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Intelligence Agency

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this is not to start an argument about who's right or wrong, but rather to see what may be right.

William, I'm hoping you can offer some thoughts on this. I realise on the one hand it may be semantics or definitions, on the other, if the speculation is of value I'm hoping there is some avenue for further persuing this. I would like to see if there are internal POI documents that in some way are accessible. Perhaps there are, and the reason they have not been sought is because the connevction has not previously been made.

In another post in response to a statement that the ONI formed in the latter part of the 19th century was the first intelligence body of the USA, I responded saying the Postal Inspection service was the oldest intelligence body.

The 'intelligence' history is fractured. There can be no doubt that there was a 'tradition' of intelligence gathering that coalesced in times of war. Invariably it was a matter of data interception, either of the signal itself or by informant. At times agents were appointed for this gathering. Either specific departments like army engineers were involved, or the recruitment of various department clerks.

The oldest department continuously in existence, since when Ben Franklin formed it, was the Post Office.

By law the head of this department was empowered to appoint special agents to carry out investigations that involved mail interceptions. Before the Civil War about 17 agents were active.

At the time of the Civil War the Post Office split into the Confederate and the Inion. The Confederacy in many ways stole the march here.

The detail early history of the Inspection Service of the Postal Service is not known to me. This of course does not mean it is not readily knowable, so if anyone has such information could they please supply it? Usually the PO history walked in step with the railroads and other post roads, so it's integral in the industries and expansion of early US history.

Going with what I do know and using some simple (speculative) logic, I reaffirm what I've said before, namely that the oldest Intelligence body of the USA is the Postal Departments Inspection Service. And further, the division of the postal service into the Military mail service such as the Army Post Office, and the Field Post Office, identifies the interface between the Civil and Military Inspection Service dealing with matters of National Security as the most important. It is at this point I submit that the formalisation of the Inspection Service as an intelligence gathering organ exists. And this does predate any other formal Intelligence body.

Edited by John Dolva
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