Major General Reinhard Gehlen was the brutal spymaster who headed Hitler’s Intelligence operations in the Eastern Front where he organized guerrilla units made up of right-wing groups of anti-Soviet Ukrainians and other Slavic nationalists to fight the Soviets. He was also responsible for torturous interrogation of Soviet prisoners of war; Gehlen and his agents had committed some of the most notorious crimes of the war: they murdered, tortured, executed, or starved some four million Soviet prisoners. Gehlen met with Bill Donovan and Allen Dulles and they were duly impressed with his expertise; they hired him as head of U.S. anti-Communist intelligence stationed in West Germany. Gehlen brought with him his network of former Nazi intelligence agents, and hired former Gestapo, SS or SD members putting them on CIA’s payroll.
Gehlen’s recruits included Dr. Franz Six and Emil Augsburg who had been members of an SS mobile Death’s Head killing squad that hunted down Soviet Jews, intellectuals and partisans wherever they could find them. Gehlen also recruited the former Gestapo chiefs of Paris and Kiel, Germany. The Third Reich’s plan—which Gehlen never renounced—was to colonize vast regions of Eastern Russia who were deemed “racially inferior Slavs” to be used as slaves. He brought his so-called “Gehlen Organization” seamlessly and unpurged into the service of U.S. intelligence (as the West German BND). But as the CIA acknowledges in its own telling of its history, Forging an Intelligence Partnership: CIA and the Origins of the BND, 1945-1949, that partnership was a “double edged sword” because the BND “suffered devastating penetrations by the KGB.” (National Security Archive. CIA and Nazi War Criminals, 2005)
New York Times reporter, Eric Lichtblau reported (2014) that newly declassified government documents show that “in the decades after World War II, the CIA and other intelligence agencies employed at least a thousand Nazis as spies and informants and, as recently as the 1990s, concealed the government’s ties to some still living in America, newly disclosed records and interviews show.”
U.S. intelligence officials – FBI’s J.Edgar Hoover, CIA’s Allen Dulles aggressively recruited Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets” regardless of their war crimes – including, for example, Aleksandras Lileikis, an ex-spy living in Boston who was implicated in the machine-gun massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania – whom the CIA harbored. Recent revelations show that FBI and CIA officials sought to conceal those ties for at least a half-century after the war – even refusing to divulge to the Justice Department its ties to some 16 spies still living in America.
“Otto von Bolschwing, an SS officer, was a mentor and top aide to Adolf Eichmann, architect of the “Final Solution,” and wrote policy papers on how to terrorize Jews. Yet after the war, the C.I.A. not only hired him as a spy in Europe, but relocated him and his family to New York City in 1954, records show. The move was seen as a “a reward for his loyal postwar service and in view of the innocuousness of his [Nazi] party activities.”
His son, Gus von Bolschwing, who learned many years later of his father’s ties to the Nazis, sees the relationship between the spy agency and his father as one of mutual convenience forged by the Cold War.
“They used him, and he used them,” Gus von Bolschwing, now 75, said in an interview. “It shouldn’t have happened. He never should have been admitted to the United States. It wasn’t consistent with our values as a country.”
The declassified security reviews further show that “many of the Nazi spies proved inept or worse. Some were deemed habitual liars, confidence men or embezzlers, and a few even turned out to be Soviet double agents.” (Lichtblau. In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis, The New York Times, Oct, 2014)