Crooks In Action, Cocaine Import Agency… supply your favorite definition for this alphabet agency. To be fair, the Agency must do good work too, but as practically everything the Agency does is secret, we will likely never get a fair and full reporting of it. What do the roughly 17,000 employees of the Agency do with the roughly $44-$48 Billion annual and unaccountable budget allocated to it? Like most things associated with the Agency, we know nothing about it… but, if little else, we do know about the history and development of the Agency, and through disclosures of groups like the IWG, we also know of aspects of its development, like the little-publicized incorporating of the Nazi establishment into the Agency for effectiveness’ sake. Let’s have a look.
We will have to go back to the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), also known as the SSU (Strategic Services Unit), the forerunner of the CIA, and to its roots. On July 11, 1941, Colonel William Donovan (also a CFR member), at the request of FDR, created a plan for an intelligence agency, the first independent one in US history, modelled upon the English MI6, called at first the office of Coordinator of Information (COI, of which Donovan was Director), which later became the OSS. According to the IWG (International Working Group) created in the US in 1998 and charged with locating and making public Nazi war crimes documents, one of the first significant efforts the nascent intelligence organization undertook was toward the end of WWII. Before the Cold War with Russia started to manifest, before the formal creation of the CIA in 1947, the OSS felt it necessary to act in advance of developments in Russia. Having no network in place there, they allied themselves with those who had the knowledge--- the Nazis. The prime operative’s name was Reinhard Gehlen.
Beginning in April of 1942, Gehlen was director of German Armies East, Nazi Germany’s intelligence corps within occupied Soviet land. According to IWG documents, “Working immediately after the war with Army Intelligence, the Gehlen Organization (now independent) became the responsibility of the CIA… (o)ne document released by the IWG on June 26, 2000, shows an early connection between the SSU and Gehlen’s group. The SSU searched for members of Gehlen’s organization in POW camps and extensively interrogated them. As the Cold War developed in 1946, American intelligence officials found themselves lacking recent experience with Soviet intelligence activities and decided to use German experts on the Soviet Union--- even though some may have been war criminals.” As documents show, Gehlen and his associates did take part in “planning or carrying out Nazi enterprises involving or resulting in atrocities or war crimes.” His position in US intelligence operations was known as the “Gehlen Org”, and came to include many Gestapo and SS figures--- all a matter of record. Under stipulations of the Nuremburg Trials, US intelligence was to have arrested these very people (the Soviets were aware of all of this, and thought it meant that the US intended to overthrow the Soviet government and replace it with backers of the Nazis). The IWG stated, “Thus, the US reinstated in Germany the apparatus that had planned and carried out Nazi foreign operations during the World War.” According to Martin Lee in an article for the San Francisco Bay Guardian called “The CIA’s Worst Kept Secret”, “Although the Yalta Treaty stipulated that the United States must give the Soviets all captured German officers who had been involved in ‘eastern area activities’, Gehlen was quickly spirited off to Fort Hunt, VA.”
According to Dr. Christopher Simpson in his book, “Blowback”, which details the merger of the CIA and the Nazis, “The slaughter that followed the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 is without equal in human history… the most terrible crimes of the entire war took place in the name of anticommunism in the German-occupied territories on the eastern front. Civilian casualties in these areas were so enormous, so continuous and so extreme that even counting the dead has proved impossible… (t)he evidence indicates that between 3 and 4 million captured Soviet soldiers were intentionally starved to death in German POW camps between 1941 and 1944. About 1.3 million Jews were exterminated… (t)he generally accepted figure for all Soviet war dead is 20 million human beings--- about 15 percent of the country at the time--- but the destruction was so vast that even this number can only be an educated guess.” Gehlen and his organization came up with a secondary plan for Nazi POWs--- according to Simpson, “Gehlen derived much of his information from his role in one of the most terrible atrocities of the war: the torture, interrogation and murder by starvation of some 4 million Soviet prisoners of war… (t)rue, Gehlen’s men did not personally administer the starvation camps, nor are they known to have served in the execution squads. Such tasks were left to the SS, whose efficiency in such matters is well known. Instead, Gehlen’s men were in a sense like scientists who skimmed off the information that rose to the surface of these pestilent camps.” They planned like Eichmann and collected information like Mengele. “At least a half dozen of his first staff of 50 officers were SS or SD men…”, which extended his influence to much of Eastern Europe, where he was horribly effective. In incorporating Gehlen and his organization, US intelligence was supplied with an effective working network in Europe. Gehlen was a major player, and one to be cultivated. Which he was.
General Siebert, who was then the military intelligence chief for the US occupation zone in Germany, was a strong supporter of the use of Gehlen and his organization. To quote Simpson, “It is after all the job of any professional intelligence officer to learn anything there is to know about the groups on his payroll that might reveal their loyalty. General Siebert who by then had become the leading American sponsor of the Gehlen organization had not gotten to be chief of US Army intelligence in Germany by being naïve.” Another staunch supporter of using the Gehlen organization was Allen Dulles, famous for his intelligence capability, who would later become Director of the CIA. Apart from these two people, others charged with incorporating the Gehlen Org into the CIA were Richard Helms and William Casey, both later to become Directors of the CIA as well. It is completely incomprehensible that these men did not know of the work of Gehlen and his organization. Professor Simpson, quoted above, is a member of the Historical Advisory Panel of the IWG, and a noted authority on this history. Under the now-well-known “Operation Paperclip” many Nazis were brought to the US for the sake of the roles they might play in the efforts of our government, in spite of treaty and law, with only a small part of them identified and prosecuted by a couple of capable and determined members of the IWG, Elizabeth Holtzman and Eli Rosenbaum (the remainder of IWG members, numbering five and representing the State Department and the intelligence community, have apparently contributed little but obstruction to these efforts). An outstanding treatment of the actual, detailed history of the CIA--- revealing that much of the activity of the Agency has been kept secret not to avoid compromising national security, but rather to not show the Agency to be hamstrung by internal conflict, ineffectiveness, incompetence and even likely thievery (all due to no true oversight, in spite of the ineffectual President’s Intelligence Oversight Board, created of civilians by Ford for this very purpose, and made permanent by Reagan in 1981 by Executive Order) --- is “Legacy of Ashes”, by Tim Weiner, with the title derived from Eisenhower’s assessment of the failure of the Agency in covert and intelligence operations, given to Director Dulles upon Ike’s leaving the Presidency: “Nothing has changed since Pearl Harbor. I leave a legacy of ashes to my successor.”