Interagency Working Group (IWG)

CIA Intends to Release Records on Cold War Spymaster

May 13, 2004

College Park, MD... The declassified files described below relate primarily to Nazi war crimes and war criminals. Very few of the records released today relate to Japanese war crimes and war criminals. The newly-opened files are available at the National Archives at College Park, MD. Lists of the files are accessible at at the Declassified Records page under the applicable Record Group. The files described below are only the latest in a series of releases under the Disclosure Acts. On previous occasions the IWG announced the release of other intelligence, military, and diplomatic files amounting to nearly 8 million pages. Past releases included nearly all of the remaining 1.2 million pages of Office of Strategic Services files, State Department files relating to Nazi gold and stolen assets, and Army war criminal dossiers, among many other subjects.

  • FBI Files related to WWII crimes located and declassified under the Disclosure Acts. These materials consist of approximately 240,000 pages of original FBI files found in categories such as espionage, foreign counterintelligence, domestic security, and treason. Among files of note are those dealing with investigations of post-war émigré Nazis from Eastern Europe whom the government cultivated as anti-communist sources and files describing instances of FBI support for their U.S. citizenship, even when opposed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. These files provide new insight into the activities of Nazi collaborators who had murdered Jews and members of other ethnic groups before relocating to the United States. The files also include information on how U.S. corporations profited from operations instigated by and supportive of the Third Reich. The files are in Record Group 65.

  • CIA Name Files and Subject Files compiled by the Central Intelligence Agency in response to the Disclosure Acts. These files are comprised of documentation from several CIA filing systems and organized under the names of 788 individuals and subjects found in response to many thousands of search terms and subject matter guidance provided to the Agency by the IWG. 419 of the files are newly opened; 369 of the files were opened by the IWG during the last three years. The approximately 60,000 pages of material provide information on wartime crimes; the post-war search for, contact with, and intelligence use of war criminals and Nazi collaborators; and new information on the workings of U.S. intelligence during the early Cold War. The files are in Record Group 263.

  • The U.S. Army "Gehlen Organization" and "Operation Rusty" Files are Counter-intelligence Corps (CIC) dossiers from the Intelligence and Security Command's (INSCOM) Investigative Records Repository (IRR) documenting the Army's involvement with German Spymaster General Reinhard Gehlen. The files contain more than 3,000 pages and cover the period 1945 through the mid 1950's. The Gehlen Organization was West Germany's intelligence organization prior to the establishment of the independent West German Government when it became the Federal Intelligence Service (BND).

Gehlen, who had served as Hitler's most senior military intelligence officer on the Eastern Front, was a Wehrmacht officer who became a key U.S. intelligence resource after the war. During the postwar period he ran an extensive network of spies, some with Nazi and collaborationist backgrounds that made them vulnerable to the principal adversary, the Soviet Union. The Gehlen Organization purportedly received millions in U.S. funding.

In October 2000, the Central Intelligence Agency filed an affidavit in a Freedom of Information Act case in U.S. District Court acknowledging an intelligence relationship with Gehlen and his intelligence service that it had kept secret for fifty years. The CIA pledged that it would declassify and process the CIA information in the Army's "Gehlen Organization" files for release in accordance with the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. The CIA cited a commitment to conform to the spirit of the Disclosure Act as the primary reason for its release decision at that time. The CIA's action allowed the Army to the release these files. The files are in Record Group 319.

For more information on these files, see declassified records description on the IWG website: