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The BBC's Nick Bryant
"The released files contain over 3 million pages of background information"
 real 28k

Saturday, 28 April, 2001, 04:47 GMT 05:47 UK
CIA admits employing Nazis
Klaus Barbie
Klaus Barbie: Used by the CIA as an intelligence source
Files released by the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States have confirmed that World War II Nazi war criminals were employed by Western intelligence agencies.

However, the files dispel the widespread view that one of Hitler's closest allies, Gestapo chief Henrich Muller, survived World War II and went on to work for the CIA.


As a body, the real winners of the Cold War were Nazi criminals, many of whom were able to escape justice

Eli Rosenbaum, Justice Department
They show that Muller died in 1945, but that other former Nazi officers were employed by the CIA, in particular for their knowledge of the Soviet Union.

A US Justice Department spokesman, Eli Rosenbaum, said the files demonstrated that the real winners of the Cold War were Nazi war criminals.

Other declassified documents give more background information on key Nazi figures, and a report which suggests that Adolf Hitler's own doctor thought the Fuhrer was insane.

Mr Rosenbaum said many Nazi war criminals "were able to escape justice because East and West became so rapidly focused after the war on challenging each other that they lost their will to pursue Nazi persecutors".

Adolf Hitler
Hitler's doctor predicted he would become the world's craziest criminal
He deplored the CIA's use as intelligence sources of war criminals such as Klaus Barbie, the infamous "Butcher of Lyon".

Barbie was eventually convicted of crimes against humanity by a French court.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles, a Jewish human rights organisation, said the publication of the CIA material was "long overdue".

One CIA document says that in 1937, Hitler's doctor thought he noticed growing signs of insanity in the Nazi leader before the start of World War II, and predicted he could become "the craziest criminal the world ever saw".

Later that year, the doctor said "the swing towards insanity" seemed to have taken place.

Waldheim 'not a CIA source'

The files also shed light on former United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, finding that he was not among CIA sources, as had been suspected by some historians.

Mr Waldheim, a former president of Austria, was barred from entering the US in 1987 after an investigation of his wartime activities as a German army lieutenant in the Balkans.

The file on Mr Waldheim suggests that the CIA knew little about him and that neither the US State Department nor other government agencies that had an interest in his appointment to the UN asked for a background check on him when he was a candidate for the job.

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See also:

28 Apr 01 | Europe
Neo-Nazis on the rise in Germany
18 Feb 99 | Europe
Nazis 'swindled' Red Cross
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