Nazis and Axis Collaborators Were Used To Further U.S. Anti-Communist Objectives in Europe--Some Immigrated to the United States

Gao ID: GGD-85-66 June 28, 1985

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO investigated allegations that federal agencies aided the immigration of Nazi war criminals and collaborators and concealed their backgrounds once they were admitted. GAO determined whether: (1) there were any federal programs specifically designed to aid Nazis and collaborators; and (2) federal intelligence agencies protected a certain prominent Gestapo official.

GAO found that, after World War II, U.S. intelligence agencies were required to change from an emphasis on wartime counterintelligence to an emphasis on gathering information about the Soviet Union and the worldwide Communist movement. The intelligence community was not well prepared for this change because: (1) wartime intelligence units had been disbanded and many experienced personnel left the military; and (2) those experienced personnel who remained in the intelligence community were trained in counterintelligence rather than in covert intelligence operations. GAO found that: (1) U.S. intelligence agencies knowingly employed alleged Nazis and Axis collaborators in order to obtain information about Soviet intentions and capabilities because Germany was the only country whose intelligence apparatus was targeted at Soviet activities; (2) in at least five instances, U.S. intelligence agencies provided immigration assistance to individuals with known undesirable or questionable backgrounds; and (3) it could not determine the total number of such individuals who were given immigration assistance. However, GAO found no evidence of any specific program to provide immigration assistance to potentially undesirable individuals and noted there were several instances in which the use of Nazis or collaborators was rejected because of their pasts. In addition, GAO reviewed a Department of Justice report on the protection and employment of a prominent Gestapo official and found no discrepancies with information available to GAO.

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.