Report: CIA Protected 1,000 Ex-Nazis It Hired As Cold War Spies

October 27, 2014 7:02 a.m.

The CIA and other U.S. agencies hired at least 1,000 ex-Nazis to serve as spies during the Cold War and took pains to conceal the suspected war crimes of those informants living in America, according to a New York Times report published Monday.

From the report, which was adapted from author Eric Lichtblau’s forthcoming book “The Nazis Next Door: How America Became A Safe Haven For Hitler’s Men:”

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.

Richard Breitman, a Holocaust scholar who declassified war-crime records, put the number of ex-Nazis and collaborators used as spies by U.S. agencies at more than 1,000. Those spies included one former SS officer whom the CIA acknowledged was probably guilty of “minor war crimes” and another one-time Nazi implicated in the massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania during World War II, according to the report.

The CIA even provided for one top aide to high-ranking Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who implemented the “Final Solution,” to immigrate to the U.S. with his family in the 1950s as “a reward for his loyal postwar service and in view of the innocuousness of his [Nazi] party activities,” according to the report.

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Separately, an Associated Press investigation revealed last week that dozens of suspected Nazis received millions of dollars in Social Security payments after being expelled from the United States.

Read the whole New York Times report here.

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