Magazine article The Nation

Washington; a Toothless Report

Magazine article The Nation

Washington; a Toothless Report

Article excerpt

In June the General Accounting Office released its report on U.S. government assistance to Nazi war criminals and Axis collaborators after World War II. More than four years in the writing, the report was supposed to examine whether there were concerted Federal efforts to help such people conceal their backgrounds and immigrate to the United States, and whether U.S. intelligence agencies protected Klaus Barbie, former Gestapo chief in Lyons, France.

On the latter question the G.A.O. perfunctorily corroborates a 1983 Justice Department report on Barbie, which concluded that the protection offered Barbie was the errant work of a handful of low-level U.S. intelligence operatives. On the larger question, it couches its analysis in ambiguous and exculpatory language. After stating that members of the Gestapo, S.S. and Eastern European fascist organizations were knowingly employed by the U.S. intelligence community, the authors approvingly cite a former intelligence officer's assessment: "The use of some of these aliens may have been a mistake but it was a mistake committed without malice."

The manner in which the report deals with Nazi collaborator Stanislaw Stankievich is more disturbing. In case studies of five unnamed aliens who received assistance from unidentified intelligence agencies, Stankievich is referred to only as Subject B. He is described as having been denounced by the United Nations in 1947 for his involvement in massacres of several thousand civilians, mostly Jews, in his native Byelorussia. The report then acknowledges that "B" received assistance in immigrating to the United States in return for helping an unnamed intelligence agency arrest and convict a Soviet agent in 1951. But it neatly plays down the fact that "B" was hired by the Army Counter-Intelligence Corps in 1948, according to a top-secret A. …

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