Reinhard Gehlen - The CIA & The Nazis

Scientists are scientists. Often times they have not political affiliation and they just want to do science things. After the fall of Nazi Germany, many of these scientists didn’t want to be killed or face war crimes because, to an extent, they weren’t really that guilty, their biggest problem was that they had no real ethics. They were just a very qualified cog in a large machine. So in the middle of the fall there were 3 options. Option 1.) face war crimes. Option 2.) strike a deal with the US. Option 3.) Strike a deal with the USSR. Or just go missing (hiding in Brazil) like Mengele.

It’s kind of funny to think that the space race was between the Soviets and the US because a large portion of the scientists behind both projects were former Nazi scientists. Fun fact, when the Allies were working on an atom bomb, the Nazi’s were working on stealth fighters and missiles. Understandably both the US and Soviets saw the importance of having these scientists and when the axis fell it was a free for all. I believe it was called Operation Paperclip in the US and Operation Forced Labor of Germans in the Soviet Union.

The US and Soviets were sweeping up high profile scientists and trying to incorporate them into their programs. To put that into perspective von Braun was a nazi scientist who helped found NASA.

The Scientist are one topic, Gehlen is another. Gehlen lead an intelligence unit collecting information about Soviet troops and infrastructure. When the war was coming to an end, he and his colleagues took their files and hid them in the mountains. He then turned himself in to the US troops and offered them a deal.

US intelligence wanted to keep his anti-soviet expertise and after being thoroughly debriefed he set up with his old team the “Organisation Gehlen”, which became the BND, German Foreign Intelligence. He headed up the BND for a long time and recruited people with shady (deep brown) histories.

Why is it relevant? Well, it’s not NEWS. But it is relevant as a reminder that De-Nazification, while on the surface very effective, was a lot less thorough when it came to the compromise of keeping Nazis in positions of (relative) power or handing an advantage to the Russians. In ties in to the overall theme that Intelligence services, when not closely supervised by men of strong democratic convictions, will make very questionable decisions for the “greater good” and not be accountable in their lifetime. See Gladio/P2, Gehlen, Middle and South America and Echelon/Prism.

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