General Reinhard Gehlen and the OSS
by Craig Roberts
by Craig Roberts
While the Operation Paperclip scientists were setting up shop in the U.S., General Reinhard Gehlen began re-establishing his presence in West Germany. His organization, the Gehlen Org, quickly regained control of the majority of his former agents inside the Iron Curtain, and with the help of many of his former staff, put them back to work. Though he agreed not to hire any former Gestapo, SS or SD members, he sought them out and put them on the payroll - the CIA's payroll - regardless of his promise. And the CIA did not stop him.
Among his recruits were Dr. Franz Six and Emil Augsburg. Six and Augsburg had been members of an SS mobile Death's Head killing squad that hunted down and killed Soviet Jews, intellectuals and partisans wherever they could be found. Six was known as a Streber, or Eager Beaver, for the enthusiastic manner in which he pursued his job. Gehlen also recruited the former Gestapo chiefs of Paris, France, and Kiel, Germany. Then, that not being enough, he hired Willi Krichbaum, the former senior Gestapo leader for southeastern Europe.
Gehlen was pleasantly surprised by what happened next. His new employer, the OSS, not only encouraged but financed an escape mechanism set up by Gehlen for former Nazis. The Gehlen Org established, with OSS help, "rat lines" to provide an underground escape network to be used by former war criminals to escape prosecution by German war crimes tribunals. By way of this organization, over 5,000 Nazis secretly made their way out of Europe to relocate around the globe.
Most went to South and Central America. The countries of choice were Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Within a few years after their arrival in these particular countries, the infamous right-wing government "death squads" made their first appearances. Of note in the expatriate community were such characters as Dr. Joseph Mengele, who specialized in crude genetic experiments on Jewish concentration camp inmates, and mass murderer Klaus Barbie, the infamous "Butcher of Lyons."
According to some sources, former OSS officer James Jesus Angleton, who later became CIA Chief of Intelligence, was the man responsible for providing the Nazis with new identities before their departure from the detainment camps. Angleton worked directly for Dulles.
To satisfy his new employers, Gehlen realized that he had to produce information that was of value to Washington. He also realized that for an intelligence organization to be of value, and to justify a large budget, it had to have an entity that was considered a deadly threat to spy on. He knew that the Americans had little knowledge concerning both the Russians as a military machine, and what activities were transpiring behind the Iron Curtain. The Red Menace would fit the requirement of the ominous threat nicely. All Gehlen had to do was paint as bleak a picture of the situation as he could, and continue creating reports that indicated that the scenario was continually deteriorating. The more bad news he gave Washington, the more money he would have to work with. He knew that in peacetime, the only way to justify a large intelligence organization was to make sure there was always "an enemy at the gates."
He began by feeding information to Dulles - and consequently to Truman - that appeared to show that the Russians were poised to attack the West. He reported that the Soviet forces in eastern Europe were comprised of 208 crack assault divisions, most of which were highspeed capable motorized rifle and tank divisions. Such figures showed that the Communists outnumbered the Western forces by a ratio of ten-to-one.
Then, in early 1947, he reported to the fledgling CIA that his agents had noted subtle changes in Soviet billeting and leave policies, and that troops were being recalled for some unspecified reason. He alluded that this could be the beginning of a preparation phase for the suspected invasion.
This was followed by Gehlen's prediction that the Russians would move quickly once all troops and equipment had been activated and put into position for attack. It wouldn't be long until there was a Soviet blitzkrieg.
In actual fact, Gehlen's information could not have been further from the truth. By 1946, the Red Army was an over-extended, underequipped, and exhausted force of combat-riddled units. Many of the battalions that had reached Berlin had done so on foot. There was not even sufficient motor transport to move one entire division without depriving another of its motorized assets. Almost half of the Red Army's transport was horse drawn. In addition to this, U.S. Army Intelligence had established that the majority of Soviet forces in Eastern Europe was bogged down in rebuilding the eastern zones, reorganizing security structures, and performing governmental administrative functions. According to the intelligence estimate, the Soviet ground and air forces would not be combat effective against the Western powers for at least the next decade.
The 10:1 Russian superiority figure that Gehlen referred to was unrealistic from the beginning. Gehlen well knew, as did Dulles and the other veteran OSS agents, that the Soviet divisional structure was far less in numerical manpower than its U.S. equivalent. A Soviet division was typically one third as strong as an American division. And its leadership was far less effective. Instead of being able to function in combat with flexibility by making on-the-spot field expedient decisions, the Soviet officers had to wait for orders from upper echelon before reacting to a change in the flow of battle. This fact in itself often caused the Soviets grievous losses, and even defeats, during land battles. The U.S. forces, on the other hand, encouraged battlefield decisions during the heat of conflict to be made at the lowest levels.
Still, the OSS - and the follow-on CIG (Central Intelligence Group which replaced the OSS) - chose to conveniently believe Gehlen. Over 70 % of the reports submitted to Washington on CIA stationary were simply Gehlen's words. According to a former CIA officer, "Gehlen's reports and analyses were sometimes simply retyped onto CIA stationary and presented to President Truman without further comment."
The results of such activities were exactly what the intelligence community - and the military - wanted. Truman ceased cutting the military budget; increased spending for weapons research, military equipment, aircraft and the space program; ordered an increase in the development and construction of nuclear weapons; and most importantly to the young CIA, began pumping millions of dollars into the "black" budget for covert operations. In the ten years that followed the war, the CIA consumed over $200 million dollars of funds that did not have to be accounted for.
According to Victor Marchetti, former chief analyst on Soviet military capabilities and author of The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, "The agency loved Gehlen because he fed us what we wanted to hear. We used his stuff constantly, and we fed it to everybody else: the Pentagon; the White House; the newspapers. They loved it." Marchetti further explained, "Gehlen had to make his money by creating a threat that we were afraid of, so we would give him more money to tell us about it. In my opinion, the Gehlen organization provided nothing worthwhile for understanding or estimating Soviet military or political capabilities in Eastern Europe or anywhere else."
The final result of all these cloak-and-dagger exercises was a reputed Cold War that lasted for almost half a century, and cost American taxpayers alone over $8 trillion dollars.
Peacetime intelligence gathering had become big business - profitable to not only the growing intelligence organizations, but to the defense industry and the investors who financed both it and the government.
The Medusa File: Secret Crimes and Coverups of the U.S. Government