“That is the stupidest piece of intelligence I’ve ever heard,” said Col. Donovan.
“That doesn’t mean it’s not true,” Grombach replied.
Donovan handed a pile of manila folders back to Grombach and said “Get rid of that shit. I don’t have room in my budget for fairytales.”
Jean Grombach left Col. Donovan’s office at the CIA knowing the Pond was going to be shut down soon. He grumbled to himself in French and wondered what he had to do to convince the suits in charge that the clandestine intelligence gathering his group performed was going invaluable for the future of the United States of America.
Since 1942 the Pond had been secretly gathering intelligence, working as civilians, infiltrating anti-American organizations, following leads and theories and rumors. The President and some top level Department of Defense and FBI people were the only ones who knew the Pond even existed. Now Grombach wondered if he made the structure of the organization too small, wondered if the group had a bigger profile would their vital contributions be more noticeable.
The 1960s were fast approaching, Gromabach held a file in his hand that contained a report about a communist family living in the suburbs of St. Louis and trying to spread communism and Donovan thought it was a fairytale. He had sent reports straight to the FBI and the DoD detailing secret meetings, funded by unknown sources, between the United States State Department and Eastern European operatives and officials, but they didn’t wanna hear about that. They didn’t wanna hear about possible space cars being assembled underground in North Dakota, or the North Koreans working on a wind machine that could make a lake disappear, or Russia exporting bottles of Vodka laced with drugs to turn men infertile. They didn’t wanna hear anything that couldn’t be substantiated by a fact checker.
Grombach had clearly written it in his report last year “Intelligence is the gathering of data on selected subjects without regard to correctness. Nor can intelligence be limited to the subjects indicated for investigation but odds and ends of sometimes unrelated data provide the cement that binds the mosaic. It is therefore impossible to eliminate any material, no matter how far-fetched it may appear to be at a given moment. How one can eliminate anything within a few days after its receipt is difficult to understand.”
Grombach went to the Pond’s little office at the bottom of the International Relations building on Pennsylvania Avenue and packed up everything. He threw all the boxes in the back of the CIA car they had loaned him this week and started driving to New York, leaving behind nothing in the Washington Pond office. drove all night and got into NYC late on Friday night, but he went to the NYC Pond office, the Universal Services Corporation building on 52nd Street. He got all the files out of the car and brought them into his office then fell asleep in his desk chair. He woke to the sound of someone slamming a car door the next afternoon, ate a bowl of dry cereal and started going through all the NYC office files. He took out and packed the ones he considered most important, attacks thru fluoride in the drinking water, teams of undercover Russian school principals destroying all the economics and political books in the nation’s elementary schools, etc. and took all the Washington DC files and the NYC files that he packed down to the CIA car again. Grombach drove to his small place in rural New Jersey and packed all the reports he had at home and put them in the car. He sat at home, at his dinner, listened to the radio, then fell asleep with the lights still on. He woke up Sunday morning in his living room recliner, wearing the same clothes he put on Friday morning.
Monday morning Grombach was supposed to be in Col. Donovan’s office again, he got into his shower Sunday morning and decided the best place to hide the files was the house he grew up in. He got out of the shower, packed a small suitcase with a few changes of clothes and hygiene related items then got back in the CIA car and headed for New Orleans. He slept in the car when he was tired, but drove nonstop otherwise. He got to his old home early Wednesday. His father was the French Consul to the United States down here once upon a time. Now he was going to save the United States, and maybe France, and maybe the world, by hiding all the Pond documents from the last 10 years in his family’s house in New Orleans. His sister still lived at the house, and he told her he had large amounts of massively important documents to move into the horse stable, and that’s what he did. He cleaned an area, stored the files, covered them with a tarp, told his sister not to go near them, then showered dressed and drove back to Washington DC.
Grombach walked into Col Donovan’s office exactly 1 week after he walked out of it and as he closed the door Donovan said “Grombach I don’t know where you’ve been or what you’ve been doing, but it gives me great pleasure to tell you that the United States of America will no longer need your services. You can pay the staff for the rest of the year but you are to cease and desist all covert information gathering by the Pond.”
“I’ve already saved all our work, you can’t destroy in Colonel,” said Grombach. “When McCarthy and then the President starts asking how the communists got into the United States, and where all the clean drinking water in Wisconsin disappeared to and how we lost 3 submarines I’ll have all the paperwork to show him. I won’t let you get rid of it this time.
Donovan said “Don’t come back to the CIA, or I’ll have you shot.”