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CIA Use of Nazi War Criminals was Worse Than Most People Realize

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CIA Use of Nazi War Criminals was Worse Than Most People Realize

The severity and the extent of the CIA’s involvement with Nazi war criminals has remained undisclosed for years, with the U.S. Department of Justice stifling masses of pages and documents of a frank and open history of how the U.S. government collaborated and even protected Nazis.

In 2005, the National Security Archive finally posted formerly classified secret documents that linked the CIA to the notorious Nazi general Reinhard Gehlen, despite the fact that Gehlen had employed numerous known Nazi war criminals.

The released two-volume history, known as the “Secret Relger”, was compiled by Kevin Ruffner, a CIA historian. In 1999, the report was presented to the German Intelligence Service by Jack Downing, CIA Deputy Director for Operations, in remembrance of the “new and close ties” formed between the CIA and German officials during post-war Germany.

Close Ties Between CIA and Nazi Criminals

The history of these close ties was made public by work carried out by The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG). The IWG had lodged public grievances stating that the CIA had not conformed to the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, and was concealing documents that proved close ties between the CIA and Nazi war criminals.

In 2010, the entire document that had earlier been censored by the Department of Justice was leaked to the New York Times.

The 600-page report was published in the New York Times, and revealed new evidence that numerous notorious Nazi war criminals had been involved with the CIA in the last three decades.

While previous government reports had emerged which recognized, “the CIA’s use of Nazi for post-war intelligence purposes”, the Justice Department report published in the New York Times just over a year ago is by far the most damning expose of those activities.

The shocking report provides the world with evidence about the U.S. government’s posthumous pursuit of the “Angel of Death” at Auschwitz, Dr. Josef Mengele. In a surreal revelation, the report revealed that part of Josef’s scalp was being kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer.

The report also detailed the government’s mistaken identity of ‘Ivan the Terrible’, a Treblinka concentration camp guard, as well as the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey.


More Evidence on Operation Paperclip

But the report’s most incriminatory revelation, as highlighted by the New York Times, was its assessment of the Central Intelligence Agency’s association with Nazi émigrés.

Nazi’s, according to the report, were given a “safe haven” in the U.S. This isn’t really news to the many so-called conspiracy theorist that have been investigating activities related to Project Paperclip, however these documents finally provide conclusive and undeniable evidence that the U.S. government knowingly and willingly harbored known Nazi war criminals.

The investigators that produced the report discovered that some Nazis, “were indeed knowingly granted entry” into the United States, and that:

“America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became – in some small measure – a safe haven for persecutors as well.”

Alongside the numerous cases chronicled, describing American intelligence officials aiding and protecting Nazis, the report also disclosed that in 1954, the CIA provided help to Otto Von Bolschwing. Otto was an associate of Adolf Eichmenn, who had assisted the plan to “purge Germany of the Jews,” and who had later worked for the CIA in the United States.

Another shocking case highlighted by the report that implicates the CIA with Nazi war criminals was made in a memo written by the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, urging immigration officers to let the notorious Nazi scientist Arthur L. Rudolph back into the country.

The motivation behind his immigration in 1945 was to bring him to the U.S. to be involved in the rocket-making operation well-known as “Operation Paperclip”. The memo stated that a failure to let him in would be a “detriment to the country.”


The Cover-Up by the Justice Department

It does seem somewhat baffling that the Justice Department would attempt to keep such an important part of history a secret for so long, but as Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive said on the Archive’s website:

“Embarrassment suffered by public officials is the price they pay for power. It goes with the territory, but here, their cover-up is not nearly as bad as the crime, which was to shelter Nazi war criminals in the name of national security. This the public needs to know and has a right to know.”

In the wake of the accountability investigations for Holocaust victims, Elizabeth Holtman, former congresswoman and member of the IWG said in an interview with the New York Times:

“I think that the CIA has defied he law, and in so doing has also trivialised the holocaust, thumbed its nose at the survivors of the Holocaust and also at the Americans who gave their lives in the effort to defeat the Nazis in World War II.”

In light of the damning report, with content that has been kept secret for far too long, it is hardly surprising that the CIA is now developing an “ethical inventory”, as Kent Pekel, Special Adviser to the Deputy Secretary of State, said on the CIA website’s Need for Improvement article:

“Given our shared conviction that ethics is as much an organizational as a personal issue, the members of our working group decided that an ‘ethical inventory’ of the Agency’s operating culture might be useful in our effort to design a new Agency-wide program of ethics education.”

It is a sentiment that feels hollow and empty, given the nature of what the CIA has done. It also begs the important question, if it took so long for the truth about this activity to make it into the public domain – just how many other unethical activities are being hidden away in the deep, dark recesses of the Intelligence Community?

And if such actions could take place so long ago in the name of America, without the permission of Americans – what sort of practices are taking place today by the CIA without the oversight and consent of the American people?

References & Image Credits:

(1) GWU
(2) GWU

Originally published on

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