(3 April 1902 – 8 June 1979) was a Major General in the German Wehrmacht during World War II. Starting in 1942 he served as chief of Fremde Heere Ost (FHO), the German Army's military intelligence unit on the Eastern Front. During the emerging phases of the Cold War, he was recruited by the United States military to set up a spy ring directed against the Soviet Union (known as the Gehlen Organization) which employed numerous former SS, SD and Wehrmacht officers and eventually became head of the West German intelligence apparatus. He served as the first president of the Federal Intelligence Service until 1968. Gehlen is considered one of the most legendary Cold War spymasters though some at the CIA cast doubt on this.
Reinhard Gehlen was born into a Roman Catholic family in Erfurt, the son of a bookstore owner. He joined the Reichswehr in 1920. He attended the German Staff College, graduating in 1935, after which he was promoted to captain and attached to the Army General Staff.
Reinhard Gehlen and his Organization
We knew what we did. It was absolutely necessary that we used every son of a bitch as long as he was an anti-communist.~ Harry Rositzke, CIA-Russia expert
Hitler's top spymaster, General Reinhard Gehlen, and his organization played a pivotal role in post-World War II history.
In charge of all intelligence on the Eastern Front during the war, Gehlen's organization was adopted by U.S. intelligence after the war and became, in turn, the CIA's intelligence eyes and ears on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the de-facto NATO intelligence organization and the intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany, the BND.
In this capacity, Gehlen was able to exert a profound influence on the course of world events. Despite a pledge to his American sponsors not to employ war criminals, from the first, Gehlen did not hesitate to utilize some of the worst offenders.
World War II had been over scarcely a week when a U.S. Army DC-3 touched down outside of Washington, D.C., ferrying a top-secret German cargo. Stepping off the plane, possibly disguised as an American general, was Nazi legend Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler's master spy.
His slight physique - five feet eight, 130 pounds - belied his strategic importance to the U.S. officials who welcomed him with open arms. As chief of the Third Reich's Foreign Armies East, Gehlen had been Hitler's most senior officer on the Russian front. He had run an elaborate network of Nazi spies against the Soviet Union - the new villains in the budding Cold War.
Though he was forty-three years old, and Germany lay in ruin, Gehlen's best years were still ahead of him. He was about to make an offer that America's military and governing elites couldn't refuse: He would put his clandestine nexus of Nazi SS officers, underground fascist sympathizers, fugitive war criminals, and encyclopedic Soviet files into the service of Uncle Sam.
A shrewd survivor, Gehlen had buried his organization's plenary files on the USSR in the Austrian Alps as soon as Nazi Germany's collapse became imminent. Gehlen knew that the battle against communism would replace the war against fascist Germany as the overriding military and political goal of the capitalist West. "My view," he wrote in his memoir, "was that there would be a place even for Germany in a Europe rearmed for defence against Communism. Therefore we must set our sights on the Western powers, and give ourselves two objectives: to help defend against communist expansion and to recover and reunify Germany's lost territories." (Apparently, Gehlen's bargaining chip was so valuable, his host were willing to overlook the general's still-current ideas about Deutschland Über Alles.)
Shortly after Germany's surrender to the Allies, Gehlen had descended from his Alpine retreat, audaciously turning himself over the American authorities. "I am head of the Section Foreign Armies East in German Army headquarters," he announced in his prepared speech. "I have information to give of the highest importance to your government."
"So have they all," snapped an army captain, who sent the arrogant, hot-tempered general packing to the camp at Salzburg with the rest of the Nazi prisoners. But he wouldn't stew there for very long. Within a month, with the Soviet Union demanding custody of Gehlen and his files, Hitler's spy master began to receive a stream of important American visitors.
At Fort Hunt near Washington, were an NCO butler and several white-jacketed orderlies catered to his needs, Gehlen conferred with President Truman's national security advisor, a gaggle of army intelligence generals, and Allen Dulles, a giant in America's wartime intelligence outfit, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Later Dulles would take the helm of the CIA.
After a year in Washington, Gehlen returned to the Fatherland - not as a prisoner, but as an influential agent in America's anticommunist war of nerves with Russia. Gehlen took command of his old organization and became America's foremost intelligence source on the Soviet Union. His influence over American policy would be sweeping; and like the proverbial Faustian pact, there would be later reverberations: His exaggerated reports of Russian military strength would escalate the Cold War to dangerous peaks.
How the U.S. government came to collaborate with Gehlen and hundreds of other high-ranking Nazis is a rarely told chapter of American history. American officials, increasingly paranoid about the threat of Soviet influence in postwar Europe and around the world, found expedient soul mates in the Nazi scientists and SS officers they recruited. After all, Nazi Germany's fascists were vehemently opposed to communism, too. Invoking the exigencies of the Cold War, Dulles explained away any misgivings about hiring Gehlen: "He's on our side, and that's all that matters."
Even as the U.S. military was hunting down Nazi war criminals, other branches of the U.S. government were quietly enlisting many of the same fugitives. Project Paperclip was the U.S. War Department's code name for its secret importation of Nazi scientists, using sanitized, rewritten "records" to sneak the Germans through U.S. immigration. In Germany, many of those scientists had benefited from fatal experiments performed on prisoners at Dachau and from slave labor at other concentration camps. During the early 1980s the U.S. Department of Justice identified numerous Nazi veterans who were still living in America.
Truman's National Security Council issued classified directives sanctioning the use of former Nazi collaborators. The paper trail was subject to a massive coverup, and the complete history of America's dalliance with Nazis remains partially obscured. They may not have save Hitler's brain, as the B-movie conspiracy theory had it, but the Fuhrer's intelligence apparatus found a new host, transplanted onto America's spy and military agencies. It's ironic that when President Truman demobilized the OSS, he warned against setting up a permanent "Gestapo-like" intelligence agency, even as his administration was dotting the i's and crossing the t's on its make-work program for former and possibly not-so-former Nazis and their quislings.
Among the notorious Nazi fugitives quietly pardoned and employed by the postwar American government for intelligence work was Klaus Barbie, the SS "Butcher of Lyon." Barbie worked with Gehlen after the war and even lived for a time in the United States.
Though Gehlen promised his handlers, "on principle," that he wouldn't recruit former SS and Gestapo men, he immediately broke his official word, hiring at least six SS and Sicherheitsdienst (SD) veterans. And America's intelligence elite looked the other way.
Two of Gehlen's notorious postwar hires were Franz Six and Emil Augsburg, SS intelligence veterans involved in the mass extermination of Jews. They were both fugitive war criminals.
Franz Six was described by Adolf Eichmann as "a real eager beaver" when it came to the genocide of Jews. "The physical elimination of Eastern Jewry would deprive Jewry of its biological reserves," Six had announced at a conference on the so-called Jewish Question. He put his plan into practice in Smolensk, where his unit murdered some two hundred people in cold blood, among them "thirty-eight intellectual Jews who had tried to create unrest and discontent in the newly established Ghetto of Smolensk," he reported to headquarters.
Emil Augsberg, a staffer under SS chief Himmler, also had led a murder squad in Russia. According to his Nazi Party records, he achieved "extraordinary result…in special tasks," an SS euphemism for mass murder of Jews. Gehlen would find good use for Augsburg's specialty: overseeing assassinations behind "enemy" lines.
For the Gehlen Organization, both Six and Augsberg reactivated their Nazi spy networks in the Soviet Union and hired unemployed German intelligence veterans, many of whom were fellow fugitives. Gehlen must have realized that unofficial Allied policy favored the employment of war criminals: Augsberg was simultaneously moonlighting for several other U.S. intelligence agencies and a French government clandestine group, all the while serving in a private network of ex-SS officers.
When the U.S. Army's Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) caught up to Six, he was convicted of war crimes and got a twenty-year sentence. (Augsberg was luckier: the CIC didn't arrest him - it hired him.) After only four years in prison, though, Six won clemency - and U.S. permission to rejoin the Gehlen Organization as a valuable asset to Western security.
Gehlen's group not only formed the core in America's absorption of Hitler's espionage elite, it also helped midwife the newborn CIA: During the early postwar years, all of the Agency's anti-Soviet assets in Eastern Europe were managed and mastered by Gehlen. Sometimes his reports were retyped verbatim on CIA stationary and passed along to Truman. Gehlen also held great sway over NATO's intelligence and strategy. According to one estimate, the master spy generated 70 percent of NATO's information on the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Europe.
In effect, the West's bulwark against the USSR was utterly dependent on information flowing from an operation run by former Nazis - and said information was often spurious, at that.
In his sobering book on America's recruitment of Nazis, Blowback, Christopher Simpson notes that Gehlen's alarmist reports helped ratchet up tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War: "Gehlen provided U.S. Army intelligence and later the CIA with many of the dire reports that were used to justify increased U.S. military budgets and intensified U.S./USSR hostilities," Simpson writes.
Gehlen's exaggerated reports about an imminent Soviet attack - when in fact the Russians were still licking their postwar wounds - came close to touching off several times. According to Gehlen biographer E. H. Cookridge and others, in 1948 Gehlen nearly convinced the United States that the Soviets were about to launch an assault on the West. He advised that the West would be wise to strike first. Later, during the 1950s, his erroneous claims that the Soviets had outpaced America in the military buildup fuelled fears about the so-called missile gap, which helped stoke up anticommie feelings to feverish levels.
"The [CIA] loved Gehlen because he fed us what we wanted to hear," former CIA officer Victor Marchetti told Simpson. "We used his stuff constantly, and we fed it to everybody else: the Pentagon; the White House; the newspapers. They loved it, too. But it was hyped up Russian boogeyman junk, and it did a lot of damage to this country."
Ironically, the Org also damaged the CIA's anti-Soviet work. The Org's underground groups were so riddled with Soviet double agents, that Western intelligence was compromised for decades. John Loftus, formerly the chief prosecutor of the Justice Department's Nazi-hinting section, summed up the Soviet infiltration of anti-East Bloc groups this way:
It really shows how Soviet intelligence was able to keep communism afloat for the last seventy years.
Intentionally or not, Gehlen undermined the very "national security" that had justified his recruitment in the first place.
Which brings us to some interesting, yet unsubstantiated, speculation. Some researchers proposed that Hitler's haughty spy master had a plan B, an ulterior motive beyond the personal survival instinct and rabid anticommunism. Conspiracy researcher Carl Oglesby contends that Gehlen's postwar organization operated as a cover for the Odessa, an international underground set up by Deputy Führer Martin Bormann to preserve the defeated Nazi Reich. Oglesby calls Gehlen's group "by far the most audacious, most critical, and most essential part of the entire Odessa undertaking." Military intelligence historian (and espionage veteran) Colonel William Corson seconds this notion.
The Gehlen Org, Oglesby argues, provided a haven for fleeing Odessa members by putting them on the American intelligence payroll - a brilliant gambit. More than a few of Gehlen's operatives were indeed Odessa members.
Oglesby's evidence is curious, if not entirely convincing. A declassified CIA document from the 1970s reports that while he was in a U.S. Army VIP prison camp in Wiesbaden, "Gehlen sought and received approval" for his deal with the Americans from Hitler's appointed successor, Admiral Karl Dönitz.
"The German chain of command was still in effect," Oglesby concludes, "and it approved of what Gehlen was doing with the Americans."
Whether or not the Gehlen Org was a diversion to preserve an underground Nazi empire is an open question. But Gehlen did manage to attain his goal of splitting away from U.S. intelligence to serve the fledgling West German government. Gehlen's Org continues to live on, as Germany's BND intelligence service.
The Org's legacy also survives in America. The forty-year defense buildup that helped transform America into the world's largest debtor nation, as well as the ongoing exploits of Gehlen's godchild, the CIA, in the expedient realms of political assassination, propaganda, and covert operations certainly owe a debt to Hitler's master spy, and the men who signed him up to "our side."
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. Josef 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 high-speed 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, under equipped, 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
by Craig Roberts
Consolidated Press International
What do you call a group that over the course of fifty years has been toppling regimes, training national police forces in torture, looting, running an extensive mind-control superproject, helping import ex-Nazi war criminals into America and collaborating extensively with them, apparently assisting in the transport and importation and sale of illegal drugs, running propaganda campaigns designed to create and exacerbate conflict among political groups within foreign nations, exploring and funding all sorts of university and private research into consciousness for possible use in controlling people's minds, paving the way for multinational corporations to expand their operations into foreign countries - thus considerably aiding the economic ruination of those nations - infiltrating the American and foreign press with significant numbers of reporters who are compromised, who slant news, who omit vital news, who protect the Agency from harmful exposure, who keep the American people from knowing what is going on behind the scenes in their own country...
~Jon Rappoport, The Secret Behind Secret Societies: Liberation of the Planet in the 21st Century
Had the United States government followed the Yalta Accord, they would have been required to turn Gehlen over to the USSR. Instead, the American government made a deal with him. Not only would Gehlen turn over his massive cache of files on the Soviet Union to the U.S., he would also serve as an intelligence source on the Russians. In other words, the United States collaborated with a known Nazi who had committed mass murder in return for information. In doing so, the government permitted Gehlen to utilize a network of Nazi SS officers, fugitive war criminals and fascist sympathizers. In effect, they helped establish the post-war Organization of Former SS Members (Organization der Ehemaligen SS-Angeh?en), known as Odessa. And Gehlen wasn't the only high-ranking Nazi to make such a deal. Other Nazi war criminals were used for intelligence work: Klaus Barbie, Franz Alfred Six, Emil Augsburg and Otto Skorzeny were among the hundreds of fugitives on the payroll of the U.S. government. Nazi scientists were secretly imported into the country through a project codenamed Paperclip by the U.S. War Department. According to their own intelligence reports, approximately seventy-five percent of the German scientists were "ardent Nazis". Many had conduct experiments on prisoners in concentration camps. Truman had approved "Paperclip" on the condition that no Nazis were brought into the country. This would have eliminated scientists such as Wernher von Braun, who was an SS major, and Arthur Rudolph. Each had been assessed as security risks. The War Department solved this problem by sanitizing their reports. Paperclipped reports were rewritten, allowing Germany Nazi veteran entrance into the United States.
~Tyrone Yarbrough, Consider the Source: Conspiracy Theories, Narrative, Belief
Gehlen's spy network, called the Org, was funded by over 200 million dollars from the U.S. government. He gained tremendous influence over American foreign policy during the Cold War. The Org submitted reports on Russian military strength, which Allen Dulles passed on without change. These reports greatly exaggerated Soviet military preparedness, once claiming that they were massing to attack West Germany by 1946 with a ten to one troop advantage over Western forces. At this time, Soviet forces were, in fact, recovering from the losses they incurred fighting the Nazis. They were militarily underequipped and had no combat troop advantages. Additionally, Gehlen often advised the United States to launch a first strike assault against the Russians, advice they came perilously close to taking. By providing the U.S. government with erroneous information about the Soviet military buildup, Gehlen's Org helped to increase hostilities between the U.S. and the USSR, and escalate the Cold War. His intelligence reports contributed to the decision to engage in an arms race that lasted over forty years. Finally, Gehlen's Org helped to establish the C.I.A.
~ Tyrone Yarbrough, Consider the Source: Conspiracy Theories, Narrative, Belief
As of May, 1986 there were probably 6,500 of an estimated 10,000 Nazi collaborators who had been assisted by the pro-war criminals organization, still living in the U.S. According to The Times of London' "The U.S. had classified the documents until now in order to protect allied governments and the Vatican from the embarrassing revelations in them", it said. "They showed that the intelligence agencies of France and Britain, immediately after the war, revived a former Nazi organization, called Intermarium, he said. The organization was formed originally by a Russian tsarist general shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution in order to fight communism. "The intelligence agencies of France, Britain, Australia, Canada, Austria, West Germany, and Italy, as well as high Vatican officials, had then become involved in recruiting former Nazi war criminals for the organization. They rearmed and funded them while helping them to emigrate, Mr. Loftus said. "The central governments of these countries apparently did not know about their intelligence agencies' activities. "The U.S. Army Counter-intelligence Corps found out about the allied involvement in 1947, and the U.S. decided to get involved itself and to keep the entire operation secret."
~ Avro Manhattan, The Vatican's Holocaust
Newly declassified CIA documents show the Americans and the German BND knew Eichmann was hiding in Argentina at least two years before Israeli agents snatched him from the streets of Buenos Aires on his way back from work. They knew how long he had been in the country and had a rough idea of the alias the Nazi fugitive was using there, Klement.
Even though German intelligence had misspelled it as Clemens, it was a crucial clue. The Mossad effort to track Eichmann had been suspended at the time because it had failed to discover his pseudonym. They were ultimately tipped off by a German official disgusted at his government's failure to bring the war criminal to justice.
Washington and Bonn failed to act on the information or hand it to the Israelis because they believed it did not serve their interests in the cold war struggle. In fact, the unexpected reappearance of the architect of the "final solution" in a glass box in a Jerusalem court threatened to be an embarrassment, turning global attention to all the former Nazis the Americans and Germans had recruited in the name of anti-communism.
Historians say Britain and other western powers probably did the same, but they have not published the evidence. The CIA has. Under heavy congressional pressure, the agency has been persuaded to declassify 27,000 unedited pages about American dealings with former Nazis in postwar Europe.
One of the most startling of those documents is a CIA memo dated March 19 1958, from the station chief in Munich to headquarters, noting that German intelligence (codenamed Upswing) had that month passed on a list of high-ranking former Nazis and their whereabouts. Eichmann was third on the list. The memo passed on a rumour that he was in Jerusalem "despite the fact that he was responsible for mass extermination of Jews", but also states, matter-of-factly: "He is reported to have lived in Argentina under the alias Clemens since 1952."
There is no record of a follow-up in the CIA to this tip-off. The reason was, according to Timothy Naftali, a US historian who has reviewed the freshly-declassified archive, it was no longer the CIA's job to hunt down Nazis. "It just wasn't US policy to go looking for war criminals. It wasn't British policy either for that matter. It was left to the West Germans ... and this is further evidence of the low priority the Germans gave to hunting down war criminals."
It was not just a question of bureaucratic inertia. There were good reasons not to go hunting for Eichmann. In Bonn, the immediate fear was what Eichmann would say about Hans Globke, who had also worked in the Nazis' Jewish affairs department, drafting the Nuremberg laws, designed to isolate Jews from the rest of society in the Third Reich. While Eichmann had gone on the run, Globke stayed behind and prospered. By 1960 he was Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's national security adviser.
"The West Germans were extremely concerned apparently about how the East Germans and Soviet bloc in general might make use of what Eichmann would say about Hans Globke," Mr Naftali said.
It was not just a West German concern. Globke was the main point of contact between the Bonn government, the CIA and Nato. "Globke was a timebomb for Nato," Mr Naftali said. At the request of the West Germans, the CIA even managed to persuade Life magazine to delete any reference to Globke from Eichmann's memoirs, which it had bought from the family.
But it was not just Globke. When Eichmann was captured the CIA combed files it had captured from the Nazis to find information that might be useful to the Israeli prosecution. The results caused near panic among the CIA's leadership because, unknown to the junior staff who had looked through the files, a few of Eichmann's accomplices being investigated had been CIA "assets".
An urgent memo was sent to CIA investigators urging caution and pointing out that if Moscow discovered these ex-Nazis had been working for the Americans that would make those agents "very vulnerable".
Meanwhile, some of the CIA's German agents were beginning to panic. One of them, Otto Albrecht von Bolschwing - who also had worked with Eichmann in the Jewish affairs department and was later Heinrich Himmler's representative in Romania - frantically asked his old CIA case officer for help.
After the war Bolschwing had been recruited by the Gehlen Organisation, the prototype German intelligence agency set up by the Americans under Reinhard Gehlen, who had run military intelligence on the eastern front under the Nazis. "US army intelligence accepted Reinhard Gehlen's offer to furnish alleged expertise on the Red army - and was bilked by the many mass murderers he hired," said Robert Wolfe, a historian at the US national archives.
Alongside the Gehlen Organisation, US intelligence had set up "stay-behind networks" in West Germany, who were supposed to stay put in the event of a Soviet invasion and transmit intelligence from behind enemy lines. Those networks were also riddled with ex-Nazis who had horrendous records.
One of the networks, codenamed Kibitz-15, was run by a former German army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Walter Kopp, who was described by his own American handlers as an "unreconstructed Nazi".
Most of the networks were dismantled in the early 1950s when it was realised what an embarrassment they might prove.
"The present furore in western Germany over the resurgence of the Nazi or neo-Nazi groups is a fair example - in miniature - of what we would be faced with," CIA headquarters wrote in an April 1953 memo.The new documents make clear the great irony behind the US recruitment of ex-Nazis: for all the moral compromises involved, it was a complete failure in intelligence terms. The Nazis were terrible spies.
"Subject is immature and has a personality not suited to clandestine activities," the CIA file on one of the stay-behind agents said sniffily. "His main faults are his lack of regard for money and his attraction to members of the opposite sex."
Those were the least of their flaws as would-be anti-communist agents. They had not risen in the Nazi ranks because of their respect for facts. They were ideologues with a keen sense of self-preservation.
"The files show time and again that these people were more trouble than they were worth," Mr Naftali said. "The unreconstructed Nazis were always out for themselves, and they were using the west's lack of information about the Soviet Union to exploit it."
The lesson would be well learned by young CIA case officers today.
Adolf Eichmann: The SS colonel who organised the final solution was so enthusiastic about his work that he carried on even after Heinrich Himmler had called a halt. He was captured by US troops but escaped to Argentina. Israeli agents tracked him down in 1960 and he was hanged in 1962.
Hans Globke: A Nazi functionary working with Eichmann in the Jewish Affairs department who helped draft the laws stripping Jews of rights. After the war he rose to become one of the most powerful figures in the government. As national security advisor to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, he was the main liaison with the CIA and Nato.
Reinhard Gehlen: A major general in the Wehrmacht who was head of intelligence-gathering on the eastern front. He sold his supposed inside knowledge of the Soviet Union to the Americans who made him head of West German intelligence, an organisation he led until 1968.