William J. Donovan; Wikimedia Commons

William J. Donovan; Wikimedia Commons

In 1941 US intelligence was gathered on an ad-hoc basis by the State, Treasury, Navy, and War Departments without coordination or central control. For the first half of 1942, most military intelligence came from the UK.

In July 1941 FDR appointed  Colonel William J. Donovan as the “Co-ordinator of Information”  and asked him to develop an intelligence service based on the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Special Operations Executive.

In June 1942, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the US WWII predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was established by presidential order to collect and analyze strategic information required by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and conduct special operations (including propaganda, subversion and post-war planning) not assigned to other agencies.

During the War, the OSS supplied policy makers with facts and estimates, but never had jurisdiction over all foreign intelligence activities. The FBI retained responsibility for intelligence work in Latin America, and the Army and Navy continued to develop and rely on their own sources of intelligence.

For the duration of  WWII, the OSS conducted multiple activities and missions, including espionage, sabotage, propaganda, organizing and coordinating European resistance groups and training anti-Japanese guerrillas.