For secret agent fans of all types, the last few weeks of official government exchanges between Russia and the United States has been a treat! In light of this breaking news as well as a personal interest in spying and national intrigue, I thought it might be interesting to see what sort of information is available for ereaders like ourselves.
What I’ve found is truly amazing, with downloadable resources from the CIA, FBI, OSS and many others. Besides just the stories, I thought this would be a great chance to use my Android phone as well as the iPad, to see if I could view the information legibly and without too much trouble. I found that most of the sites worked really well with my collection of readers, with a few notable exceptions.
Made popular in public culture by the term “G-Man,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation remains important even in today’s jaded society. Their website is a wealth of information and is easy to use and navigate if your device contains a newer browser or you are using an iPad or similar device. I was able to spend some time with their free book, The FBI: A Centennial History
as well as many resources on the Mob and others. The book is available for download either in PDF or just plain text.
Known as “The Agency” through dozens of books, movies and news stories, the Central Intelligence Agency is famous for its clandestine operations throughout the globe in pursuit of United States interests. Whether your thoughts on this agency are good or bad, there’s a lot of information available on the site to help with your background knowledge. In the online library
, I soon found a stack of operational reports and case histories to add to my list. I also found an old favorite aptly named The World Factbook
, well known to many librarians and teachers across our land. If you need country facts or cultural information, it’s definitely the place to go.
If your information searching runs to more clandestine thoughts or secret missions, don’t overlook the many unit histories and operational documents available for reading. With the Freedom of Information Act in place, there are many good places to get started. One of my favorites was the operational information about the U-2 spy plane. You can find that link here: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2010-featured-story-archive/cia-and-u-2-a-50-year-anniversary.html.
From a technological perspective, I found the site easy to use and navigate both in my Android phone as well as the iPad. PDF’s loaded quickly and with the iPad’s viewing options, I was able to easily read all types of documents. The only problem I did run into was trying to download zipped versions of materials onto the iPad, which currently did not offer any support for this type of file. (Is there an app for that?).
Led by “Wild Bill” Donovan, the Office of Strategic Services was able to accomplish many great feats of spycraft and heroism during World War II. From nighttime drops over occupied France to intelligence missions in the Pacific, we are still finding out information about these feats today. (You’ve heard about Julia Childs, right?). With this in mind, I really should mention two great resources where you can get newsletters, information and more. The OSS Society, offers up an extensive list of links and PDF newsletters, while OSS Reborn includes materials such as wartime manuals and much more! Lots of good reading to take with you on your next vacation or business trip!
Finally, if you’ve had a chance to visit these sites and use some of the materials that are available but are interested in learning more, don’t overlook the traditional book and magazine sites such as Google Books, The Internet Archive or even Hathi Trust. With millions of titles available for plain text, pdf or ePub, you’re guaranteed to find lots of good reading to take with you! I’ll finish today’s post with a list of resources for you to check and download to your device.
Central Intelligence Agency
Fedural Bureau of Investigation
Defense Intelligence Agency
NSA (Cuban Missile Crisis!)
OSS Personnel Files (Digital Versions)
“Wild Bill” Donovan
Images and background information sourced from the respective web sites mentioned above as well as the National Archives (NARA) and the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.