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Hiring Nazis War Criminals to spy on the Soviets

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  • DickMcManus
    copyrighted June 5, 2013 The following will be added to the 2nd edition of my chapter about the CIA during the Pres. Truman years: Hiring Nazis War Criminals
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2013

      copyrighted June 5, 2013

      The following will be added to the 2nd edition of my chapter about the CIA during the Pres. Truman years:

      Hiring Nazis War Criminals to spy on the Soviets

      On May 10, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) issued a directive to General Dwight Eisenhower, commander of US forces in Europe, to arrest and hold all war criminals. The JCS tempered its instructions by advising him that "in your discretion you may make such exceptions as you deem advisable for intelligence and other military reasons."

      In early June 1945 Captain John R. Boker, an Army intelligence officer assigned to the 12th Army Group Military Intelligence's (G-2) known as a Russian expert interrogated Brig. General Reinhard Gehlen.  Nazi BG Gehlen had been the head of the Foreign Armies East (FHO) of the intelligence branch of the German General Staff on the Eastern Front.   Gehlen offered to give the Boker and the US intact FHO along with its files on the Soviet Union.   He also offered he could actually produce current intelligence on the Soviet Union through a network of undercover agents operating in Soviet territory. These could be reactivated by reestablishing contact with the former Nazi case officer of this network: Lt. Col. Hermann Baun.

      Boker The first step would be to convince the commander of the United States Forces European Theater (USFET) G-2, Major General Edwin L. Sibert, of Gehlen's value. Boker moved Gehlen and four other General Staff officers along with Boker's small team of fluent German speakers into a separate house. This enabled the group to not only work in secrecy on an intelligence report aimed to impress Sibert, but it kept the Germans out of the hands of other interrogators and the Army Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC), that Boker believed included personnel with pro-Soviet leanings who might tip off the Russians about Gehlen. As a further precaution against this, Boker had Gehlen's name removed from the captured POW list.

      MG Sibert agreed to a provisional use of the FHO to assess its intelligence capability and started to find all the remaining FHO members scattered around Western Germany.

      Pentagon G-2 ordered the FHO files with Gehlen and his colleagues be flown to Washington. Pentagon G-2 had learned about Gehlen from the British.

      In mid-August 1945, Reinhard Gehlen and six other Germans were flown to Fort Hunt, facility near Alexandria, Virginia and remained there as POWs for a year.  Left behind in Germany was Captain Gerhard Wessel, was Gehlen's deputy who was behind in Wiesbaden to reestablish contact with LTC. Baun.

      Meanwhile MG Sibert with Wessel's help was rounding up the remaining Nazi FHO members. Late that summer after a brief visit to the Pentagon and without even informing his own CIC, the OSS, or the USFET commander Eisenhower, Sibert moved the Germans to a compound at the U.S. Detention and Interrogation Center, Oberursel. Their mission, under the codenames Operation "X" and  later Operation Rusty was to spy on the Soviet armed forces in East Germany. Sibert gave command of the operation to Lt. Col. John Russell Deane, Jr., age 26. The British, French and Russian intelligence services did however employ former members of the SD and SS during this period.

      Baun was given free rein to reactivate his old agent network and recruit many others eager to work for the Americans amid the mass poverty, hunger and desolation of postwar Germany. By the following year Baun had 125 agents operating throughout Western Germany. Through these he had forwarded to Wessel about 800 reports on the Soviet military generated from his agents operating inside the Soviet Zone. Wessel's group, which handled analysis and evaluation, then prepared the reports for circulation to G-2 headquarters in Frankfurt and intelligence agencies in Washington and Europe.

      Gehlen was returned to Germany in July 1946. He planted his own people in LTC Baun's group and Baun was gradually eased out of the Gehlen Organization.   He died in 1951.

      Convinced that German scientists could help America's postwar efforts, President Harry Truman agreed in September 1946 to authorize "Project Paperclip," a program to bring selected German scientists to work on America's behalf during the "Cold War" However, Truman expressly excluded anyone found "to have been a member of the Nazi party and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Naziism or militarism."

      Operation Rusty was moved in December 1947 to Pullach, outside Munich and the G-2 in Frankfurt gave Operation Rusty a cover: the 7121 Composite Group, which consisting of 10 US Army officers and 15 enlisted men.


      The War Department's Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) conducted background investigations of the scientists. In February 1947, JIOA Director Bosquet Wev submitted the first set of scientists' dossiers to the State and Justice Departments for review.

      In February 1947, War Department's Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) Director Bosquet Wev submitted the first set of dossiers on Nazis to the State and Justice Departments for review.   Allen Dulles and Gehlen hit it off immediately. Dulles had the dossier's re-written to eliminate incriminating evidence.

      The CIA took control of the Gehlen Organization in July 1949 and it was run by CIA officer, Colonel James H. Critchfield until 1955.  Years later it would became the German foreign intelligence service, the BND.


      From 1945 on, the US had control of the Berlin Document Center, which was the repository for all SS, Gestapo and SD personnel files. US investigators were required to check the backgrounds of all potential German employees against their records. In addition, CROWCASS (Central Registry of War Crimes and Security Suspects) files contained the names of suspected or wanted war criminals. The CROWCASS information was widely circulated to American agencies, including the CIA, which were in a position to hire or come into contact with such people. These files, which contained a great deal of potentially damaging information on German nationals, were turned over to Reinhard Gehlen in 1948.   So Colonel Critchfield and the CIA had to know about these war criminals.


      In 1949 John J. McCloy former Assistant Secretary of War under Roosevelt,  replaced became  the military governor for the U.S. Zone in Germany as the US High Commissioner for Germany and held this position until 1952.


      In March 1950, McCloy was given the task of appointing a new head of the West German Secret Service. After discussing the matter with Frank Wisner of the CIA, McCloy decided on Reinhard Gehlen. This resulted in protests from the Soviet Union government who wanted to try Gehlen for war crimes.

      Klaus Barbie He was known as the "Butcher of Lyon" for having personally tortured prisoners of the Gestapo while stationed in Lyon, France .  Evidence suggests that he enjoyed personally torturing prisoners: men, women, and children alike, by breaking extremities, using electroshock, and sexually abusing them.    Historians estimate that Barbie was directly responsible for the deaths of up to 14,000 people.

      Barbie was recruited by the US Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC). He impressed his American handlers by infiltrating the Bavarian branch of the Communist Party. According to the CIC Barbie's "value as an informant infinitely outweighs any use he may have in prison."

      René Hardy was tried for treason in 1950. Both the prosecution and the defense teams wanted Barbie to testify. John J. McCloy decided to reject the requests being made by the French authorities to hand over Barbie. During the trial, Hardy's defence lawyer exposed what was happening by announcing in court that it was "scandalous that the U.S. military authorities in Germany were protecting Barbie from extradition for security reasons."

      Barbie was in fact in hiding in a CIC safe house in the American Zone in Germany. John J. McCloy denied any knowledge of where Barbie was and instead announced that the case was under investigation. McCloy was informed by CIC that: "This entire Hardy-Barbie affair is being pushed as a political issue by left-wing elements in France. No strong effort has been made by the French to obtain Barbie because of the political embarrassment his testimony might cause certain high French officials." In other words, Barbie had information that would show how prominent French politicians who during the war had collaborated with the Gestapo. The American government also were worried about what Barbie might say about his involvement with the CIC in Germany.

      McCloy was reluctant to admit that the CIC was employing an accused war criminal. In fact, it was more serious than that. According to one CIC document, Klaus Barbie had "personally directed CIC's counterintelligence operations aimed at infiltrating French intelligence." CIC told McCloy that "a complete disclosure by Barbie to the French of his activities on behalf of CIC would... furnish the French with evidence that we had been directing intelligence operations against them."

      Throughout the summer and autumn of 1950 McCloy told the French that "continuous efforts to locate Barbie are being made". In reality, no search of any kind was conducted as they knew where he was living. In fact, he continued to draw a CIC salary during this period.

      On January 19, 1983, Barbie was arrested in Bolivia and extradited to France to stand trial. He died in jail at 77 on September 25, 1991.



      Federal Republic of Germany was invited to join NATO and was permitted to rearm it military on Oct. 23, 1954 and it got back its full sovereignty on May 5, 1955.  In 1955 to 1956, when the Gehlen Organization was taken over by the Federal Republic of Germany and names their foreign intelligence service the Bundes­nach­richtendienst (BND).

      SS LTC Otto Adolf Eichmann, who was in charge of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe. In a March 1958 memo to the CIA, the West German foreign intelligence services (BND) wrote that Eichmann, "is reported to have lived in Argentina under the alias CLEMENS since 1952." The memo also mentioned a rumor that Eichmann lived in Jerusalem.   In fact, Eichmann was in Argentina and was using the name Ricardo Klement -- but apparently neither the CIA nor the West Germans acted on the information.


      The following people became members of the Gehlen Organization.



      Former SS Senior Colonel, Willi Krichbaum. He was an associate of SS General Heinrich Müller, head of the Gestapo.  Krichbaum was in charge of the deportation of the Hungarian Jews in 1944—a deportation that took nearly 300,000 lives. The Secret Field Police which Krichbaum commanded was responsible for all manner of atrocities, including the killing of Soviet prisoners of war. Krichbaum was a Gehlen's chief recruiter and he recruited mostly of former Gestapo and SD people.  He informed Müller of the inner workings of the Gehlen organization which was considered a highly secret American intelligence operation. Muller  is/was the most senior member of the Nazi regime whose fate remains a mystery.

      Krichbaum continued to work for Gehlen, according to an interview with Colonel Critchfield, until at least 1956 when the West German government took over control of the group.

      In 1942 SS Colonel Walter Rauff was chief of the SD units attached to the AOK Rommels' Africa Corps. In 1943, he worked in Italy as the chief of the SD in Milan.  In 1945. he became very friendly with Allen Dulles in the Gehlen organization and was placed put into an advisory position with Dulles.  Allen Dulles ordered that Rauff be given new identity papers and funds for travel and relocation to escape prosecution for war crimes. While in Chile, the loyal Rauff continued to provide intelligence reports to Gehlen organization.

       In August 1931 the Nazi Party decided to have its own intelligence and security body. Heinrich Himmler therefore created the SD to penetrate and spy on all everyone in the Nazi Party.  Reinhard Heydrich was appointed head of the organization and it was kept distinct from the uniformed SS.   When Adolf Hitler became chancellor in 1933 the SD was given extra power to deal with all opposition to the Nazi government. On June 30, 1934, the SD played an important role in the "Night of the Long Knives" when Hitler's supporters carried out a series of political murders. The SD had officers in every local town and encourage citizens to spy on their neighbors.  http://library2.lawschool.cornell.edu/donovan/pdf/Batch_14/Vol_CV_01.pdf


      In 1941, Rauff conceived, constructed and personally supervised the use of gas vans. These vans had the exhaust pipes vented inside the rear compartments which were then filled with Jews who died of carbon monoxide poisoning.  At the Nuremberg War Trials the SD was declared a criminal organization and membership of it made its men liable to prosecution.

      SS  Dr. Franz Six joined the SS on April 20, 1935 and became a member of the SD. In 1941, he was directly responsible for the murder of the Jews in the Russian city of Smolensk. Following this military triumph, Six was made the head of intelligence analysis section of the RSHA. In 1946, Dr. Six was an early member of the Gehlen organization but was eventually tracked down and his supporters were unable to prevent his standing trial in April of 1948 for his actions. He received a sentence of 25 years. However, US authorities interceded on his behalf and on September 30, 1952, Six was released and at once returned to his duties with Gehlen.

      SS-Major Alois Brunner was a Gestapo official who worked directly under Adolf Eichmann in the deportation department and carried out deportations of Jews in Paris, France in 1942.  He was sentenced to death by a French court, in absentia but Brunner had gone to Damascus, Syria, as Gehlen's resident agent. Brunner was later made a part of a CIA-directed program to train the security forces of Abdel Nasser.

      SS Odlio Globocnik ran the Lublin camps in Poland where he stole millions more and was responsible for the gassing of large numbers of Jews and Poles. His stolen millions saved him from prosecution. After working for a time for the British, he eventually ended up as an American resource, also in Damascus.

      SS-Frederich Panziger, another old friend of Müller and he married into his family. 

      SS- Emil Augsberg was a member of the RSHA, the adjutant to SS Globocnik who was SS and Police Leader in the Polish district of Lublin. He was the head of the concentration camps of Treblinka and Belzec.

      SS Dr. Fritz Baader was on the staff of the Senior SS and Police Leader in Hungary.

      SS Otto Barnewald was on the staff of the Concentration Camp, Buchenwald.

      SS Ernst Biberstein was a member of the RSHA. He also commanded an SS group that was responsible for dreadful atrocities against partisans, civilians and Jews. Biberstein's activities were such as to secure a death sentence by an Allied court after the war, a sentence that was commuted in 1951, permitting him to work for the Gehlen organization.

      SS Ludwig Boehme was on the staff of the Concentration Camp at Ausch­witz.

      SS Christoph Diehm was chief of staff of the Kaminiski Brigade that took part in the fighting in Warsaw in 1944 and the officer in charge there in Warsaw was executed for war crimes.    

      SS Karl Döring was on the staff of the Concentration Camp at Dachau. He was later the postwar West German Ambassador to the Cameroons.

      SS  Dr. First Lieutenant Irmfried Eberl was a member of the RSHA and was involved with euthanasia at Treblinka Concentration Camp under Globocnik.  Arrested in January 1948, and hanged himself the following month to avoid trial.

      SS Hans Eichele was garrison commander at the Concentration Camp, Dachau.

      SS  General Odilo Globocnik was Senior SS and Police Leader of the Adriatic Coastal area and previous, the SS and Police Leader, Lublin. He also ran the Lublin concentrations camps, Treblinka and Sobribor.  He was responsible for liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto, which contained about 500,000 Jews.  He committed suicide by biting on a cyanide capsule on May 31, 1945.

      SS Colonel Walter Huppenkoethen was a member of the RSHA and Commanding Officer of the SD & Police in Lublin and Cracow (Poland). He was tried in the 1950s and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, but was acquitted of murder.

      SS Dr. Erich Isselhorst was Commander of the Police and SD at Strassburg and also Inspector of the SD, Stuttgart . Police Chief; Gestapo Chief in Alsace. Sentenced to death by a British military court at Wuppertal on 11.7.46, handed over to the French for trial on other counts; sentenced to death by a French military court on 17.5.47. He was hanged him in Strassbourg in February 1948.

      These names represent only a small percentage (less than 4%) of the names found on a listing of all personnel of the Gehlen Organization from 1945 onwards.

      In addition to the Nuremberg and Dachau trials, the Allied Control Council authorized each of the four powers to hold "denazification" trials. The Allies registered over 13 million people who were subject to denazification because of their membership in proscribed and criminal organizations. The Allied Control Council operated the denazification tribunals until May 1948 when the German Lander (provincial) courts took over under the general supervision of the Council. The tribunals eventually sentenced over 600,000 individuals to some form of punishment. Some 3,600 were deemed "major offenders" and received prison or labor camp sentences.

      Allied interest in pursuing war criminals waned dramatically as the decade of the 1940s came to a close and the Cold War intensified. By 1949, less than 300 of the "major offenders" were still serving their sentences. And in May 1951, the German Bundestag passed a law requiring the reinstatement of all German civil servants who had been dismissed from their posts by the Allies as punishment for criminal activities. Before the end of the year, nearly 130,000 were back in the civil service with salaries paid for the years that they had been barred from service.

      Source:   On or about June 7, 2006, some 27,000 pages of CIA declassified records regarding operational relationships between the CIA and former Nazis following World War II were made public at the National Archives.

      The release was announced by the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Nazi War Crimes, which was created by a 1998 law. The IWG, which has previously overseen the declassification of eight million war crimes-related records.

      Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, Volume 2006, Issue No. 67 June 07, 2006.

      Secret Files Show Top Nazis Worked for CIA by TBR NEWS



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