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A decade of catching spies: The United States Army's Counter Intelligence Corps, 1943--1953

Gary Alan Trogdon, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The United States Army formed a small unit of investigators, a Corps of Intelligence Police comprised mainly of junior enlisted soldiers with investigative talents and fluency in a foreign language, to protect United States forces overseas and at home from foreign intelligence spies during World War I. Maintained as a mere skeleton force during the interwar years, it was redesignated as the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) during the Second World War, and made responsible for counterespionage, countersubversion, and conducting security background checks on military and civilians associated with the Army. ^ When the Allied forces landed in Africa in 1943, CIC agents fought with tactical forces all the way into Germany. After the war was over, CIC became the prime investigative agency for the Army during Occupation duties. Beginning with the Free Territory of Trieste, agents prevented foreign countries, particularly the Soviet Union and its satellite countries in Eastern Europe, from gaining important order of battle information on American forces. ^ During the Occupation of Austria and Germany CIC eliminated the last vestiges of Nazism, assisted Military Government in finding and interrogating suspected war criminals, and investigated spy rings and black marketing activities. The increasing Cold War efforts by the Soviet Union led to one of CIC's largest investigations, Project Snatch-Counter Snatch, where Army agents identified and arrested Soviet agents and operatives involved in black market activities and several kidnappings. ^ In China, CIC limited its normal counterintelligence efforts and acted as advisers to the Nationalist Government, but left the country in 1949 when Communist victory in China's civil war became obvious. In Japan and Korea, CIC developed an extensive political reporting mission and also collected positive intelligence—two missions normally outside the counterintelligence field. With the outbreak of war again in 1950, CIC ceased its peacetime Occupation missions, but reverted back to its World War II spy catching efforts in the Korean War. ^

Subject Area

History, United States|History, Modern

Recommended Citation

Trogdon, Gary Alan, "A decade of catching spies: The United States Army's Counter Intelligence Corps, 1943--1953" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3009739.