Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Given him a number and taken away his name

My next book is Journey to Peking: A Secret Agent in Wartime China. The author was an OSS agent in, you guessed it, China. While the OSS formed much of the nucleus of the eventual CIA, the organizations are different. Today's CIA focuses on two things, intelligence analysis and human intelligence. Analysts read a lot and try to figure out what is happening overseas. Human intelligence collectors recruit spies, usually at embassy parties. The CIA also conducts covert action, although the Defense Department is trying to grab that role. This is not the focus of the Agency at all, most of the resources are dedicated to the collection and analysis roles. In comparison, the OSS was heavily focused on covert action, behind German and Japanese lines. I expect the book to be riveting.

I should note that I used to work with the author's son, who now heads the OSS Society.

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