Maria Aline Griffith’s life is the stuff of movies. She was a well-educated and striking fashion model from New York. During World War II she was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and sent to neutral Spain, a country rife with Nazi sympathizers and spies. Her mission was to gather as much information as possible to aid in the Allied invasion of France. 

After the war, she married a Spanish count and became a member of the Spanish “jet-set.” Her friends included leaders of state and first ladies, industrialists, millionaires, and movie stars. Later, she did contract work for the CIA and wrote several books, some of which recounting her career in espionage. She died in 2017 at the age of 94. 

To the Service of the Country

Aline Griffith was born in Pearl River, Rockland County, NY in 1923. She grew up in a comfortably middle-class home. She graduated from the College of Mount St. Vincent with a degree in literature, history, and journalism. Slim, with striking good looks, Griffith was hired as a model in Manhattan by Hattie Carnegie.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, her brothers enlisted in the military. Despite being busy with modeling, Griffith wanted to somehow help in the war effort.

Then, one night at a dinner party a stranger approached her. He asked her if she was married and spoke any foreign languages. (She spoke French and Spanish fluently). The stranger told her that he would help her get into the war effort. 

A month later, her phone rang. On the line was a man asking her if she still wanted to serve. He then told her to meet a man in the lobby of the Biltmore wearing a white carnation. Griffith arrived at the lobby where the man handed her a slip of paper with a Washington DC address. He told her to pack a suitcase but first remove any labels from her clothes.

Aline Griffith during her days in Madrid Spain. She was a Countess who also worked for OSS/CIA. (NY Daily News)

The address was OSS HQs. After she reported to the HQs, Aline Griffith was quickly sent off to “The Farm” where agents were trained.

She was trained in small arms, cryptography, and lock picking. Following her training, she was whisked off to Madrid with a cover job as a secretary. Goin with the code-name “Tiger” she began coding messages but soon was unleashed on the Madrid social scene.