- COLLEGE PARK, Md.
(UPI) - The Central Intelligence Agency has for the first time confirmed
that a high-ranking Nazi general placed his anti-Soviet spy ring at the
disposal of the United States during the early days of the Cold War.
- The National Archives said in a release Wednesday that
the CIA had filed an affidavit in U.S. District Court "acknowledging
an intelligence relationship with German General Reinhard Gehlen that it
has kept secret for 50 years."
- "The CIA's announcement marks the first acknowledgement
by that agency that it had any relationship with Gehlen and opens the way
for declassification of records about the relationship," the National
- Gehlen was Hitler's senior intelligence officer on the
Eastern Front during the war and transferred his expertise and contacts
to the U.S. as World War II reached its climax. While Gehlen's relationship
with U.S. intelligence during the 1940s and 1950s has been the topic of
some five books over the years, the eventual release of CIA documents pertaining
to the development of his European spy ring could shed new light on the
origins of the Cold War and early U.S. espionage efforts against Moscow.
- Gehlen's network of agents in Europe - including many
with Nazi backgrounds who were bailed out of prisoner of war camps by U.S.
intelligence officers - was known as the Gehlen Organization and received
millions of dollars in funding from the U.S. until 1956.
- The CIA's acknowledgement of its dealings with Gehlen
came in a response to an appeal of a Freedom of Information Act request
by researcher Carl Oglesby, the National Archives said. The agency pledged
to release its records on the general in accordance with the Nazi War Crimes
- The Act established the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency
Working Group (IWG), which for more than two years has been declassifying
documents related to World War II war crimes and releasing them through
the National Archives.
- "This shows that the law is working," said
former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, a member of the IWG. "We now must
work closely with the Agency to follow through with the release of these
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