In a story with implications about the public's easy acceptance of handing over unprecedented and widespread powers to our intelligence agencies, Eric Lichtblau
, of the New York Times
, reports that In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis,
and continued to conceal documents and evidence proving the extent of collaboration with Nazi's even into the 1990s. This report suggests the CIA and FBI has continue to conceal knowledge of the extent of such activities even until today, as some are still living in the U.S., or this story would not headline news.
We've heard many such reports going back to even the 1960, however, this report indicates the magnitude and duration of such deceptions was far greater and longer than previously suggested provide timely additional proof that Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees are not up to the task of controlling our vastly expanded and sprawling intelligence agencies in their deceptions of Congress, each other, and the public.
At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited onetime Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich.
The agency hired one former SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor war crimes.”
Well gee whiz, if they were only "minor war crimes," ... what are a few minor war crimes between fellow spies? (Snark alert.) Or should we ask, "what are a few 'minor moral lapses between fellow war criminals?"
Except, in the case of Aleksandras Lileikis, his "minor war crime" was major involvement with machine gun massacres of 60,000 Jews in Lithuania which some in the C.I.A. were concerned might be considered a "moral impediment." But not of sufficient magnitude to prevent a mutually beneficial relationship including help immigrating to the U.S.. as a "reward for services, or to prevent the C.I.A. from pressuring prosecutors to drop an investigation into his activities according to one source. I guess after the fire bombing of Dresden and dropping nuclear bombs on the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this might seem of lessor concern.
In another case the offered the reasoning for suppressing disclosure including the worn out refrain of “protecting the confidentiality of such sources of information to the fullest possible extent.” Although this may sound absurd in this case as World War II was over 60 year ago, I presume the concern is that if someone in the future ever invents a time machine, they could go back in time and "spill the beans." (Snark alert!) This would be consistent with the F.B.I. current policy of insisting that there be no time limits what-so-ever in National Security Letters. I can think of no other more plausible reason that makes sense. Other than perhaps protecting the agencies against embarrassment and public awareness of how recurring the themes of corruption, abuse of power, and secrecy traveling together are in our history.
In 1968, Mr. Hoover authorized the F.B.I. to wiretap a left-wing journalist who wrote critical stories about Nazis in America, internal records show. Mr. Hoover declared the journalist, Charles Allen, a potential threat to national security. ...
John Fox, the bureau’s chief historian, said: “In hindsight, it is clear that Hoover, and by extension the F.B.I., was shortsighted in dismissing evidence of ties between recent German and East European immigrants and Nazi war crimes. It should be remembered, though, that this was at the peak of Cold War tensions.”
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. A principle we should keep in mind as our political leaders sweep aside constitutional protections at the "peak of tensions in the 'war on terror.'". Those who seek security over individual freedoms will always find some urgent rational to justify their transgressions.
It turns out that many of these Nazi collaborators turned out to be incompetent, or "even worse, ... habitual liars, confidence men or embezzlers, and a few even turned out to be Soviet double agents, the records show."
I'm shocked, truly shocked to discover former major Nazi war criminals were not up to the high moral standards of the C.I.A. and F.B.I. Once observer noted admitting such men to our country was not "consistent with our values as a country.”
Sadly, and with foreboding with regard to the current Patriot Act extensions, such actions were completely consistent with our values as a country and if we do not wake up, realize this, and reign in sweeping expansions of government secrecy and the role back of 4th Amendment and other constitutional role backs we may never even learn of future transgressions.
Mr. Breitman said the morality of recruiting ex-Nazis was rarely considered. “This all stemmed from a kind of panic, a fear that the Communists were terribly powerful and we had so few assets,” he said.
Using fear of nefarious, urgent, outside threats is such a common tactic of government control, even Mao Tse Tung's Red Book provides explicit instructions of how to manufacture fear to whip populations into control.
Just consider the "magnitude of our current" terror about terrorism. Over a decade ago we lost over 3,500 people in the twin terror attacks and became so terrorized expanded military spending by trillions, overrode 4th Amendment and other constitutional guarantees, and authorized unprecedented domestic surveillance.
Yet, 25,000 a year die of anti-biotic resistant diseases, half a million a year from heart disease and cancer, more than 30,000 in auto accidents and we accept these risks as a normal part of life in a complicated world.
Show a picture of a member of the Islamic State decapitating a journalist and we are ready to give our government free reign to do anything they need to do to protect us, and many are even willing to give them carte blanc to send troops back into Iraq for another war.
Perhaps, we should think about this some more.