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The information came to light after a lengthy battle waged by the non-profit group, The National Security Archive, whose goal is to expose government documents under the framework of the Freedom of Information Act.
The revelations cast a negative light not only on American intelligence activity but also the U.S. Army's conduct in Germany at the conclusion of the war. The military made efforts to recruit members of the SS and the Gestapo into its ranks despite simultaenously waging a campaign of de-Nazification over vanquished Germany, a process which included arresting and trying Nazi war criminals.
In the past, some disclosures have been extremely humiliating, such as the news that America's most notorious Nazi "asset" was Klaus Barbie, an SS man and Gestapo officer recruited by the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) in 1947. The French, who wanted to try Barbie for such war crimes as sending Jewish children to Auschwitz and ordering the murder of resistance leader Jean Moulin, learned that he was being sheltered by the CIC. When Paris demanded that he be turned over, the U.S. Army helped Barbie flee to South America on a clandestine "ratline." (In 1983, the Bolivian government extradited Barbie to France, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and died in prison.)
The CIA, under pressure from Congress, has agreed in principle to release new documents detailing its ties to former Nazis who aided U.S. Cold War espionage against the Soviet Union, officials said on Sunday.
The CIA, which had no immediate comment, has released some 1.25 million pages of documents about Nazi war criminals in compliance with the disclosure act, which requires government agencies to divulge records of war criminals to the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group.