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Office of Strategic Services To be an effective spy one must have all of the fancy gadgets there are right Well no But the spies from the Office of Strategic Services OSS did They included a uniform button that was really a compass a 16mm camera shaped like a matchbox and a deck of playing cards that concealed a map which would be revealed when the top layer was soaked off As another European war loomed in the late 1930s fears of fascist and Communist Fifth Columns in America prompted President Franklin D Roosevelt to ask for greater coordination by the departmental intelligence arms When little seemed to happen in response to his wish he tried again in the spring of 1941 expressing his desire to make the traditional intelligence services take a strategic approach to the nations challenges--and to cooperate so that he did not have to arbitrate their squabbles A few weeks later Roosevelt in frustration resorted to a characteristic stratagem With some subtle prompting from a pair of British officials--Admiral John H Godfrey and William Stephenson later Sir William--FDR created a new organization to duplicate some of the functions of the existing agencies The President on 11 July 1941 appointed William J Donovan of New York to sort the mess as the Coordinator of Information COI the head of a new civilian office attached to the White House When America entered into World War II in December 1941 it caused new thinking about the place and role of COI Donovan and his newly acquired office with its 10 million budget 600 staffers and its charismatic director brought heavy hostility from the FBI Federal Bureau of Investigators and the G-2 War Departments Military Intelligence Division The new Joint Chiefs of Staff JCS initially shared this distrust regarding Donovan a civilian as an intruder But he soon figured out that they might be able to control and utilize him if COI could be placed
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