CIA used former Nazi war criminals as spies
The National Archives has declassified thousands of pages on CIA, especially pertaining to its use of Nazi war criminals as spies.Updated: Jun 07, 2006 22:44 IST
At the height of Cold War, the CIA kept under tight wraps the whereabouts of some Nazi war criminals fearing they might expose former Nazis who were being used by US as undercover agents as also its anti- communist activities in West Germany, declassified documents reveal.
The National Archives has declassified thousands of pages on Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), especially pertaining to its use of Nazi war criminals as spies.
According to the papers, CIA did not act upon information given by German intelligence in 1950s that Adolf Eichman, who helped move Jews to death camps, was hiding in Argentina.
In a 1958 memo to the CIA, West German intelligence said they knew where Eichmann was hiding. "He is reported to have lived in Argentina under the alias 'Clemens' since 1952," the German officials wrote.
The information was not acted upon, as CIA was particularly worried that Eichman may say something about Hans Globke, a one-time highly placed Nazi and chief advisor in West Germany who was coordinating with Washington on the anti-communist activities.
When Eichman was finally tracked down and captured by Jewish authorities, the CIA is said to have pressured journalists into omitting references to Glokbe.
"Entire material has been read. One obscure mention of Globke which Life omitting at our request," CIA Director Allen Dulles wrote in a 1960 internal memorandum, after Life magazine purchased Eichmann's memoir.
The release of the documents--some 27,000 pages--is under a 1999 law that required US government to disclose records relating to war crimes by the Nazis and the Japanese authorities. The Japanese part of the war crimes is expected to be made public sometime this summer.
The CIA has routinely resisted de-classification of such documents.
Prominent among other findings from the documents made public now is that officials of the CIA routinely misled US Immigration authorities in the mid-1970s about the Nazi war crimes activities of Tscherim Soobsokov, who was a CIA agent.
Experts and scholars, however, maintain that use of former Nazis as spies had the opposite or detrimental effects.
The war criminals "peddled hearsay and gossip, whether to escape retribution for past crimes, or for mercenary gain, or for political agendas not necessarily compatible with American national interests," said Robert Wolfe, an expert on German history and former archivist at the National Archives.
First Published: Jun 07, 2006 22:05 IST