What this may have been was an attempt to run a private spy agency. Away from the eyes of other intelligence agencies. Through corporations. Using private citizens. The official story of the Pond, is likely not the real story, but some sanitized version of reality.
Keeping that in mind, read on....
What Zoltan Pfeiffer, a top political figure opposed to Soviet occupation, his wife and 5-year-old daughter did not know as they were whisked out of Hungary in 1947 was that their driver, James McCargar, was a covert agent for one of America's most secretive espionage agencies, known simply as the Pond.
Created after ww2, the Pond existed for 13 years and was shrouded in secrecy for more than 50 years. It used sources that ranged from Nazi officials to Stalinists and, at one point, a French serial killer.
It operated under the cover of multinational corporations, including American Express, Chase National Bank and Philips, the Dutch-based electronic giant. One of its top agents was a female American journalist.
The Pond, designed to be relatively small and operate out of the limelight, appeared to score some definite successes, but rivals questioned its sources and ultimately, it became discredited because its pugnacious leader was too cozy with Sen. Joseph McCarthy and other radical anti-communists.
Created by U.S. military intelligence as a counterweight to the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA, ( making all the headlines pure nonsense) it functioned as a semiautonomous agency for the State Department after World War II and ended its days as a contractor for the CIA with links to J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.
The organization counted among its exploits an attempt to negotiate the surrender of Germany with Hermann Goering, one of Adolf Hitler's top military leaders, more than six months before the war ended; an effort to enlist mobster Charles "Lucky" Luciano in a plot to assassinate Italian dictator Benito Mussolini; identifying the location of the German heavy water plants doing atomic research in Norway; and providing advance information on Russia's first atomic bomb explosion.
The Pond, he wrote in a declassified document put in the National Archives, had a mission "to collect important secret intelligence via many international companies, societies, religious organizations and business and professional men who were willing to cooperate with the U.S. but who would not work with the OSS because it was necessarily integrated with British and French Intelligence and infiltrated by Communists and Russians."
I find that paragraph so interesting....
The Hazards of Private Spy Operations
(this piece contains a fair bit of spin to downplay the operations of this outfit)
For all that anyone knows the Pond could still be in operation today.