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They had leg­endary good spirit and the in­ner met­tle to grap­ple with grim re­al­ity as well. That would be the Of­fice of Strate­gic Ser­vices — the OSS — a clan­des­tine agency cre­ated dur­ing World War II by Army Maj. Gen. Wil­liam J. Dono­van that was the pre­de­ces­sor of the CIA. The in­ven­tive de­ter­mi­na­tion of those 13,000 un­com­mon war­riors who fought against Nazis and other Amer­i­can en­e­mies seven decades ago has not been for­got­ten, how­ever.

Bi­par­ti­san leg­is­la­tion has been in­tro­duced this week by Sen. Mark Kirk, Illi­nois Repub­li­can, and Rep. Robert E. Latta, Ohio Repub­li­can, that would award the Con­gres­sional Gold Medal to the mem­bers of the OSS, which in­cluded per­son­nel from all mil­i­tary branches dur­ing its time.

“The heroic ac­tions and in­no­va­tive in­ven­tions by mem­bers of the OSS played a cru­cial role in the al­lied vic­tory in WW II. It is time for th­ese ladies and gen­tle­men of the Great­est Gen­er­a­tion to be col­lec­tively rec­og­nized and hon­ored for their ef­forts,” Mr. Latta says.

Four CIA di­rec­tors were once OSS mem­bers; women — in­clud­ing Ju­lia Child — made up a third of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pop­u­la­tion.

“When Pres­i­dent Rea­gan re­ceived the Wil­liam J. Dono­van Award in 1986, he said: ‘Tonight I join you to honor the mem­ory of Bill Dono­van and all the vet­er­ans of the Of­fice of Strate­gic Ser­vices, those who heard no bu­gles and re­ceived no medals, but who strug­gled and sac­ri­ficed so that free­dom might en­dure.’” Charles Pinck, pres­i­dent of the OSS So­ci­ety, tells In­side the Belt­way.

“With their num­bers dwin­dling, it is ur­gent that we honor the sur­viv­ing OSS vet­er­ans with the Con­gres­sional Gold Medal,” he adds. jour­nal­ists cov­ered their own story. The hub­bub, in fact, prompted some 200 as­sorted ac­counts within a few hours.

The jour­nal­ists and pho­tog­ra­phers cite seven ma­jor events in 2013 when photography was pro­hib­ited and an of­fi­cial im­age was sup­plied. The re­stric­tions, they say, mar trans­parency. “Im­pos­ing lim­its on press ac­cess, as your of­fice has done, rep­re­sents a trou­bling prece­dent with a di­rect and ad­verse im­pact on the pub­lic’s abil­ity to in­de­pen­dently mon­i­tor and see what its gov­ern­ment is do­ing. We con­sider this a most se­ri­ous mat­ter,” the group notes.

Vet­eran Na­tional Jour­nal reporter Ron Fournier, mean­while, has this ob­ser­va­tion, di­rected to the pub­lic: “Obama’s im­age ma­chine: mo­nop­o­lis­tic pro­pa­ganda funded by you.” age dur­ing the pres­i­den­cies of John Kennedy or Lyn­don John­son of­fered more sup­port for Mitt Rom­ney in 2012, and more sup­port for John McCain in 2008,” says Seth Mo­tel, a Pew Re­search Center an­a­lyst who went through many num­bers to reach that con­clu­sion.

“Those who turned 18 in the Ger­ald Ford-Jimmy Carter or Ron­ald Rea­gan-Ge­orge H.W. Bush years also have voted con­sis­tently more Repub­li­can in the last sev­eral elec­tions,” Mr. Mo­tel con­tin­ues. But there is a great di­vide lurk­ing on the cusp of ad­min­is­tra­tions.

“It’s the Nixon-era’s 18-year-olds, who were born in the mid­dle of the Baby Boom and were ages 56-61 last elec­tion, who are more Demo­cratic-lean­ing. In 2012, their mar­gin of sup­port for Pres­i­dent Obama ex­ceeded the na­tional av­er­age by 5 points,” he notes.


A bill has been in­tro­duced to award the Con­gres­sional Gold Medal to mem­bers of the OSS, cre­ated in World War II by Army Maj. Gen. Wil­liam J. Dono­van.

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