Hoyt Sanford Vandenberg, nephew of influential senator Arthur Vandenberg
was the second Director of Central Intelligence
, serving as the head of CIA
-precursor, the Central Intelligence Group
) from 10 June, 1946 until 1 May, 1947, taking over from Sidney W. Souers
Born on 24 January, 1899, in Milwaukee, Wisc., he had a military career, graduating from the US Military Academy in 1923, and the Army War College in 1936. He went on to command the 9th Air Force in Europe during WWII, and became Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, in the War Department from January to June, 1946.
After his tenure as DCI, he went on to become Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force (as a Colonel) on 1 October, 1947, then, from 1948 to 1953, its Chief of Staff. He retired from active service on 30 June, 1953 and died on 2 April, 1954.
As DCI, Vandenberg (who'd been hand picked by previous DCI Souers) continued the program of creating the legislational framework necessary for the civilian peacetime intelligence agency that would be named the CIA. When he took office, the CIG had a staff of about 100, mostly on loan from the armed forces and the Department of State.
Vandenberg successfully campaigned for a large increase in the CIG's budget (effectively doubling it) and expanded its staff considerably. Fighting an effective battle in the interagency turf-wars which continued to plague the fledgling organisation, he beat off J. Edgar Hoover and
the State Department to claim a monopoly on 'clandestine collection' (read: mail-snooping - though of course, in practice, Hoover's FBI largely ignored this 'monopoly') and counterintelligence work abroad, and secured his agency's right to conduct its own research and analysis programs.
To this end, Vandenberg inaugurated the Office of Special Operations in July, 1946, and the Office of Reports and Estimates, taking over the Latin American intel operations from the FBI in the same month.
Another of his innovations was ORE-1, which would later evolve into the CIA's National Intelligence Estimates, prompted by Truman's desire to know what the Reds were up to in the Soviet Union. In what would become a time-honoured tradition of the future, he predicted the worst, saying that Soviet foreign policy would continue to be "grasping and opportunistic" in his first estimate, delivered 23 July, 1946. In a surprising concession to realism, he concluded that Communist Russia was not in the game for an all out war with the U.S.
CIG was given its own budget in September, 1946, largely due to his efforts (previously they'd been using hand-me-downs from the State and War departments and the Navy.)
Vandenberg's main achievement was to guide the CIG through its terminal phase, and into the politically stormy spring of 1947 that saw the start of the legislative process that would create the CIA. Opposition to the creation of a new, civilian, intelligence agency was strong, not least from Hoover, who had already seen his powers radically diminished. Cold War hysteria was on the rise, encouraged by politicians and insiders in all camps, who probably saw it as the key to increasing their own power bases. When the bill that sanctioned the creation of the CIA was sent to Congress on 27 February, 1947, Vandenberg made an impassioned speech in favour, which was largely
perceived as decisive in the battle, tweaking an emotional
response out of the still keenly-felt Pearl Harbour attack:
people of this country, having experienced the disaster
of Pearl Harbour and the appalling consequences of a global war, are now sufficiently informed in their approach to intelligence to understand that an organization such
as [the CIA] ... cannot expose certain of their activites to public gaze...
He went on to make an interesting appeal for the use of
"open sources of information . books, magazines, technical and scientific surveys ..." which he claimed should constitute 80% of the basis of intelligence. On the remaining 20%, he was, however, silent.
This approach proved very persuasive, and the media case was
largely won. But Hoover made a final attempt to wrest back turf for the FBI, by leaking stories to the conservative press, claiming that the CIA would become an 'American Gestapo'. For example, Chicago Tribune, June 15, 1947: 'CIG Secretly Creates
U.S. 'Gestapo' of 1500 Agents.'.
But these efforts were to prove futile, and by the time Vandenberg resigned (to be replaced by Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter on May 1st, 1947, the bill was as good as through. It became law on July 26, 1947, and the CIA was born.
Information and quote from John Ranelagh's quasi-official apologia for the
CIA: The Agency and from