JFK+50: Volume 7, No. 2390BRITISH ADVISE U.S. TO CREATE AN ADEQUATE WAR INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) One hundred years ago today, August 4, 1917, an unnamed correspondent for the Chicago Tribune wrote that "private influences...(were) strongly at work" urging the administration of President Woodrow Wilson to create "adequate war intelligence department."
According to the correspondent, $500,000 was requested from the Congress of the United States "for this purpose."
The British cautioned the administration that their own failure to establish such a department at the beginning of the world war "cost (us) an immense amount of treasure and many thousands of lives."
The proposed U.S.Department of Intelligence would "protect ships, munition plants, war factories....and have agents abroad (to collect) information vital to the interests of the nation."
In addition, the department would "maintain public order (and suppress) lawlessness on the part of such organizations as the IWW*."
Daniel Larsen writes...
"Military intelligence had a significant impact on the First World War, but research....remains relatively limited."
President Wilson, at first suspicious of intelligence, warmed up to the idea due to his relationship with the British intelligence chief in Washington, D.C. It was the British who had decoded the Zimmerman Telegram and passed along the information to the President.
The first intelligence department for the United States Army, identified as MI8, was charged with decoding military communications.
According to the United States Central Intelligence Agency...
"The Secret Service, the NY Police Dept & military counterintelligence aggressively thwarted numerous German covert actions inside the U.S., including psychological warfare, political & economic operations, & dozens of sabotage attempts against British owned firms & factories..."
*I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World) was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1905. The labor organization reportedly had ties to socialist & anarchist movements. At its peak in August 1917, the IWW had 150,000 members.
"America Urged To Create New Secret Service," The Chicago Sunday Tribune, August 4, 1917.
"History of American Intelligence", Central Intelligence Agency, www.cia.gov/kids
"Intelligence in the First World War: The State of the Field", by Daniel Larsen, www.tandfonline.com/
"The Evolution of the U.S. Intelligence Community-An Historic Overview," www.fas.org/