his two main actors." Of course, doing so was not his goal.

For Morley, WPNWE, 29 Jul.-4 Aug. 1996, Troy's "useful study" demonstrates "in scholastic detail that Donovan was actually working in 1940-41 with senior eminences in the British Secret Intelligence Services.... The CIA, in other words, was not the brainchild of a lone bureaucratic gunslinger but the offspring of an Anglo-American liaison."

Friedman, Parameters 27 (Summer 1997), comments that "[w]idely believed tales surrounding the founding of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) by 'Wild Bill' Donovan and the role of Sir William 'Little Bill' Stephenson ... often turn out to be about as accurate as Parson Weems' fable about George Washington and the cherry tree. Troy sets these myths straight in his well-documented work." Immerman, Choice 34.2, also finds Troy's arguments "persuasive"; his work will necessitate some minor qualification of the "standard characterization of US intelligence as distinctly American."

For Crane, Aerospace Power Journal (Winter 1997), Wild Bill and Intrepid is an "outstanding, thoroughly researched account of the origins ... of the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI) and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)." This book "is truly an intelligence treasure"; it is "[r]ich in information about World War II, declassified documents, and charismatic personalities." Kimble, Military Review (May 1998), comments that "[t]he book's endnotes are an excellent source of information for further research."

On the other hand, Hoffman, WIR 15.5, believes that Troy has "stretched [his material] precariously thin." The author's thesis is that Stephenson should be credited with assisting in "the conception and establishment of COI," but his "presentation of the evidence ... is rather confusing." Warner, JAH 83.4, also sounds a cautionary note: "Despite Troy's impressive research and analysis,... this case cannot yet be closed. We do not know whether the president ever heard Stephenson's advice."

3. Troy, Thomas F. "Truman on CIA." Studies in Intelligence 20, no. 1 (Spring 1976): 21-38.

"For his role in the establishment of CIA, [Truman] does deserve some credit, but not as much as he gives himself.... He really only put the capstone on the work done by Donovan (and Stephenson) and Roosevelt."

4. Troy, Thomas F. "CIA's Indebtedness to Bill Stephenson." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 20, no. 4 (Winter 2007): 717-727.

The author offers his opinion (Clark comment: better than anyone else's I am aware of on this topic) about the greatness of Stephenson "as a covert-action agent, station chief, and agent of influence in New York in 1940-1945." He suggests that the debt owed to Stephenson by the CIA is for its very existence.

Return to At the Beginning Table of Contents