Knew Where Eichmann Was Hiding,
June 7, 2006
June 6 -- The Central Intelligence Agency took no action
after learning the pseudonym and whereabouts of the
fugitive Holocaust administrator Adolf Eichmann in 1958,
according to C.I.A. documents released yesterday that
shed new light on the spy agency's use of former Nazis as
informants after World War II.
was told by West German intelligence that Eichmann was
living in Argentina under the name Clemens --a slight
variation on his actual alias, Ricardo Klement-- but did
not share the information with Israel, which had been
hunting for him for years, according to Timothy Naftali,
a historian who examined the documents. Two years later,
Israeli agents abducted Eichmann in Argentina and flew
him to Israel, where he was tried and executed in
The Eichmann papers are among 27,000 newly declassified
pages released by the C.I.A. to the National Archives
under Congressional pressure to make public files about
former officials of Hitler's regime later used as
American agents. The material reinforces the view that
most former Nazis gave American intelligence little of
value and in some cases proved to be damaging double
agents for the Soviet K.G.B., according to historians and
members of the government panel that has worked to open
the long-secret files.
C.I.A. found out in 1958 that Adolf Eichmann was
living in Argentina,
but took no action.
Holtzman, a former congresswoman from New York and member
of the panel, the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial
Government Records Interagency Working Group, said the
documents showed that the C.I.A "failed to lift a finger"
to hunt Eichmann and "force us to confront not only the
moral harm but the practical harm" of relying on
intelligence from ex-Nazis.
States government, preoccupied with the cold war, had no
policy at the time of pursuing Nazi war criminals. The
records also show that American intelligence officials
protected many former Nazis for their perceived value in
combating the Soviet threat.
Holtzman, speaking at a news briefing at the National
Archives on Tuesday, said information from the former
Nazis was often tainted both by their "personal agendas"
and their vulnerability to blackmail. "Using bad people
can have very bad consequences," Ms. Holtzman said. She
and other group members suggested that the findings
should be a cautionary tale for intelligence agencies
As head of
the Gestapo's Jewish affairs office during the war,
Eichmann put into effect the policy of extermination of
European Jewry, promoting the use of gas chambers and
having a hand in the murder of millions of Jews. Captured
by the United States Army at the end of the war, he gave
a false name and went unrecognized, hiding in Germany and
Italy before fleeing to Argentina in 1950.
agents hunting for Eichmann came to suspect that he was
in Argentina but did not know his alias. They temporarily
abandoned their search around the time, in March 1958,
that West German intelligence told the C.I.A. that
Eichmann had been living in Argentina as Clemens, said
Mr. Naftali, of the University of
German government was wary of exposing Eichmann because
officials feared what he might reveal about such figures
as Hans Globke, a former Nazi government official then
serving as a top national security adviser to Chancellor
Konrad Adenauer, Mr. Naftali said.
In 1960, also
at the request of West Germany, the C.I.A. persuaded Life
magazine, which had purchased Eichmann's memoir from his
family, to delete a reference to Mr. Globke before
publication, the documents show.
in view of the information the C.I.A. received in 1958,
documents previously released by the C.I.A. showed that
it was surprised in May 1960 when the Israelis captured
Eichmann. Cables from the time show that Allen Dulles,
the C.I.A. director, demanded that officers find out more
about the capture.
Congress passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act in
1998, the Interagency Working Group has worked to
declassify more than eight million pages of
Norman J. W.
Goda, an Ohio University historian who reviewed the
C.I.A. material, said it showed in greater detail than
previously known how the K.G.B. aggressively recruited
former Nazi intelligence officers after the war. In
particular, he said, the documents fill in the story of
the "catastrophic" Soviet penetration of the Gehlen
Organization, the postwar West German intelligence
service sponsored by the United States Army and then the
described the case of Heinz Felfe, a former SS officer
who was bitter over the Allied firebombing of his native
city, Dresden, and secretly worked for the K.G.B. Mr.
Felfe rose in the Gehlen Organization to oversee
counterintelligence, a Soviet agent placed in charge of
combating Soviet espionage.
shared much sensitive information with Mr. Felfe, Mr.
Goda found. A newly released 1963 C.I.A. damage
assessment, written after Mr. Felfe was arrested as a
Soviet agent in 1961, found that he had exposed "over 100
C.I.A. staffers" and caused many eavesdropping operations
to end with "complete failure or a worthless
also provide new information about the case of Tscherim
Soobzokov, a former SS officer who was the subject of a
much-publicized deportation case in 1979 when he was
living as an American citizen in Paterson, N.J. He was
charged with having falsified his immigration application
to conceal his SS service, which ordinarily would have
barred his entry. But the charge was dropped when a
C.I.A. document turned up showing that he had disclosed
his SS membership.
declassified records show that he was employed by the
C.I.A. from 1952 to 1959 despite "clear evidence of a war
crimes record," said another historian at the briefing,
Richard Breitman of American University.
valued Mr. Soobzokov for his language skills and ties to
fellow ethnic Circassians living in the Soviet Union, the
C.I.A. deliberately hid details of his Nazi record from
the Immigration and Naturalization Service after he moved
to the United States in 1955, Mr. Breitman
Soobzokov ultimately did not escape his past. He died in
1985 after a pipe bomb exploded outside his house. The
case has never been solved.