Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The CIA and the Nazis

This just in today and pretty interesting:

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - President Bush on Friday signed a bill giving a government group more time to declassify secrets about former Nazi war criminals hired by the CIA after World War 2.

The measure gives the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group until March 2007 to make the documents public. Otherwise, the group's mandate would have expired this month.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the bill's House sponsor, said it had been 10 years since she first proposed legislation seeking information about the U.S. government's involvement with former Nazis, and it was time to finish the job.

``History, and the memory of the millions who perished in the Holocaust, deserve nothing less than full disclosure,'' Maloney said when the bill passed the House earlier this month, sending it on to the president.

Her bill led to a 1998 public disclosure law that required the release of all U.S. government papers related to the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes. So far, more than 8 million pages of documents have been brought to light, including 1.25 million from the CIA.

This information revealed for the first time that the CIA and its predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, had sought former Nazi officials to provide expertise on the former Soviet Union during the Cold War.

For example, the documents revealed that German Gen. Reinhard Gehlen, who served as one of Adolf Hitler's most senior military intelligence officers during World War II, later became a key U.S. intelligence resource after the war, Maloney said.

However, until an agreement reached last month, the CIA had refused to give up specific information about what the former Nazis it hired did for the United States. The agency had also refused to provide information on former Nazi SS officers who worked for the CIA.

The agency is now ready to release this information. This bill gives the working group two more years to make the documents public.

The bill is S.384.

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