West German spy service employed former Nazis, documents show
March 22, 2010 1 Comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
West Germany’s intelligence service employed hundreds of former Nazi criminals from 1956 until at least 1971, according to internal documents. The links between the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), the main foreign intelligence agency of the German government, and the remnants of the German Nazi party, are well known; even its first director, Reinhard Gehlen, was a former General of the Wehrmacht. But documents dating to the 1960s, which were leaked last week to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, show that Gehlen, who worked as a CIA agent after 1945, was aware of his officers’ Nazi past, as were his American counterparts. The Nazi connections were internally revealed in detail after 1963, when Gehlen set up an internal BND investigation office, called Unit 85, to unmask potential Soviet moles inside the agency. Along with a number of Soviet moles, the unit, whose activities were kept secret, produced histories of over 200 BND agents, detailing, among other things, their participation in massacres against civilians in Russia, Poland, and the Balkans. In one case, a BND officer’s Einsatzkommando unit killed nearly 2000 civilians in one day, in a forested area in Palmiry, Poland. In another case, an officer’s SS unit was believed to have been responsible for killing 24,000 civilians in Belarus, Soviet Union. The BND is currently preparing an official history of its internal activities and operations since 1956. The agency has not disclosed whether it intends to come clean about its Nazi-linked officers.