GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATIONS. Numerous allegations about collaborating with the German Nazis -- during and after World War II -- have been leveled at the CIA.
First, the CIA and its predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the Strategic Services Unit (SSU), and the Central Intelligence Group (CIG), employed German intelligence personnel as sources of information. Afterward, the CIA sponsored the new West German intelligence service, an organization under the control of officers of the defunct German general staff.
Second, the OSS and CIA recruited collaborators of Nazi Germany, primarily from Eastern and Southern Europe, as sources of information and operants in the Soviet Union. Third, the CIA and the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) imported Nazis into the United States to provide information on the Soviet Union.
Fourth, the CIA and OPC, formed "secret armies" from various European groups, including Nazi sympathizers, and trained them in the United States.
Fifth, the CIA evacuated Nazi war criminals and collaborators through "rat lines" in southern Europe, allowing them to escape justice by relocating them in South America.
Sixth, the CIA brought Soviet and Soviet Bloc defectors to the United States.
Seventh, the CIA covered up its these activities from congressional and other federal investigators.
The congressional investigations were launched by Congressmen Joshua Eilberg and Elizabeth Holtzman. After the INS's investigation appeared to be at a standstill. Congress demanded that the GAO determine whether the INS or any other government agency had conspired to obstruct legal action against alleged Nazi war criminals living in the United States. Congress made this request in January 1977, marking the beginning of the first GAO investigation. The Special Litigation Unit, a new office within INS and the immediate predecessor to the OSI, also started its separate investigation at the same time. (www.cia.gov/csi/studies/97unclass/naziwar)
In May 1978, the GAO released its formal report, Widespread Conspiracy To Obstruct Probes of Alleged Nazi War Criminals Not Supported by Available Evidence -- Controversy May Continue. The GAO found that the CIA had no records on 54 of 111 alleged Nazi war criminals. Of the remaining 57, the CIA had references, such as newspaper articles and general correspondence with other federal agencies, on 35. That left 22 individuals with whom the CIA admitted to GAO investigators that it had a more substantial relationship. In an unnamed case, the CIA sponsored the immigration of a "senior official of the German Foreign Ministry during the Nazi era" to the United States. The remaining 21 had contact with the CIA either overseas or after their immigration to America. Some were paid, while the agency declined to use others. (www.cia.gov/csi/studies/ 97unclass/naziwar)
The GAO maintained that the CIA assisted only one person to immigrate to the United States. When the 1978 GAO report was released, Eilberg charged that "this report makes clear that the CIA and FBI were more interested in using these people and getting information from them than in conducting any background investigation as to their wartime activities or pursuing allegations that they were war criminals. Subsequently, Holtzman worked to strengthen American immigration laws to "exclude from admission into the United States aliens who have persecuted any person on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion, and to facilitate the deportation of such aliens who have been admitted into the United States."
In May 1982, John Loftus, a former OSI attorney, announced on CBS- TV's 60 Minutes that numerous branches of the government, including the Army, the FBI, the CIA, and the State Department, had employed Nazis and brought them to America after the war. Furthermore, Loftus charged that these same agencies had refused to support the GAO's investigation of 1977 and 1978. This led to a new GAO investigation that took another three years. This time, the CIA allowed the GAO investigators full access to its records in an effort to avoid the controversy that marred the first GAO examination.
In 1985, the GAO released its second report, entitled Nazis and Axis Collaborators Were Used To Further US Anti-Communist Objectives in Europe--Some Immigrated to the United States. After years of research through 150,000 files and interviewing numerous surviving American intelligence officers, the GAO concluded that "U.S. intelligence used anti-Communist resources that had immediate intelligence potential."
The GAO investigated 114 individuals and provided detailed summaries on 12. Of this latter number, the conclusion was that the CIA was involved with five with "undesirable or questionable backgrounds" who had received aid to move to the United States. The GAO "found no specific program to aid the immigration of undesirable aliens." It concluded that "its review was sufficiently broad and unrestricted to state that this report fairly portrays the conditions that existed following World War II." Even so, the GAO's report admitted that while it was "not denied access to any documents requested ... intelligence agencies often assign projects innocuous names which do not reflect the projects' purposes and, therefore, we cannot assure that we requested all relevant projects' files. ... We cannot be completely sure that we have obtained all relevant information or that we have identified all Nazis and Axis collaborators assisted by U.S. agencies to immigrate to the United States. (www.cia.gov/csi/studies/97unclass/naziwar)
The GAO conducted two major investigations since 1977 in an attempt to uncover evidence linking the CIA to the escape of German Nazis after World War II. In addition, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Department of Justice's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) carried out independent inquiries since the mid-1970s. The purpose of the OSI probe was to look for evidence indicating that American immigration laws were violated by covering up illegal activities during World War II. Ultimately, the OSI divested 52 people of their citizenship and removed another 44 since 1979. In addition, the OSI conducted nearly 1,500 investigations and placed the names of some 60,000 individuals on a "watch list" to alert American immigration officials to prevent their entry into the United States.
According to Christopher Simpson, author of the 1988 book, Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War, "U.S. intelligence agencies did know -- or had good reason to suspect -- that many contract agents they hired during the Cold War had committed crimes against humanity on behalf of the Nazis. The CIA, the State Department, and U.S. Army intelligence. ... Each created special programs for the specific purpose of bringing former selected Nazis and collaborators to the United States. Other projects protected such people by placing them on U.S. payrolls overseas."
John Loftus, a former OSI attorney, announced on CBS's 60 Minutes in May 1982 that numerous branches of the government -- including the Army, the FBI, the CIA, and the State Department -- had employed Nazis and brought them to America after the war. Furthermore, Loftus charged that these same agencies had refused to support the GAO's 1977-78 investigation. This led to another GAO investigation that lasted three years and unearthed thousands of documents from numerous agencies. This time, the CIA granted the GAO investigators full access to its records in an effort to avoid the controversy that marred the first GAO examination.
OPERATION PAPERCLIP. Paperclip -- because paper clips were attached to documents of German scientists and doctors. Under Operation Paperclip and its successor, Project 63, the United States Army's Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) recruited primarily doctors and scientists. In 1946, Operation Paperclip was approved by Truman, and over 1,000 SS agents, most of whom had conducted experiments in German concentration camps, were brought to the United States. They along with their families were given protection by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Thus, they avoided the INS procedures and requirements to enter the United States. During Paperclip -- between the late 1940s and 1973 -- approximately 1,600 scientists and several thousand dependents were brought to the United States. The highest ranking American military officer to head Paperclip was Colonel Henry Whalen who had been convicted of espionage.
The officials operating Paperclip justified the recruitment of Nazi scientists, maintaining that they would have left for the Soviet Union had they not been invited to come to the United States. The Joint Intelligence Operations Agency (JIOA), directed by Bousqet Wey, was given the task of censoring the files of the recruits in December 1947.
KURT WALDHEIM. Waldheim served as Austrian president from 1972 to 1982. Then he was elected secretary-general of the United Nations. His career was clouded by allegations he that he hid a Nazi past. While he had admitted his service in the German Army, he had never fully described the extent of his activities in the Balkans, a region marked by numerous Nazi atrocities. The fact that Waldheim rose to such high levels after the war led many observers to question whether he worked with the United States, the Soviet Union, or the Yugoslavian intelligence services.
In 1980, Congressman Stephen Solarz expressed interest in Waldheim's early life. He approached both Waldheim and CIA Director William Casey. The CIA's Office of Legislative Counsel told Solarz: "We believe that Waldheim was not a member of the Nazi Youth Movement, nor was he involved in anti-Jewish activities." In addition, the CIA provided a summary of Waldheim's military record and said there were no indications that Waldheim had "participated directly or indirectly in anti-Jewish activities."
The CIA response to Solarz resulted in embarrassment in both congressional hearings and during the OSI's examination into Waldheim's wartime activities. As a result of OSI's 1987 report, the Department of Justice placed Waldheim's name on the "watch list" to prevent his entry into the United States. The OSI concluded that "Waldheim had participated in the transfer of civilians to the SS for slave labor; the mass deportation of civilians to death camps; the use of anti-Semitic propaganda; the mistreatment and execution of Allied prisoners of war; and the reprisal execution of civilians." (www.cia.gov/csi/studies/97unclass/naziwar) The report, however, did not address whether Waldheim had postwar intelligence connections with the East or West.
According to CIA declassified documents, released on April 27, 2001, the Waldheim file included a 1945 report, presumably from the British, indicating Waldheim's status as an intelligence officer in a German army group in the Balkans. Surprisingly, no one had asked the CIA to check Waldheim's background when he was nominated as U.N. secretary general in 1971. The CIA records showed that Waldheim was not involved with the American intelligence community after World War II.
Waldheim has been barred from entering the United States since April 1987, following an investigation of his wartime activities. American law prohibits admission of anyone who participated in World War II persecution. As secretary general, Waldheim refused to step down but declined to run for a second term because of the continuing controversy.
ADOLF HITLER. The comments about Hitler's mental state were attributed to his personal physician and surgeon at the University of Berlin, Dr. Ferdinand Sauerbruch, in a memorandum written on December 7, 1944, by Ronald Carroll, an OSS officer. The report was based on an interview with an informer, Hans Bie, who said he discussed Hitler's growing megalomania with Sauerbruch at a party in 1937. According to the memorandum, Sauerbruch was reported to have said that "from close observation of Hitler for many years, he had formed the opinion that the Nazi leader was a border case between genius and insanity and that in his opinion the decision would take place in the near future whether Hitler's mind would swing toward the latter."
KLAUS BARBIE: THE BUTCHER OF LYON." The greatest asset to American security forces was Nazi officer Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyon." He worked his way up the Gestapo ladder during World War II. After the German occupation of France in 1942, Hitler named him commander of the SS office in Lyons in 1942 where he ordered the murder of 4,000 Jews. After the war concluded, Barbie was charged with war crimes at Nurenberg. Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy, formerly a Wall Street attorney, intervened in the executions of some convicted Nurenberg criminals. He arranged to have Barbie sheltered from prosecution by the 970th Counterintelligence Corps at Oberamergau. McCloy's motives were clear. He represented Standard Oil and Chase Manhatten Bank which were big investors in Nazi Germany. Before the war, McCloy was the legal adviser to I.G. Farben, the German chemical conglomerate, many of whose officials were elevated to high positions by Hitler. The company also prospered from Jewish slave labor at Auswitz and other concentration camps.
Barbie was quickly picked up by the CIC and put on their payroll. According to Klaus' CIA file which was declassified on April 27, 2001, his job was to keep track of communists. The CIC protected him from French prosecution. A 1967 American Army document, declassified on April 27, 2001, said, "Exposure of Counterintelligence Command's role in evacuating him from Germany to avoid prosecution would have serious consequences for the U.S. government."
By 1947, he was relocated under an assumed name in Germany, and remained there until 1951. American intelligence units moved Barbie to Austria and then on to LaPaz, Bolivia in April 1951. Within six years Bolivian dictator Victor Paz Estensorro awarded him citizenship which also prevented other countries from extraditing him. However, Paz did not remain friendly to the United States since he refused to send it troops to squelch a miners' strike. Additionally, he openly supported the Castro government in Cuba. By this time the CIA wanted Paz removed from power.
By the early 1960s, the CIA recruited Bolivian General Rene Barrientos Ortuno who, in turn, launched an attack on the presidential palace in 1964. Paz fled the country, and the CIA placed General Rene Barrientos Ortuno in power. The American government sent in troops to assure control as well as bringing 1,600 military officers back to the United States for training. This group included the top 23 Bolivian Army generals. The French continued their hunt for Barbie, but the United States government denied any knowledge of his whereabouts. Barrientos placed Barbie on his Department 4, his internal security force, and Barbie was put in charge of planning counterinsurgency operations. When Bolivian tin miners walked out and struck again, Barbie quickly responded by using Nazi techniques of interrogation, torture, and murder. Over 100 miners were killed by Department 4 troopers. Barbie extended his terrorist tactics when he launched an attack against Bolivian Indian tribes whom he considered genetically and culturally inferior.
Barbie also continued to prosper by starting the Estrella Company which sold bark, coca paste, and assault weapons to a former SS officer, Frederich Schwend in Lima, Peru. Schwend had been trained by the OSS in the early 1940s after he had informed CIA Director Dulles that the German SS had hidden millions in gold, cash, and loot as the European war was winding down. Both Schwend and Barbie formed Transmaritania which was a shipping company that also generated millions of dollars in profits from the cocaine business. They purchased their weapons from another SS colleague, Colonel Otto Skorzeny who had been Hitler's favorite Stormtrooper, and who had started the Merex weapons business in Bonn after the war.
In 1969, Barrientos ironically was killed when his Gulf Oil helicopter crashed, and he was succeeded by General Ovando Candia and after one year by General Juan Jose Torres. However, Torres turned out to be a populist and exiled Cuban refugee Che Guevara and nationalizing foreign multinational corporations which included Gulf Oil. Therefore, the CIA had to strike once again. In a 1970 coup, Torres was overthrown and was replaced with Hugo Banzer Suarez who had been trained at the School of the Americas in Panama. Immediately, Bolivia's universities were shut down and violent methods were carried out against leftist resistors.
In 1970, Hugo Banzer Suarez seized power, and Barbie stayed on to run his security division. In addition, Barbie continued to pocket millions of dollars from his drug enterprise and well as from his lucrative arms business. While Suarez oversaw a fast growing billion dollar drug trade, former Nazi Hugo Banzer and two top Army generals were actively involved in the trade. By the early 1970s, Bolivia controlled 80 percent of the world's coca fields, and most was exported to Colombian cartel laboratories including Barbie's Transmaritania.
ADOLF EICHMANN. Even though the CIA knew the secret location of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, the senior Gestapo officer to Hitler, the agency helped protect him. According to a CIA March 1958 memo from West German intelligence, Eichmann was living under the alias “Clemens” in Argentina where he had arrived in 1951. (New York Times, June 6, 2006)
The CIA also could have passed along the information to Israeli intelligence, which was ending its own search for Eichmann in Argentina, when the CIA received word of his whereabouts from West Germany. (New York Times, June 6, 2006)
However, the CIA also helped West Germany suppress part of Eichmann’s diary, because the Nazi criminal might have embarrassed Adenauer’s national security adviser, Hans Globke who had been a former Nazi. The CIA worked closely with Globke and assisted the West Germans in protecting him from Eichmann. (New York Times, June 6, 2006)
The Israelis finally captured Eichmann in Argentina in 1960. He was tried in Jerusalem for crimes against the Jewish people, found guilty and hanged in 1962. (New York Times, June 6, 2006)