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Forged by Fire: The Intelligence Education of the First Head of CIA: Roscoe Hillenkoetter

Forged by Fire: The Intelligence Education of the First Head of CIA: Roscoe Hillenkoetter

Richard E. Schroeder

In June 1940, a naval intelligence officer, 43-year-old St. Louis native Cdr. Roscoe Hillenkoetter, watched a victorious German army occupy Paris. Too young for World War I, Hillenkoetter had graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 1919 and spent his early years as a naval officer serving on surface ships and submarines and as a staff aide to senior commanders. Following two years teaching modern romance languages at the Naval Academy, and more sea duty in cruisers and destroyers, in October 1933, just as the Navy was imposing a 15-percent pay cut and drastic cuts in meager attaché expense accounts, he was appointed assistant naval attaché in Paris, where he served until September 1935. After a three-year tour on the USS Maryland in the Pacific Fleet, he returned to Paris. There, for the second time, he served as eyes and ears for US naval intelligence and the US government as Europe lurched into the second world war. After the war, Hillenkoetter would become the country’s senior intelligence officer, first as director of the Central Intelligence Group (the third officer to hold that position after the war) and then as the first director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

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Posted: Mar 29, 2016 07:17 PM
Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016 07:17 PM