Operation Paperclip Casefile
- Dossier Compiled by Agent Orange (Fri, 08 Aug 1997)
After WWII ended in 1945, victorious Russian and American intelligence teams began a treasure hunt throughout occupied Germany for military and scientific booty. They were looking for things like new rocket and aircraft designs, medicines, and electronics. But they were also hunting down the most precious "spoils" of all: the scientists whose work had nearly won the war for Germany. The engineers and intelligence officers of the Nazi War Machine. The U.S. Military rounded up Nazi scientists and brought them to America. It had originally intended merely to debrief them and send them back to Germany. But when it realized the extent of the scientists knowledge and expertise, the War Department decided it would be a waste to send the scientists home. Following the discovery of flying discs (foo fighters), particle/laser beam weaponry in German military bases, the War Department decided that NASA and the CIA must control this technology, and the Nazi engineers that had worked on this technology. There was only one problem: it was illegal. U.S. law explicitly prohibited Nazi officials from immigrating to America--and as many as three-quarters of the scientists in question had been committed Nazis. Data-Points:
Convinced that German scientists could help America's postwar efforts, President Harry Truman agreed in September 1946 to authorize "Project Paperclip," a program to bring selected German scientists to work on America's behalf during the "Cold War" However, Truman expressly excluded anyone found "to have been a member of the Nazi party and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Naziism or militarism." The War Department's Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) conducted background investigations of the scientists. In February 1947, JIOA Director Bosquet Wev submitted the first set of scientists' dossiers to the State and Justice Departments for review. The Dossiers were damning. Samauel Klaus, the State Departments representative on the JIOA board, claimed that all the scientists in this first batch were "ardent Nazis." Their visa requests were denied.
Wev was furious. He wrote a memo warning that "the best interests of the United States have been subjugated to the efforts expended in 'beating a dead Nazi horse.'" He also declared that the return of these scientists to Germany, where they could be exploited by America's enemies, presented a "far greater security threat to this country than any former Nazi affiliations which they may have had or even any Nazi sympathies that they may still have." When the JIOA formed to investigate the backgrounds and form dossiers on the Nazis, the Nazi Intelligence leader Reinhard Gehlen met with the CIA director Allen Dulles. Dulles and Gehlen hit it off immediatly. Gehlen was a master spy for the Nazis and had infiltrated Russia with his vast Nazi Intelligence network. Dulles promised Gehlen that his Intelligence unit was safe in the CIA. Apparently, Wev decided to sidestep the problem. Dulles had the scientists dossier's re-written to eliminate incriminating evidence. As promised, Allen Dulles delivered the Nazi Intelligence unit to the CIA, which later opened many umbrella projects stemming from Nazi mad research. (MK-ULTRA / ARTICHOKE, OPERATION MIDNIGHT CLIMAX) Military Intelligence "cleansed" the files of Nazi references. By 1955, more than 760 German scientists had been granted citizenship in the U.S. and given prominent positions in the American scientific community. Many had been longtime members of the Nazi party and the Gestapo, had conducted experiments on humans at concentration camps, had used slave labor, and had committed other war crimes.
In a 1985 expose in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Linda Hunt wrote that she had examined more than 130 reports on Project Paperclip subjects--and every one "had been changed to eliminate the security threat classification." President Truman, who had explicitly ordered no committed Nazis to be admitted under Project Paperclip, was evidently never aware that his directive had been violated. State Department archives and the memoirs of officials from that era confirm this. In fact, according to Clare[nce] Lasby's book [Project] Paperclip, project officials "covered their designs with such secrecy that it bedeviled their own President; at Potsdam he denied their activities and undoubtedly enhanced Russian suspicion and distrust," quite possibly fueling the Cold War even further. A good example of how these dossiers were changed is the case of Wernher von Braun. A September 18, 1947, report on the German rocket scientist stated, "Subject is regarded as a potential security threat by the Military Governor." The following February, a new security evaluation of Von Braun said, "No derogatory information is available on the subject...It is the opinion of the Military Governor that he may not constitute a security threat to the United States." Here are a few of the 700 suspicious characters who were allowed to immigrate through Project Paperclip. ARTHUR RUDOLPH
During the war, Rudolph was operations director of the Mittelwerk factory at the Dora-Nordhausen concentration camps, where 20,000 workers died from beatings, hangings, and starvation. Rudolph had been a member of the Nazi party since 1931; a 1945 military file on him said simply: "100% Nazi, dangerous type, security threat..!! Suggest internment." But the JIOA's final dossier on him said there was "nothing in his records indicating that he was a war criminal or and ardent Nazi or otherwise objectionable." Rudolph became a US citizen and later designed the Saturn 5 rocket used in the Apollo moon landings. In 1984, when his war record was finally investigated, he fled to West Germany. WERNHER VON BRAUN
From 1937 to 1945, von Braun was the technical director of the Peenemunde rocket research center, where the V-2 rocket --which devastated England--was developed. As noted previously, his dossier was rewritten so he didn't appear to have been an enthusiastic Nazi. Von Braun worked on guided missiles for the U.S. Army and was later director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. He became a celebrity in the 1950s and early 1960s, as one of Walt Disney's experts on the "World of Tomorrow." In 1970, he became NASA's associate administrator. KURT BLOME
A high-ranking Nazi scientist, Blome told U.S. military interrogators in 1945 that he had been ordered 1943 to experiment with plague vaccines on concentration camp prisoners. He was tried at Nuremberg in 1947 on charges of practicing euthanasia (extermination of sick prisoners), and conducting experiments on humans. Although acquitted, his earlier admissions were well known, and it was generally accepted that he had indeed participated in the gruesome experiments. Two months after his Nuremberg acquittal, Blome was interviewed at Camp David, Maryland, about biological warfare. In 1951, he was hired by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps to work on chemical warfare. His file neglected to mention Nuremberg. MAJOR GENERAL WALTER SCHREIBER
According to Linda Hunt's article, the US military tribunal at Nuremberg heard evidence that "Schreiber had assigned doctors to experiment on concentration camp prisoners and had made funds available for such experimentation." The assistant prosecutor said the evidence would have convicted Schreiber if the Soviets, who held him from 1945 to 1948, had made him available for trial. Again, Schreiber's Paperclip file made no mention of this evidence; the project found work for him at the Air Force School of Medicine at Randolph Field in Texas. When columnist Drew Pearson publicized the Nuremberg evidence in 1952, the negative publicity led the JIOA, says Hunt, to arrange "a visa and a job for Schreiber in Argentina, where his daughter was living." On May 22, 1952, he was flown to Buenos Aires. HERMANN BECKER-FREYSING and SIEGFRIED RUFF
These two, along with Blome, were among the 23 defendants in the Nuremberg War Trials "Medical Case." Becker-Freysing was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for conducting experiments on Dachau inmates, such as starving them, then force-feeding them sea water that had been chemically altered to make it drinkable. Ruff was acquitted (in a close decision) on charges that he had killed as many as 80 Dachau inmates in a low-pressure chamber designed to simulate altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet. Before their trial, Becker-Freysing and Ruff were paid by the Army Air Force to write reports about their grotesque experiments. GENERAL REINHARD GEHLEN
It was five years after the end of WWII but one of Hitler's chief intelligence officers was still on the job. From a walled-in compound in Bavaria, General Reinhard Gehlen oversaw a vast network of intelligence agents spying on Russia. His top aides were Nazi zealots who had committed some of the most notorious crimes of the war. Gehlen and his SS united were hired, and swiftly became agents of the CIA when they revealed their massive records on the Soviet Union to the US. 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 four million Soviet prisoners. Prisoners who refused to cooperate were often tortured or summarily executed. May were executed even after they had given information, while others were simply left to starve to death. As a result, Gehlend and members of his organization maneuvered to make sure they were captured by advancing American troops rather than Russians, who would have executed them immediatly. Two months before Germany surrendered in 1945, the Gehlen organization made its move. "Gehlen and a small group of his most senior officers carefully microfilmed the vast holding on the USSR in the military section of the German army's general staff. They packed the film in watertight steel drums and secretly buried it in a remote mountain meadow scattered throughout the Austrian Alps. General William Donovan and Allen Dulles of the CIA were tipped off about Gehlen's surrender and his offer of Russian intelligence in exchange for a job. The CIA was soon jockeying with military intelligence for authority over Gehlen's microfilmed records--and control of the German spymaster. Dulles arranged for a private intelligence facility in West Germany to be established, and named it the Geheln Organization. Gehlen promised not to hire any former SS, SD, or Gestapo members; he hired them anyway, and the CIA did not stop him. Two of Gehlen's early recruits were Emil Augsburg and Dr. Franz Six, who had been part of mobile killing squads, which killed Jews, intellectuals, and Soviet partisans wherever they found them. Other early recruits included Willi Krichbaum, senior Gestapo leader for southeastern Europe, and the Gestapo chiefs of Paris and Kiel, Germany.
With the encouragement of the CIA, Gehlen Org (Licio Gelli) set up "rat lines" to get Nazi war criminals out of Europe so they wouldn't be prosecuted. By setting up transit camps and issuing phony passports, the Gehlen Org helped more than 5,000 Nazis leave Europe and relocate around the world, especially in South and Central America. There, mass murderers like Klaus Barbie (the butcher of Lyons) helped governments set up death squads in Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, and elsewhere.