A fundamentally new function of the American military counterintelligence immediately after the end of the First World War was its involvement in providing security for official US delegations to various international summits and forums, in particular, at the Paris Peace Conference, which summed up the “world war” and outlined the future world order.
To accomplish this task, the American leadership seconded 40 first, and then 20 more, military counterintelligence officers. American President Woodrow Wilson, who arrived in France, was personally accompanied by the head of the United States military intelligence, General Marlborough Churchill, whose position for the protocol was designated as "the main coordinator for military relations." His team included 20 officers from the Office of Military Intelligence, which for the first time in the practice of American intelligence services was assigned (including) the task of carrying out translation activities.
An experienced intelligence officer, Colonel You Deman, was entrusted with the task of organizing a common security system for the American delegation and guiding this mission. The Van Deman team carefully checked all the premises where the members of the American delegation were located, as well as local staff who were supposed to be involved in serving the Americans.
Counterintelligence inspected every day all the premises where the negotiators worked in order to prevent loss of documents or the possibility of interception.
In addition to performing these usual tasks for intelligence and counterintelligence, Van Deman monthly prepared an analytical report on the security conditions, which necessarily included an analysis of the situation related to the "promotion of Bolshevism in Europe." To this end, Van Deman established new contacts or renewed old ones with security officers from other states, primarily with the French and British, including Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lawrence (widely known as Lawrence of Arabia), who returned from the Middle East.
WITH ORIENTATION TO THE "POSTROSIYSKIY SPACES"
The formal discussion at the Paris conference of the future world order and the exclusion of the possibility of unleashing a new world war did not in the least hinder the American leadership in its attempts to find new spheres of influence, for which proven methods of “secret diplomacy” were used, the main role in which intelligence and counterintelligence played.
14 May 1919 at a meeting of the Council of Four in the same Paris, a resolution was adopted, in accordance with which the United States received a "mandate for work" in some provinces of the former Russian Empire.
Thus, in 1919, Latvia was visited by the Director of the US Aid Administration, the future US President Herbert Hoover, who established friendly relations with a graduate of the University of Nebraska (USA), and at that time the new Prime Minister of the Latvian government, the famous Russophobe Karlis Ulmanis. The American military mission led by Colonel Green, who arrived in Latvia in the same year, actively supported the preparation of Riga’s military preparations against “Bolshevik Russia”, in which representatives of military intelligence and counterintelligence of the United States actively assisted.
Similarly, the Americans acted in Lithuania. In 1919, the government of this country received military aid from the USA in the amount of 17 million dollars, which was enough to equip 35 with thousands of servicemen of the newly established Lithuanian army. The general leadership of these armed forces was carried out by the American Colonel Dowley, the assistant head of the US military mission in the Baltic States, including, in particular, officers of the American special services. The same assistance was provided in 1919 year and Estonia.
Poland was not forgotten either, its military assistance from the United States at that time exceeded the amount of aid to all the Baltic states combined. Naturally, the purpose of this "peaceful intervention" of Washington in the affairs of the countries of the region was to build up the military potential of the West as a whole, aimed at confrontation with Soviet Russia. At the same time, the field of activity of the American special services, including military intelligence and counterintelligence, has been rigorously expanded, even though the formal reduction of their structures and funding has begun.
REORIENTATION ON “TASKS OF PEACE TIME”
Indeed, in the very first months after the end of the “Great War”, the central military intelligence apparatus in Washington was reduced almost six times and by the middle of 1919 there were already about 300 people. The structures of the American military counterintelligence were even more reduced. In December 1919, the staff of the relevant department included all 18 soldiers and civilians, most of whom dealt with cases of fraud and corruption following the acquisition of weapons and military equipment during the war years. In all of the remaining after the reduction of parts and connections of the US Armed Forces, 45 remained of “clean” posts assigned to counterintelligence officers.
The growth of the so-called revolutionary movement in the United States, as an echo of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and the intention of the Communist Party created during this period to form “subversive cells” in the Armed Forces, although they caused serious concern in the highest circles of political power in Washington, did not at all encourage to the revival of military counterintelligence and targeting it to combat the new threat. For this, American lawmakers considered, there are other means and methods.
At the beginning of 20, the United States was swept by a real wave of espionage, which mainly affected the so-called civil society. The country's attorney general, Michel Palmer, one of the presidential candidates, using the “prosecutor’s office” and agents of the Bureau of Investigation (the FBI’s predecessor), “launched” his notorious “red raids” against imaginary communists and anarchists. Palmer ordered that hundreds of suspects be detained for no apparent reason, among which only a very small number of people were involved in espionage against the United States. But these measures caused a sharp increase in discontent among the population, in general, already beginning to experience the first signs of the coming crisis. At the same time, by the end of 1921, the armed forces of the country eliminated the remnants of counterintelligence units and abolished, or “mothballed,” all documents regulating their activities.
Meanwhile, the situation in the international arena in the 20s developed more or less calmly, creating the illusion of the military-political establishment of Washington regarding the “conflict-free future” of their country. The financial and economic crisis that broke out in the country during the same period further strengthened the tendencies of isolationism and “total immersion” prevailing in the American leadership, primarily in the area of domestic problems.
However, the sharp rise in revanchist sentiment in Germany at the turn of 20-x-30-s, which led to the Nazis coming to power and ultimately resulting in the intensification of military preparations, forced the democratic administration headed by the newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt to reconsider their approaches to the foreign policy being formed course. In addition to the serious exacerbation of the situation in Europe, the American leadership was also worried about the aggravation of tension in the Pacific zone, caused by the clearly manifested militaristic course of Japan. Both Berlin and Tokyo, in turn, viewed Washington as their geopolitical adversary, with whom, most likely, they would have to enter into direct military confrontation. Both of these factors determined the decision of Washington to restore military potential in general, to reconstruct the disbanded formations and units of the Armed Forces, as well as the structures providing them, in particular, intelligence and counterintelligence.
The situation in the domestic political arena of the United States began to take shape in such a way that, as Kurt Ries, a well-known American researcher of the intelligence services, points out, “America at the turn of the 20-30-s was a real haven for spies.” The situation was aggravated by the fact that the laws relating to espionage were incomplete. Thus, a foreign agent caught with a sealed document in his hands could only be convicted under the article for theft. The need for a strong counter-intelligence service, which has hundreds of employees, who have been given broad powers to wage an uncompromising struggle with various foreign agents, saboteurs and saboteurs, has become acutely felt.
Beginning with 1932, the situation began to change in the direction of tightening counterintelligence. It was this year that the Bureau of Investigation, along with the new name - the FBI - received new broad rights and obligations in the counter-intelligence field, including permission to detain suspects and arrest them. At the head of the FBI, under the patronage of the president himself, John Edgar Hoover, an outstanding for his business qualities, was appointed, without delay, engaged in “restoring order” in his designated field of activity. During this period, in the conditions of the actual absence of a military counterintelligence body, the entire burden of the fight against espionage fell on the FBI. And already in the middle of the 30s, numerous cases of Japanese recruitment of US troops and their repeated transfer of classified materials, including those involving American shipbuilding programs, were made public.
However, as it soon became apparent, the activity of German intelligence began to cause the greatest activity and, accordingly, the concern of the country's leadership. This was facilitated not only by purposeful work of German intelligence officers, as military diplomats and employees of numerous consulates “under cover”, but also by a very significant colony of German immigrants who accepted American citizenship, most of which were united into various clubs and organizations such as Auslands Organizational. (Organization of Germans abroad), openly sympathizing with the Nazi regime in Germany. The real leader of all these "clubs", or the "Fuhrer", as members of these organizations called him, was Walter Schellenberg, who arrived in the US at the beginning of 30 under the guise of a merchant and managed to rally the "foreign Germans", actually lead them and, according to in fact, to organize anti-state activities in the USA. Moreover, due to the weak development of the American legislation on espionage, this, in the near future, the head of the foreign policy intelligence of Germany managed to “bypass the obstacles” of counterintelligence without much difficulty and only in the middle of July 1941, when the American authorities considered his arrest, safely leave for Germany with a "sense of accomplishment."
Since the middle of the 30-s, in accordance with an agreement between the intelligence leaders of Germany, Italy and Japan, their representatives in the United States began to coordinate their activities and, if possible, exchange the information they had obtained. All this gave grounds for Hitler to confidently say: "There is nothing easier than to organize a fascist coup in the United States."
The unprecedented intensification of hostile intelligence services forced the American leadership to further tighten the counter-intelligence regime. Speaking at one of the meetings at the end of 1938, President Roosevelt said: "Our country must be protected against this form of aggression." 16 June 1941, a representative of the US State Department at a Senate hearing stated that "there are more foreign spies and saboteurs in the country than they did during the First World War." In this regard, began to take real measures in the field of counterintelligence. The number of operational officers of the FBI has been increased by another 800 people. In 1941, the FBI’s subordinate head already had about 150 thousand agents.
The decisive role in optimizing counterintelligence in the prewar years, according to researchers of the US intelligence services, of course, belonged personally to President Roosevelt, who on the eve of the war, ordered that all information about espionage, counter espionage, sabotage and subversive activity be sent to the FBI. He also authorized the FBI to wiretap without a warrant. By this time, it was already revealed about 5 thousand members of the influential Nazi organization in the United States - "German-American Union", as well as such pro-Nazi associations such as "Hitler youth", "Association of Teachers" and others, against which, finally, began apply strict measures of detention and isolation. Measures were also taken to forcibly disband such associations and organizations, and by the summer of 1941 of the year - and to substantially reduce and then close all 22 German consulates in the United States, reasonably suspected of leading sabotage actions at defense enterprises. Some time later, 29 consular officers suspected of spying for Germany were arrested.
From that moment on, all espionage activities in favor of Germany in the United States were controlled through the German embassy in Washington. Around the same time, President Roosevelt, with the aim of somewhat alleviating the burden of responsibility of the FBI, decided to involve the military and naval ministries in counterintelligence work. Military counterintelligence officers were given responsibility for "profile work" at army bases, in the Panama Canal zone and in the Philippines. The naval counterintelligence officers were responsible for security in fleets, in Hawaii and Guam. The FBI was engaged in the fight against espionage and sabotage prevention throughout the continental United States, as well as in several other areas of American interests in the Western Hemisphere. Nevertheless, critics of the work of the American special services point out, the US authorities, even on the eve of entering the war, “clearly did not do enough” in the field of counterintelligence.