Excerpts from Memoirs of an Amateur Spy

“One of the propaganda items that was supposed to bring havoc and dismay to the German common soldier went something like this: it consisted of a leaflet with a picture of a German Army officer with only his jacket on (for identification purposes naturally) astride a willing and energetic young female without anything on, with both obviously enjoying the situation. The caption underneath was something the equivalent of: ‘He is up at the villa having fun while you’re down in the mud having none,’ together with other appropriate comments. The idea, of course, was that the German enlisted man, on seeing what his officers were really up to, would be fired with righteous anger, go bonkers, shoot all his officers, throw away his weapons and go home. We would win the war.”

“Choosing Fred and me to do the Leipzig job was in the best OSS tradition. Here we were—two very sorry specimens of world-class spies—young, innocent, so to speak, totally virginal in the serious-spying business. Neither of us had the slightest training or experience in setting up intelligence operations of this kind. We knew nothing of the classic repertory of the professional spy or agent manager; such as, letter drops, agent cut-outs, safe houses and the rest of the arcane trade. The only textbook that I had ever read on playing the “Great Game” was Rudyard Kipling’s Kim and, although great fun, it was no great help in the present situation. I had played some innocent, although relatively exciting, games in Holland, but there was nothing in the Dutch experience that prepared me in the slightest for the job in hand. We were total amateurs but we didn’t care and it didn’t seem to matter.”

“All the research I have done in the [National] Archives and elsewhere indicates that our mission to Poland was the first American intelligence operation into the Russian-controlled areas of Eastern Europe after the war. (The war ended May 8 and we were on our way June 6.) In essence and without realizing it, we became the first warriors in the Cold War intelligence battles in Europe with the Russians that raged until the 1990s. In addition, the Archives revealed that the missions our team undertook in Eastern Europe that summer and fall were the main source for the OSS of Russian intelligence for the area. Our team, as it were, became the bridge between the Russian intelligence operations of an expiring OSS and the future operations of a CIA, yet unborn.”

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