Thus FDR, being a shrewd, smart sonofabitch now in his third term as President, knew that despite the cries of the isolationists who wanted Amer ica to have nothing to do with another world war it was only a matter of time before the country would be forced to shed its neutral status.
And the best way to be prepared for that moment was to have the finest intelligence he could. And the best way to get that information, to get the facts that he trusted because he trusted the messenger, was to put another shrewd, smart sonofabitch in charge-his pal Wild Bill Donovan.
The problem was not that intelligence wasn't being collected. The United States of America had vast organizations actively engaged in it-the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Military Intelligence Division chief among them.
The problem was that the intelligence these organizations collected was, in the word of the old-school British spymasters, "coloured." That was to say, the intel tended first to serve to promote the respective branches.
If, for example, ONI overstated the number of, say, German submarines, then the Navy brass could use that intelligence to justify its demands for more funds for sailors and ships to hunt down those U-boats. (Which, of course, played to everyone's natural fears as the U-boats were damn effec tive killing machines.)
Likewise, if MID stated that it had found significantly more Axis troop amassing toward an Allied border than was previously thought, Army brass could argue that ground and/or air forces needed the money more than did the swabbies.
Then there was the turf-fighting FBI. J. Edgar Hoover and Company
didn't want any Allied spies snooping around in their backyard. It followed then that if the agencies had their own agendas, they were not prone to share with others the information that they collected. The argument, as might be expected, was that intelligence shared was intelli gence compromised.
There was also the interagency fear, unspoken but there, as sure as God made little green apples, that some shared intel would be found to be want ing. If that should happen, it would make the particular agency that had de veloped it look bad. And that, fear of all fears, would result in the reduction of funds, of men, of weapons, et cetera, et cetera. In short, the loss of im portance of the agency in the eyes of the grand political scheme.
Thus among the various agencies there continued the endless turf bat tles, the duplications of effort-even the instances, say, of undercover FB agents arresting undercover ONI agents snooping around Washington D.C., and New York City.
W.E.B. Griffin (The Double Agents (Men at War, #6))