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February 17, 2014

How to Operate Like a Spy: CIA Declassifies OSS Field Manual

The CIA isn’t known for sharing its secrets with anyone, let alone the public.  As such, the contents of an old Office of Strategic Services field manual aren’t something to be missed.

As SOFREP has covered previously, the days of the OSS were the glory days where espionage, sabotage, and war-fighting all converged under the banner of “Wild Bill” Donovan and the Allied fight against the Nazis during World War II, with resounding success.


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About the Author

is a junior active duty officer working ground intel and supporting an airborne-capable unit. Not SOF, just a regular guy. He holds a BS in Political Science with a German minor from a small engineering school in Colorado, where he loves the adventure found in the mountains. He strongly advocates admitting nothing, denying everything, and making counter-accusations. Nothing here is written in an official capacity or represents the positions of the USG; all work is his personal opinion alone. NFQ

To comment on this article please join/login. Here's a sample of the comments on this post.

  • JTPattenBooks

    Not too long ago a book SOE Syllabus was available... And that's all I am going to say about that.

  • KineticFury

    YankeePapa Great book...the stories in there are unforgettable.

  • POL_WOJ

    Fred82 I'm affraid, that not only US Government... I think, that Polish Government also have read that OSS Field Manual very carefully...

  • redfour184

    Oh boy. Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

  • YankeePapa

    . ...The "timeless tips" seem like normal operating procedures for too many U.S. firms today. . ...The OSS was loathed by J. Edgar Hoover.  He felt that their entire function should have belonged to him.  He was able to pretty much keep them out of Latin America and use FBI agents in that area.  MacArthur flatly refused to have the OSS in his area of operations.   . ...This seems like a good place to mention that Sunday was the half-century mark for an event of some note.  Fifty years ago the North Vietnamese were pouring soldiers into the South (they denied having any there for most of the war... and still deny ever having had any in Laos...) . ...Brand new outfit called SOG just underway.  Their naval section had trained up refugee fishermen to go on raids along coast of North Vietnam... but their fishing boats easy meat for PRVN patrol boats.  So Norwegian 88 foot high speed (47 knots) Nasty-class PT boats were imported... along with Norwegian instructors.  . ...American personnel were forbidden to accompany these raids North of the 17th Parallel... . "...But, a SOG staff officer shrewdly observed, the *Norwegians weren't Americans...*  However, any Caucasian at the throttles of a covert boat in Asian waters flew in the face of plausible denial... How could a Norwegian possibly explain his attacking the coast of North Vietnam?  But in the rush to get the raids under way the absurd became the acceptable... thus, due to impatience (by Robert McNamara) SOG's first covert attacks on North Vietnam (16 February 1964) would be led by Norwegians..."  -Quoted from Plaster- ...Doubtless the Norwegian government was not consulted on this matter.  The good news was that the Norwegian skippers were all for this... the bad news was that off duty they tended to get blotto in Vietnamese bars in the company of bar girls... Urgent training of South Vietnamese skippers continued... . ...The North Vietnamese did not like this of course (being so pure and innocent in their behavior towards the South) and so after one of these raids wound up attacking an American destroyer in international waters.  Some days later another attack reported... though almost certainly "radar ghosts" and the like.  Even though clarification arrived, LBJ went for the Tonkin Gulf declaration...  . ...It is interesting that many on the far left in this country still maintain that "both" attacks were false.  The Vietnamese Communist regime certainly knows better... From the first (actual) attack they have one of their attack vessels in a museum along with an account of the action... . ...For further piratical adventures of the SOG in Southeast Asia you might read (Warning, Book Acquisition Alert...) . http://www.amazon.com/Sog-Secret-Americas-Commandos-Vietnam/dp/045123118X . -YP-