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CIA Hosts Renowned Former OSS & CIA Officer for Her 100th Birthday as Agency Marks Women's History Month

CIA Director John Brennan today hosted former Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and CIA officer Elizabeth “Betty” Peet McIntosh at CIA Headquarters to celebrate her 100th birthday and to revisit her remarkable career as the Agency marks Women’s History Month.

“CIA is honored to count Betty McIntosh as one of its alumnae, and we are very fortunate to have her at the Agency today.  Her many achievements and storied life are an inspiration to all women and particularly so to those of CIA,” said Director Brennan. “It is fitting that Women’s History Month begins each year on March 1, the birthday of Betty McIntosh.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Betty was working as a reporter for the Scripps Howard news service in Hawaii when Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.  Betty covered the event first-hand and soon left Hawaii to work in the Scripps Howard bureau in Washington, D.C.  Fluent in Japanese, Betty was recruited in 1943 to join the OSS, the CIA’s predecessor and the nation’s first intelligence agency.

After completing her OSS training, Betty was one of the few women assigned to OSS Morale Operations.  Operating overseas in India, Burma and China, Betty helped produce false news reports, postcards, documents, and radio messages designed to spread disinformation that would undermine the morale of Japanese troops.  Among other World War II exploits, Betty was involved in an OSS effort to produce and distribute forged Japanese government orders to Japanese troops in Burma that would permit them to surrender under certain conditions.  She was also part of an OSS effort to target Japanese soldiers on a train in China with an explosive disguised as a piece of coal.

After World War II, Betty worked on assignments for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Voice of America, the State Department, and the United Nations.  In 1958, she joined the CIA, where she worked until her retirement in 1973.  Betty wrote a memoir of her OSS experiences, published in 1947 as Undercover Girl.  She also wrote two children’s books, Inki (1957) and Palace under the Sea (1959).  Her book Sisterhood of Spies: The Women of the OSS (1998) describes the adventures of the brave women who served in OSS during World War II.

Posted: Mar 03, 2015 03:23 PM
Last Updated: Mar 03, 2015 03:48 PM