Paperclip Nazi scientists were highly sought—in particular by the air force and the CIA. They offered the scientists the opportunity to continue and expand their dark secret work under U.S. government auspices. Dr. Harry Armstrong, surgeon general of the U.S. Air Force, employed 58 Nazi doctors under Paperclip at the U.S. Army Air Forces Aero Medical Center. (Jacobsen 2014)
Clarence Lasby, author of Project Paperclip (1971) described the surreal exuberance among high level military officials about the prospect of the next war:
“as if in celebration of the achievement, Ordnance Colonel John A. Keck made the first public disclosure concerning the unique “war booty”. At a news conference in Paris, he spoke with pride about the capture and interrogation of twelve hundred “top-line” scientists, and told his audience of some of their most fantastic projects: a “sun-gun” that might harness the sun’s rays to demolish nations from a platform 5,100 miles in the sky; a cannon with a 400-foot barrel and a range of 82 miles; an apparatus that would fire rockets from under the sea… in his attempt to raise warfare to a new scientific plane, he offered a glance into the future. ‘These men of extremely practical and keen minds…were putting science ahead of nationality and volunteering to move to the United States and Britain to continue their work.”
Military and CIA officials were dazzled by Nazi technological accomplishments and by their ruthlessness. In public statements they declared them to be “chosen, rare minds whose continuing intellectual productivity we wish to use.”
“These specialists worked on guided missiles for the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. They worked in the NASA space program, in aeromedical research, in atomic, biological, and chemical warfare research, and on the latest designs in jet aircraft and submarines. They worked at nearly every military installation and for most key defense contractors across the country, and in all of those locations they had access to classified information.” (Hunt. Secret Agenda, 1991)
Operation Paperclip: The Secret US Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen, 2014 is a well- documented expose that avails itself of the declassified documents following the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 which opened access to some of American intelligence records, including the F.B.I., Army intelligence and C.I.A. files of German agents, scientists and war criminals. As Jacobsen’s book demonstrates, some of Hitler’s most sinister accomplices were recruited under Operation Paperclip. Their research methodology along with their ruthless disregard for the humanity of human subjects who were subjected to ghastly experiments, influenced cutting edge American research; in particular, covert, government-sponsored research.
Experiments conducted under the guidance of Nazi Paperclip scientists followed the experimental paradigm of the experiments conducted at Dachau, Auschwitz, and other death camps. Jacobsen’s book focuses on 22 high level scientists of whom at least 11 were doctors of medicine; 8 had worked side by side with Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, or Hermann Goring; 15 were dedicated members of the Nazi Party; 10 also joined the ultra-violent, Nazi paramilitary SS squad; two wore the Golden Party Badge presented by Hitler; six stood trial at Nuremberg, a seventh was mysteriously released; an eighth was tried in Dachau for war crimes; one was convicted of mass murder and slavery, but was granted clemency and hired by the U.S. Dept. of Energy. Many if not most of the Nazi recruits were initially judged by officials of the Departments of State and Justice as posing a threat to U.S. security. (See Jacobsen’s Rogue’s Gallery) Jacobsen indicates that many details about many additional projects initiated by the Nazi scientists who were flown into the U.S. remain classified.