Documents reveal secret WWII spy agency called “The Pond”

July 31, 2010

A huge cache of secret papers in the National Archives in College Park, Maryland has been released to the public, revealing the existence of a secret anti-communist US intelligence organization during WWII that predated the CIA and existed alongside the OSS or Office of Strategic Strategies. The group, known initially as the “Special Service Branch” and informally as “The Pond”, was less an official government organization and more of an private circle of unpaid informants who operated behind the cover of multinational corporations like Chase Bank and American Express, and reported directly to the State Department. At their height, they operated a total of 40 chiefs handling over 600 agents in 32 countries. They participated in contracting mobster Lucky Luciano to attempt an assassination of Mussolini, attempted to negotiate Germany’s surrender to the Allies, and gathered intel about atomic weapons research. The group was viewed with mistrust by the OSS, and was relegated to the role of a private contractor after the war when the Central Intelligence Agency was formed. The CIA pressured the government to terminate the Pond’s contract when the group’s head. Col. John V. Grombach, began cooperating with Joseph McCarthy’s investigation in search of communist spy infiltrators, fingering several high-level CIA officers as agents of Moscow. The CIA continues to withhold several thousand pages of documents pertaining to the Pond, and has denied a Freedom of Information Act request from the Associated Press, which is being appealed right now.

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