‘Before the colonel arrived’: Hoover, donovan, roosevelt, and the origins of American central intelligence, 1940–41

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Abstract

Credit for the origins of American central intelligence are commonly placed solely with Colonel William Donovan who visited Great Britain in 1940–41 and, based upon these experiences, subsequently reported to the Roosevelt White House on the need for a centralized American intelligence organization. Yet evidence indicates that prior to Donovan's overseas visit and report to the White House, representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation traveled to Britain, surveyed its intelligence apparatus, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover submitted a report to President Roosevelt pre-dating Donovan's. Historians, therefore, must reconsider the origins of American central intelligence as not influenced by any one individual but by multiple individuals with bureaucratic interests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-237
Number of pages13
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations

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