World War II

British Security Coordination (BSC)

T - Z


Troy, Thomas F.

1. "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.

2. "The Coordinator of Information and British Intelligence: An Essay on Origins." Studies in Intelligence 18, no. 1-S (Spring 1974).

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.

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."

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason], ed. British Security Coordination: The Secret History of British Intelligence in the Americas, 1940-45. London: St. Ermin's, 1998. New York: Fromm International, 1999.

Waller, IJI&C 12.1, notes that West's introduction "carefully tracks th[is] heretofore highly classified record of the BSC ... as the verbatim account of BSC's history written at war's end." The reviewer concludes that "it is probably safe to accept most of this book's version of BSC's activities in World War II as valid, although there seem to be omissions." For Foot, Spectator, 23 Jan. 1999, this is "a long, in places dullish but often fascinating account" of Sir William Stephenson's "real responsibilities." Although Ultra is not mentioned [Clark comment: not surprisingly, given that this book was written immediately after the war], "otherwise, no holds are barred."

After stating that this "is certainly the most comprehensive record of [BSC's] activities we can expect to see," Bath, NIPQ 15.4, notes the tendency of the authors "to see BSC in a vacuum, rather than as a part of the larger and highly complex Allied cooperation structure." Jensen, I&NS 15.3, says that "[t]his is the most balanced and correct story" of BSC. "Embellishments about [William] Stephenson found in many of the postwar books on BSC find no corroborating evidence in this BSC volume."

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