Yes he did.
And these files end the claims of the holocaust deniers.
But we too have blood on our hands.
Files show Nazi criminals' U.S. intel role
By Thom J. Rose
Published 5/13/2004 6:51 PM
WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) -- Eight million pages of U.S. documents released Thursday reveal new evidence of U.S. intelligence agencies' close involvement with Nazi war criminals and indicate U.S. agents knew about Germany's plans for genocide sooner than thought.
The revelations have aroused debate about current U.S. intelligence practices and cast shadows over the record of U.S. officials who knew that Nazi Germany was rounding up and killing Jews by the millions but did little to stop it.
"As the world scrutinizes us today, we can hold up this project (to declassify the documents) and say we were willing to look at the worst and hold up the truth," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., at a National Archives news conference.
"We are confronted today with some of the very same questions and very same issues in intelligence gathering," Maloney added.
Several speakers, including historians who have studied the documents, connected intelligence considerations following World War II to current intelligence-gathering efforts in Iraq and elsewhere.
Timothy Naftali, a historian who and co-wrote "U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis" based on the contents of the documents made public Thursday, said using questionable sources to gain intelligence after World War II led to bad information and immoral behavior.
"Once you get involved with these (war criminals), even the minor ones, you're in trouble," Naftali said.
He went on to warn against employing former Iraqi intelligence agents to gather information for the United States.
"There is no reason to make the mistakes in Iraq that we made in Germany," Naftali said. "We did this once. Never, never again."
Naftali said the newly released records indicate five of Nazi Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann's associates, all Holocaust perpetrators, worked for the CIA after World War II.
In all, the CIA attempted to recruit 23 war criminals and former Nazis.
West German intelligence services, which were funded by the United States, employed almost 100 war criminals, Naftali said.
Employing ex-Nazis was not only morally problematic, but also proved highly impractical, Naftali said. Afraid their sordid histories might become public, ex-Nazi informants proved highly susceptible to blackmail -- many of them were eventually revealed to be double agents misleading Western intelligence for the Soviet Union.
The West German Gehlen Organization, which was headed by former Nazi officer Reinhard Gehlen, came in for significant scrutiny by the historians who had seen the documents.
Gerhard Weinberg, the chairman of the historical advisory panel that examined the documents, said the Gehlen Organization, which the United States supported, was so corrupt that "its major part in Eastern Europe was run from Moscow."
Naftali said the organization employed almost 100 war criminals, most of whom were very poor intelligence sources.
Norman Goda, another co-author of "U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis," said the records further show that U.S. intelligence agencies employed and protected a large number of Eastern European Nazi collaborators after the war, allowing them to live undisturbed in the United States in exchange for information about possible communist sympathies within Eastern European immigration communities.
Besides revealing U.S. intelligence connections to Nazi war criminals, the documents show U.S. intelligence knew about Nazi genocide earlier than thought.
The documents show that U.S. agents conducted in-depth interviews in 1941 and 1942 with Jews who had escaped Germany or German-occupied territories. Some of those interviews included details of Hitler's campaign to kill all European Jews.
Despite ample information from credible sources, the United States did not make an official statement that Germany was pursuing a policy of mass extermination until six months after the intelligence had been gathered.
Historian Richard Breitman said the documents show that U.S. intelligence was gathering a great deal of useful information, but "The significance of this information was not properly recognized or used either during the war or after."
Thursday's declassifications are the latest effort of the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, which has spent five years pursuing the release of documents relevant to World War II and its aftermath.
The effort was authorized by the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 and has been extended to allow one more year to seek additional documents about both the Pacific and European theaters of World War II.
Paul Shapiro, the director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and an adviser to the project, told United Press International the U.S. disclosure effort is one of the world's most comprehensive.
"Only the French under (President Jacques) Chirac have undertaken the same kind of massive declassification of documentation," Shapiro said.
He said the importance of Holocaust research and the openness required for it should not be underestimated.
"The relationship between that history and contemporary society is very direct," He said. "I think the implications of complicity and the implications of turning your head away in the face of genocide or in the face of crimes against humanity don't go away."
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