CIA Nazi Files Released

Some 27,000 pages of Central Intelligence Agency records regarding operational relationships between the CIA and former Nazis following World War II were disclosed yesterday 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, is chaired by former Information Security Oversight Office Director Steven Garfinkel.

The latest release almost failed to occur due to CIA recalcitrance.

“In 2002, the CIA declared that it was no longer going to follow the criteria observed since 1999 for all the participating agencies in the IWG declassification project [and that] henceforth it would produce files relating only to individuals whom we could prove had personally engaged in war crimes,” recalled IWG member Richard Ben-Veniste (pdf).

“For 18 months the IWG tried to persuade CIA that its unilateral redefinition of its obligation was erroneous and unacceptable,” he said.

This obstacle was eventually overcome thanks to the intervention of the sponsors of the original legislation — Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) — and the effective support of Porter Goss, who had just become the new CIA Director.

CIA spokesman Stanley Moskowitz said (pdf) the Agency was now committed to full disclosure regarding the historical record of CIA’s connections to Nazis.

He said that when the declassification process is completed at the end of this year, “we will have withheld nothing of substance.”

(Mr. Moskowitz himself was once the object of unwanted disclosure when, to the dismay of Agency officials, he was publicly identified as the CIA station chief in Tel Aviv. See “CIA Station Chief in Israel Unmasked,” Secrecy & Government Bulletin, Issue 75, November 1998.)

“The relevance of today’s disclosures [on Nazi war crimes] to the issues this Nation faces today is striking,” suggested IWG member Thomas H. Baer (pdf).

The question the documents raise, he said, is: “To what extent, and under what circumstances, can our Government rely upon intelligence supplied by mass murderers and those complicit in their crimes?”

Initial assessments of the new disclosures were prepared by four historians for the Interagency Working Group, each of which includes several of the newly declassified documents. See:

“New Information on Cold War CIA Stay-Behind Operations in Germany and on the Adolf Eichmann Case” (pdf) by Timothy Naftali, University of Virginia.

“Gustav Hilger: From Hitler’s Foreign Office to CIA Consultant” (pdf) by Robert Wolfe, former archivist at the U.S. National Archives.

“Tscherim Soobzokov” (pdf) by Richard Breitman, American University.

“CIA Files Relating to Heinz Felfe, SS Officer and KGB Spy” (pdf) by Norman J.W. Goda, Ohio University.

For more information, consult the Interagency Working Group on Nazi War Crimes.

No Responses to “CIA Nazi Files Released”

  1. K June 8, 2006 at 6:20 AM #

    Stan Moskowitz deserves a lot of credit for the Nazi records release, which he managed to accomplish despite a lot of opposition from a directorate which shall not be named. His position was that, not only were the records 50 years old, but most of the people mentioned in them were Nazis for god’s sake. What and why should we still be protecting? Obviously he prevailed, but last I knew, it was still nip and tuck.

  2. B July 1, 2006 at 5:52 PM #

    Stan Moskowitz pursued this like he did every other assignment in his lifetime of service to America, to preserve and protect our freedom while honoring the democratic traditions of a government which we can trust and be proud of. He conducted his lifetime of service within the constraints of the ethical and moral princials which set us apart from those who wish us harm. Sadly, he passed away this week, on June 29. A person with immense dignity and character, he will be missed by freedom loving people in all parts of the world.

  3. steve June 25, 2008 at 4:32 PM #

    How come this is not more of a story in the mainstream? There has been so much covered up regarding the use of former Nazi’s in our government yet we as a nation continue to blast the Nazi Regime to this day. Seems to me one should not throw stones when they reside in a glass house. If the public was made aware of the shenanigans and lengths at which our government lies, we might get some answers and make some changes for the good. Thanks Dan for your tireless efforts to help expose the truth!

  4. Adam September 30, 2010 at 3:54 PM #

    I know the above poster probably will never read this reply, but for those just reading this, I post this for your consideration.

    “How come this is not more of a story in the mainstream?”

    Operation Mockingbird (or whatever name the CIA uses for it now) is most likely why this is not in the mainstream.

    More info