In an age when there’s almost nothing our two major political parties can agree about, it seems there’s one exception: besmirching General William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the founder of World War II’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the World War II predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency and the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and one of America’s greatest patriots. Donovan is the only person in American history to receive our nation’s four highest decorations, including the Medal of Honor.
He was a visionary leader whose combination of intellectual and physical prowess defined the ideal OSS candidate: “A Harvard Ph.D. who can handle himself in a bar fight.” His lifelong service to the United States began in World War I and lasted until the Cold War. In creating the OSS, he formed a close alliance with President Franklin Roosevelt (who called Donovan his “secret legs” and sent him to Great Britain in 1940 as his personal emissary) despite strong political differences between the two men. Donovan fought entrenched Washington interests that were threatened by his revolutionary intelligence organization. Donovan said he had greater enemies in Washington than Hitler had in Europe.
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