Office of Strategic Services members conducted intelligence and espionage activities during World War
Nov 05 2015
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee members Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) along with U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) have introduced legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the members of the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II-era predecessor to today’s Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Command, “in recognition of their superior service and major contributions during World War II.”
“Those who served our country in the OSS deserve to be honored for their heroic, pioneering contributions to our nation,” said Sen. Warner. “This year is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and not many of these brave OSS veterans are still with us. We should recognize their service and their valor with the highest honor Congress can confer.”
“The 13,000 members of the OSS played a critical role in the success of the Allied campaign in World War II, establishing intelligence networks deep behind enemy lines and bolstering resistance organization throughout Europe and Asia,” Sen. Blunt said. “Their actions saved thousands of lives, and it is only right that we honor their courage and accomplishments with the Congressional Gold Medal.”
The OSS trained many of the leaders and personnel who formed the Central Intelligence Agency following WWII. Their ranks included four future directors of the CIA: Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby, and William Casey. Other notable OSS members include United States Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Hollywood film director John Ford, and culinary icon Julia Child. Former OSS General Counsel James Donovan, who was recently portrayed by Tom Hanks in the Steven Spielberg movie, “Bridge of Spies,” negotiated the release of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.
“The OSS played a central role in creating America’s intelligence and special operations communities as we know them today. From its incredible impact in helping secure victory for Allied forces in WWII, to its continued influence as the precursor to the CIA and U.S. Special Operations Command, the effect the OSS has had in shaping our national security structure is unparalleled,” said Rep. Latta. “I introduced this legislation to call upon Congress to collectively recognize these brave men and women for their efforts, and honor them for their extraordinary service on behalf of this great nation.”
The OSS Congressional Gold Medal Act is cosponsored by every member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in addition to Sens. Warner and Blunt, including Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Jim Lankford (R-OK), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jim Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Wyden (R-OR).
Sen. Warner previously sponsored legislation designating July 26 as “U.S. Intelligence Professionals Day.”