SPECIAL COUNTER INTELLIGENCE
By Keith Ellison © 2015
I began my research into Special Counter Intelligence Units over 25 years ago, and was fortunate enough at that time to be able to correspond with several former X-2/OSS officers who had served in the American units in France. Work prevented me from finishing my research until now – though, in truth, I will probably never stop looking into this intriguing subject. In the following pages I will try to set out the history, role and organization of these units, though I will first give some background to the intelligence environment which helped create and develop them.
Special Counter Intelligence Units (SCIUs or SCI Units are terms also used throughout this book) were devised by MI6’s Section V, its Counter Espionage arm, in order to penetrate the enemy intelligence services in the Field. They were aided in this by MI6’s control of ULTRA, and in particular, a sub-set of decryptions known as ISOS and ISK, which will be defined further in the following chapters. MI6 had this control because the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS) at Bletchley Park was subordinated to the Intelligence Service.
Section V expanded rapidly from 1940, as the implications and possibilities became more apparent following the successful breaking of Abwehr ciphers. In addition to using cipher, the Germans also used service jargon and codenames for officers, agents, operations and equipment. Section V officers in neutral countries were able to confirm and help further interpret the deciphered messages. Once military operations were in planning for North Africa and Europe, MI6 recognized the need for a military field unit which could act on sensitive ISOS information and begin penetrating the GIS using both penetration agents and Controlled Enemy Agents (CEAs) – most of the latter being agents using wireless transmitter (W/T) sets for communication with their German handlers.
It must be remembered when considering the actions of intelligence agencies - and the people who work for them - that each agency has it own goals and priorities. While Allied agencies can often work closely together towards a common goal, their own training and role will inject a degree of competition into any liaison relationship – even between agencies working for the same country. I was reminded of this important point when reading an excellent dissertation by Brett Lintott (“Confidence Men – The Mediterranean Double-Cross System, 1941-45”, Graduate Dept of History, University of Toronto, 2015). As A Force – a deception organization set up in 1940-41 by Col Dudley Clarke in Cairo – became more influential in military operations in that region, it began to dominate SIME (Security Intelligence Middle East – the local Security Agency) in prioritizing the use of double agents and CEAs. As a consequence, when operations expanded into Italy, they expected the SCI officers to likewise give way – which, thanks to A Force’s control of the Deception Committees, was mainly the case. But the SCIU was primarily a penetration organization, not simply a means for deception. In Western Europe, where it was decided early on that CEAs could be used only for tactical deception, there was more scope for the SCIUs to operate in their true roles. It was ironic, therefore, that the “senior” British SCI Units (104 and 106 SCIUs), mostly staffed with MI5 officers, were more interested in deception than penetration, and their roles were curtailed by the arbitrary decision of SHAEF G Ops B Sub-Section to restrict deception operations to non-continental double agents/controlled enemy agents (DAs/CEAs).
The following lists explain items which have occasionally been mentioned or duplicated in the text, but are given here as a quick reference guide. First is a list of MI6 code numbers used to delineate MI6 representatives in Stations abroad, and the countries where they were situated, as given by the UK’s National Archives website and in the book “Triplex”, by Nigel West and Oleg Tsarov, (Yale University Press, 2009). Next is a List of Specialist Terms, Codenames and Abbreviations; After this is a list of Codenames of Military Operations and Deception Plans. Finally there is a short Note on References and Sources.
I have tried to keep this work concise and to concentrate as much as possible on the organization, personnel and casework of the SI(b) and SCI Units as they developed. Their evolution into CCUs and SSU/X-2 in the post-war period is mentioned, but solely to show that these units continued, even after their initial mission, the penetration and destruction of the GIS, was completed, and to give some indication of their new targets.
I identified almost nothing in the published archives which covered SI(b)/SCI Units in Greece, except a reference to SILO (Security Intelligence Liaison Office, a subordinate office of SIME, based in Bari) using SI(b) as cover for deployment into Greece. I have therefore not addressed GIS or Allied activity there, except where the GIS used Athens as a base for operations into the Middle East.
Keith Ellison, 2015
MI6 Country Designations
11000 Representative handling 11-Land Bulgaria
12000 Representative handling 12-Land Germany
13000 Representative handling 13-Land Belgium (becomes 8 in 1943 March)
14000 Representative handling 14-Land Roumania /Romania/Rumania
15000 Representative handling 15-Land Hungary
16000 Representative handling 16-Land Ireland
18000 Representative handling 18-Land Turkey
19000 Representative handling 19-Land Denmark
21000 Representative handling 21-Land Finland
22000 Atlantic Islands (including the UK)
22600 Yugoslavia (old symbol as at late 1946)
22500 England/GB Counter-Intelligence
22850 MI6 Section IX Officer Harry Steptoe
23000 Representative handling 23-Land Spain
24000 Representative handling 24-Land Portugal
27000 Representative handling 27-Land France
29000 Representative handling 29-Land Czechoslovakia
32000 Representative handling 32-Land Italy
32700/V Captain Dawson, Vatican
33000 Representative handling 33-Land Holland
35000 Representative handling 35-Land Jugoslavia/Yugoslavia
36000 Representative handling 36-Land Sweden
37000 Representative handling 37-Land Japan
38000 Representative handling 38-Land Poland
41000 Representative handling 41-Land Greece
42000 Representative handling 42-Land Switzerland
44000 Representative handling 44-Land Austria
45000 Representative handling 45-Land France
48000 Representative handling 48-Land USA
49000 Representative handling 49-Land Malta
51000 Representative handling 51-Land Morocco and Tangier from Gibraltar
52000 North Africa
56000 Representative handling 56-Land North Africa/Tangier
57000 Lubigo (Angola)
58000 East Africa
58300 (PEA) [58-Land Portuguese East Africa/Kenya]
59000 West Africa
75000 Representative handling 75-Land South America
86000 Middle East (HQ)
88000 Representative handling 88-Land Palestine & Transjordan
89000 Representative handling 89-Land League of Nations subsequently ME/Middle East
89000 may also be Alexander [cryptonym] otherwise Lt Col J P O Shelley SOE
89700 symbol for Lt Col Rodney O Dennys as at July 1945, based Cairo, then Germany
92000 Italy (new symbol as at late 1946)
95000 Representative handling 95-Land Russia/USSR
99000 Wartime MI6 agents in Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal
34800 - shown as Allied Agent reports in summary listing of CX/letter/letter bigram/digraph indicators used to identify sigint product from GC & CS. Indicators originally introduced to simulate SIS agent/source reporting and disguise fact that source was cryptographic. The CX/MSS classification on any series of reports denotes intelligence derived from decrypts of German Army and Air Force high-grade machine traffic (Enigma).)
Specialist Terms, Codenames And Abbreviations
A Force British military organization responsible for planning and
implementing deception in the Mediterranean theatre.
AAI Allied Armies in Italy. The Allied army group in Italy
from March to December 1944.
Abt I/II/III Abteilung. Each a section of the Abwehr responsible for espionage (I), sabotage (II), and counter-espionage (III), respectively.
Abwehr Amt Ausland/Abwehr im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht -
The espionage service of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW).
AFHQ Allied Force Headquarters. Allied command covering the
central and western Mediterranean.
AK Abwehrkommando. Mobile Abwehr field units
attached to army groups or armies. (See FAK)
Amt VI Foreign intelligence office of the RSHA.
AMZON American zone of Germany.
AST Abwehrstelle. A main Abwehr station in home or occupied
AZUSA OSS/SSU designation of atomic energy information (see
B Branch/B Division The counter-intelligence section of MI5.
B1a Double agent section of MI5 B Division.
B1b ISOS analysis section of MI5 B Division.
B Section Counter-intelligence section of ISLD.
BCRA Bureau Centrale de Renseignement et d’Action, French
Gaullist intelligence and operational services to 1944.
Bletchley Park SIGINT organization (see GCCS) controlled by MI6.
BMA Bureau des Menées Anti-Nationales, Vichy Military CI.
BRASS 2nd British Army.
Broadway British Intelligence (MI6 Headquarters).
BRONZE 102 SCIU with 1st Canadian Army.
BSM Bureau de Sécurité Militaire, Military Security.
BULLION 21AG in Belgium.
C The head of MI6, also CSS.
CEA Controlled Enemy Agent.
Chicken Feed True information passed to the enemy in an effort to build
up the credibility of a double agent.
CIB SHAEF Counter-Intelligence Branch
CIC Counter Intelligence Corps (US)
CICI Combined Intelligence Centre Iraq.
Cinquième Bureau 5th Bureau, created in wartime, combined all military
CRUSADE Codename for MI6(V) at Ryder St, London.
CSDIC Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre
D Measure Order to execute someone immediately.
Deuxième Bureau 2nd Bureau, Overall French Military Intelligence
Directorate, G-2 equivalent.
D/F’ing Radio Direction Finding (used to track illicit transmitters)
DGER Direction Générale des Études et Recherches, French
DGSS Direction Générale des Services Spéciaux, 1944 merged
BCRA and French traditional service.
DMI Director of Military Intelligence.
DMO Director of Military Operations.
DSO Defence Security Office / Officer. MI5
representatives in British overseas possessions, and some neutral states.
DST Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, replaced ST in
ECHO Codename of an X-2/SCI officer, possible Eugene Waith.
ELI Codename of an X-2/SCI officer, possible Eugene Waith.
ETO European Theater of Operations.
ETOUSA European Theater of Operations US Army.
FAK Frontaufklärungskommando. Mobile Abwehr field units
attached to army groups or armies. (See AK)
FAT Frontaufklärungstrupp. Mobile Abwehr field units which
are subordinate to a FAK. Formerly Abwehrtruppen.
FFI Forces Franҫaises de l'Intérieur (Free French Military
FHO Fremde Heere Ost (Foreign Armies East). Intelligence
analysis section of the General Staff of the German Army, with responsibility for the Eastern Front.
FHW Fremde Heere West (Foreign Armies West). Intelligence
analysis section of the General Staff of the German Army, with responsibility for all European fronts other than the Eastern Front.
Foodstuff See Chicken Feed.
G-2/GSI I Military Intelligence staff (US/British).
G-5 Civil Affairs, U.S. Army
GALVESTON Codename for Dudley Clarke, head of A Force.
Sometimes used to denote the organization as a whole.
GCCS Government Code and Cypher School, aka Bletchley Park.
GHQ General Headquarters. Middle East. Based in Cairo.
I(b) British Military Staff for CI matters.
Ic German staff officer responsible for operational
I H /I L /I M Sections of Abwehr Abteilung I responsible for army (I H),
Air force (I L), and naval intelligence (I M), respectively.
ISBA “Intelligence Service, British Agents”; name for sub-series
of ISOS whose distribution was restricted by Lt Col Cowgill, MI6(V).
ISLD Inter-Services Liaison Department. The local guise of MI6
in the Mediterranean and Middle East.
ISSB Inter-Services Security Board.
ISK Intelligence Service Knox. Named after Dillwyn Knox, the
intelligence product derived from breaking Abwehr machine ciphers.
ISOS Intelligence Service Oliver Strachey. Intelligence product
derived from breaking Abwehr hand ciphers.
JE-Land X-2 codename for USSR.
JIC Joint Intelligence Committee. British cabinet sub-
JPS Joint Planning Staff.
KdM Kommando des Meldegebietes; HQ of the Reporting Area,
replaced AST and KO organizations.
KO Kriegsorganization. A main Abwehr station in a neutral or
LCS London Controlling Section. Responsible for planning and
co-ordinating all strategic deception in the European theatre.
LVF Légion des Volontaires Franҫais Contre le Bolchevisme;
French volunteers in the Waffen SS.
MEDTO Mediterranean Theater of Operations.
METO Middle East Theater of Operations.
MI5 The Security Service. Responsible for security and counter-
intelligence in Britain and in British overseas possessions.
MI6/SIS The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Responsible for
foreign intelligence and counter-intelligence.
MI6(V) Section V of MI6, CE Section of British Foreign
Mil Amt Militärisches Amt; in June 1944, Abwehr I and II were merged together and became the Militärisches Amt (or Mil Amt) of Walter Schellenberg's SD.
Milice Milice Franҫais, fascist police force in Vichy France.
MIS US Military Intelligence Service.
NATO North African Theater of Operations.
NATOUSA North African Theater of Operations, U.S. Army.
NEST Nebenstelle, Sub-Office or –Branch.
NKVD Soviet Intelligence.
Notional Activities, units, etc. presented to the enemy as being real
but which are, in fact, fake.
OKW Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. High Command of the
German Armed Forces.
ONI Office of Naval Intelligence, U.S. Navy
OSS Office of Strategic Services. American wartime intelligence
OVRA Opera Vigilanza Per Repressione Anti-Fascismo, Fascist
Italian Secret Police.
PC Poste de Commandement, command post.
Penetration Agent A double agent run for counter-intelligence rather than
PPF Parti Populaire Franҫais. French fascist and collaborationist
party, headed by Jacques Doriot.
R&A Research and Analysis Division, OSS.
RAB Radio Analysis Bureau, also known as Section Vw of MI6.
Responsible for analyzing the Abwehr radio network and decrypted Abwehr communications.
R Force Deception Organization under 21AG, similar to A Force in the Middle East.
RG Renseignements Généraux, Police intelligence agency.
RIP Refugee Interrogation Point.
RIS Radio Intelligence Service. Successor agency with the same
functions as RAB within MI6.
RSHA Reichsicherheitshauptamt. Reich Security Head Office,
encompassing a number of organizations, such as the Gestapo and the SD.
S Force Allied formation formed to coordinate intelligence
gathering within a major target city.
SAINT OSS indicator for messages containing security and
counter-Intelligence; cable designation for X-2 HQs London, Paris, Washington.
SAVAGE Codename for 1st British Army SCIU.
SCIU Special Counter-Intelligence Units. MI6 field units attached
to Army Groups and armies (also SI(b), SCI, SCI/Z, and SCI/A).
SD Sicherheitsdienst. The intelligence service of the SS and the
Nazi Party. Part of the RSHA after 1939.
Section V MI6 Counter-Espionage Section; MI6(V), MI6 Section 5.
SHAEF Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.
Command of Allied forces in North-West Europe.
SI(b) Units First designation given to British Special Counter-
Intelligence Units (name changed to SCIU in March 1944).
SI Strategic Intelligence Branch, OSS
SID Security Intelligence Department of the Gibraltar Defence
SID Servizio Informazione Difesa or Difensa, Italian fascist
intelligence service created by dissident SIM officers.
SIM Servizio Informazioni Militari. Italian military intelligence.
SIM/CS Italian Military Intelligence/Counter Espionage branch.
SIME Security Intelligence Middle East. Responsible for security'
and counter-intelligence in the zone under the command of General Headquarters. Middle East.
SIPO German Security Police.
SM Sécurité Militaire, Military Security, covering military
security and CE until the end of 1944.
SOE Special Operations Executive. British organization
designed to engage in espionage and sabotage in occupied Europe, and to aid resistance groups.
Special Agent In the Thirty Committee system, the term used for double
agents used for deception operations.
Special Section Double agent section of SIME.
SSM Service de Sécurité Militaire, Military Security Service.
SR Service de Renseignements, Foreign Intelligence Service
within the French 2nd Bureau.
ST Surveillance du Territoi...