Back Channel to Cuba

Title:                      Back Channel to Cuba

Author:                  William M. LeoGrande

LeoGrande, William M. (2015) and Peter Kornbluh. Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press

LCCN:    2016655026

E183.8.C9 L384 2015

Contents

  • INTRODUCTION: Rebuilding Bridges — EISENHOWER: Patience and Forbearance — KENNEDY: The Secret Search for Accommodation — JOHNSON: Castro Reaches Out –NIXON AND FORD: Kissinger’s Caribbean Détente –CARTER: Close, but No Cigar — REAGAN AND BUSH: Diplomatic Necessity — CLINTON: From Calibrated Response to Parallel Positive Steps — GEORGE W. BUSH: Turning Back the Clock — OBAMA: A New Beginning — INTIMATE ADVERSARIES, POSSIBLE FRIENDS; EPILOGUE: Cutting the Shackles of the Past: A Back-Channel Success.

Subjects

Date Posted:      September 23, 2016

Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1]

Reviewed by Joseph C. Goulden[2]

American University professor William LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba documentation project at the National Security Archive, conclude their history of negotiations between Washington and Havana with suggestions for President Obama, should he choose to seek to improve or even normalize relations with the present or a successor government. Whether the president took their advice in doing just that may never be known. What is known, however, is that he is not the first president to consider reaching out to Cuba with better relations in mind. “Every president since Eisenhower has engaged in some form of dialogue with Castro and his representatives… [and] has seen some advantage in talking to Cuba.” (p. 2) Back Channel To Cuba “presents a comprehensive chronicle of dialogues since 1959,” both secret and public. (p. 3)

While some of the contacts produced tangible results, most did not. Key sticking points on the Cuban side included, inter alia, Cuba’s insistence that the United States lift its economic embargo, its relationship with the Soviet Union, and various Latin American nations, and Castro’s need to blame the United States for Cuba’s domestic problems. Factors on the US side included the refusal to recognize Cuba’s legitimacy, the impact on domestic politics created by Cuban refugees, human rights issues, and from time to time Cuba’s espionage operations in the United States.

One of the early meetings they discuss occurred during the Eisenhower administration, when Castro met in New York City with CIA representative Gerry Droller (also known as Frank Bender, a later participant in the Bay of Pigs operation). During the Kennedy administration, Britain acted to improve relations and helped arrange talks. (p. 108) In the Nixon administration, Secretary of State Rogers suggested the “US attempt ‘baseball diplomacy’ to advance relations with Cuba.” (p. 135) Most of the many attempts at dialogue presented are more substantive and complicated.

The authors base their work on formerly-classified documents and interviews with participants, including Fidel Castro and President Carter. The result is a rich and timely review of the background to the normalization recently achieved.

[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]

[2] Goulden, Joseph C. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 2, Spring 2016, pp. 131-132). Joseph C. Goulden’s 1982 book, Korea: The Untold Story of the War, was published in a Chinese-language edition in 2014 by Beijing Xiron Books. He is author of 18 nonfiction books. Goulden is a long-time reviewer of espionage and spy books for The Washington Times, for AFIO’s Intelligencer, for law journals, and other publications. Some of the reviews appeared in prior editons of The Washington Times or The Washington Lawyer (DC Bar Association) and are reprinted by permission of the author. Goulden’s most recent book [as of 2016] is Goulden, Joseph C. (2012). The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak into English. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

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Unmasked!

Title:                      Unmasked

Author:                 Ronald Seth

Seth, Ronald (1965). Unmaskedl The Story of Soviet Espionage. New York, Hawthorn Books

LCCN:    65022910

UB271.R9 S4 1965a

Subjects

Notes

  • First published in London in 1965 under title: Forty Years of Soviet Spying.

Date Posted:      September 23, 2016

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[1]

In spite of the sensational title of the American edition, this is a competent survey of Soviet espionage by a former British intelligence officer who has since authored some thirty books on war and espionage. Remarkably free of Cold War cant.

[1] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., pp. 150-151

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Queen of Spies

Title:                      Queen of Spies

Author:                  Paddy Haye

Hayes, Paddy (2015). Queen of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Master. New York; London: Overlook Duckworth

LCCN:    2015039895

UB271.G72 H394 2016

Contents

  • Prologue: Moscow, April 1956 — From Kayuki to Clapham, 1921-32 — Born now bred, 1932-43 — SOE 1: Bingham’s Unit, 1943-44 — SOE 2: Coup de foudre, 1944 — SOE 3: Daffers goes to war, 1944 — Vienna role, 1946-48 — A world changing, 1947-48 — Into the lion’s den, 1948-51 — Moscow bound, 1951-54 — Moscow 1: either silence or prison, 1954 — Moscow 2: the squirrel and his nuts, 1955 — Moscow 3: the strange affair of Yevgeni Brik, 1956 — Moscow 4: Annus horribilis, 1956 — From SovBloc to sun-block, 1957-59 — Congo 1: into the cauldron, 1959 — Congo 2: on the eve of destruction, 1959-60 — Congo 3: seven months to murder, 1960-61 — Congo 4: who killed Cock Robin? Not I, said the spy, 1961 — Bewitched, bothered, bewildered…and betrayed, 1962-64 — Back in the field, 1964-67 — Reform at last, 1967-69 — Hanoi 1: spy station Hanoi, 1969-70 — Hanoi 2: though never quite enough to ask for another year, 1969-70 — What Daphne did next, 1970-74 — C/WH 1: spymaster, 1975-77 — C/WH 2: finale: Rhodesia and the ending of UDI, 1978-79 — Return to Somerville, 1980-89 — Daphne Park: a life extraordinary.

Subjects

Date Posted:      September 22, 2016

Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1]

Reviewed by Joseph C. Goulden[2]

In April 2008, at a conference on intelligence sponsored by the German Historical Institute, London, former CIA officer James Pavitt and the late NSA director William Odom joined Daphne Park, Baroness of Monmouth and the former MI6 Controller/Western Hemisphere, to discuss the world of contemporary intelligence. At 87, Baroness Park, radiating a “Miss Marple” charm, was both engaging and circumspect—leaving listeners coveting more detail about her career. Queen of Spies answers that call.

Daphne Margaret Sybil Desiree Park was born in Surrey, England, in 1921, home-schooled in Tanganyika under austere circumstances until 11, and then sent back to England to live with relatives and get a proper education. She did a bit more than that: by the time of her retirement, she had graduated from Oxford University with honors, served in WWII as a volunteer with Britain’s First Aid Nursing Yeomancy (FANY), and later worked as an officer with the SOE. After the war she joined the Foreign Office, became an SIS officer, and after retiring in 1979, served as president of Somerville College at Oxford. In 1990 she was made a life peer and served as SIS’s semi-official spokesperson in the House of Lords. None of these achievements was accomplished without precedent-setting breaks with tradition, so author Paddy Hayes focuses on how she met and overcame her constant career challenges.

Baroness Park’s path to her MI6 appointment illustrates her outspoken determination to speak truth to power. As a FANY, she wrote a letter denouncing the performance of her superior and was promptly punished for her efforts while her superior was promoted. But her abilities had been noticed and Hayes tells how her SOE JEDBURGH colleagues came to her rescue and secured her return to duty as an officer. Likewise, after the war, Hayes describes her groundbreaking path into the Foreign Office and eventually SIS. She would learn Russian, subsequently serving in Moscow, Leopoldville, Lusaka, Hanoi, and Ulan Bator.

It was in Moscow in the mid-1950s that Park learned her tradecraft and honed her political skills while enduring the disruptions caused by the exposure of KGB agents in the British ranks, and the fallout from botched British operations against the Soviets. As head of station in Leopoldville, she became embroiled—with her CIA counterpart, Larry Devlin—in the Patrice Lumumba affair. It was there, too, that her ability to deal effectively in male-dominated circumstances was recognized and the likelihood of further advancement enhanced. Hayes’s description of her time in Hanoi, a genuine hardship tour, is illuminating.

Daphne Park remained single and Hayes does not dodge the obvious questions. He writes about two serious affairs, one that came to nothing—in part, at least, because of the SIS policy that women in the service who married would have to resign. He also mentions instances when her gender threatened to become an issue when working with agents and how she subtly but forcefully and successfully asserted her command of the situation. (p. 155)

Queen of Spies is documented by the relatively scant official record available, comments from former colleagues, and the few interviews of Park herself—all approved by SIS. And this accounts for the principal shortcoming of the book, since Hayes devotes considerable effort articulating Parks’ feelings and views on the situations that confronted her. At one point he admits “being forced into the realm of speculation.” (p. 127) Thus the narrative is sprinkled with examples—comments that “she enjoyed the hot sun on her back”; (p. 11) that “she’d have got the low-down on her rival” from her friend Maurice Oldfield; (p. 198) that Oldfield “would have been instrumental in getting her a Controller’s position”; (p. 245), and he “probably influenced her decision” while in Kenya. (p. 199)

There are a few factual items where Hayes’s background in international commercial intelligence fails him. Examples include: Oleg Gordievsky was not a “defector-in-place”—he was an MI6 penetration. CIA officer Ted Shackley did not occupy the third most senior position in the agency. The statement that “the Agency was far more WASP than the Bureau and was naturally more sympathetic to Britain’s interests” defies explanation. (p. 257)

In spite of these, Queen of Spies is the only biography on Baroness Park and it fills a big gap. Hayes has produced an interesting and informative work.

[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]

[2] Goulden, Joseph C. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 2, Spring 2016, pp. 130-131). Joseph C. Goulden’s 1982 book, Korea: The Untold Story of the War, was published in a Chinese-language edition in 2014 by Beijing Xiron Books. He is author of 18 nonfiction books. Goulden is a long-time reviewer of espionage and spy books for The Washington Times, for AFIO’s Intelligencer, for law journals, and other publications. Some of the reviews appeared in prior editons of The Washington Times or The Washington Lawyer (DC Bar Association) and are reprinted by permission of the author. Goulden’s most recent book [as of 2016] is Goulden, Joseph C. (2012). The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak into English. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

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The Spy Web

Title:                      The Spy Web

Author:                 Francis Noel-Baker

Noel-Baker, Francis Edward (1955). The Spy Web. New York: Vanguard Press

LCCN:    55007881

UB271.R9 N6 1955

Subjects

Date Posted:      September 22, 2016

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[1]

One of .the better Cold War exposes of Soviet espionage. It was written by a former junior SOE officer with the Free Greek Forces in the Middle East.

 

[1] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p. 150

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NPIC

Title:                      NPIC

Author:                  Jack O’Connor

O’Connor, Jack (2015). NPIC: Seeing The Secrets And Growing The Leaders: A Cultural History of the National Photographic Interpretation Center. Alexandria, VA: Acumensa Solutions

LCCN:    2015908116

JK468.I6 O36 2015

Subjects

Date Posted:      September 21, 2016

Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1]

Reviewed by Joseph C. Goulden[2]

On 20 June 2014, as Washington Nationals fans emerged from the parking lot at 1st & M Street SE and headed for the stadium to see the Stephen Strasburg pitch, they passed a partially demolished building across the street in the Washington Navy Yard[3]. Few knew that they were witness to the end of Building 213, former home of the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) where, from 1963 until 1996, the nation’s satellite imagery had been exploited by teams of CIA, DIA, and military imagery analysts. In NPIC: Seeing the Secrets and Growing the Leaders, former CIA officer Jack O’Connor, a veteran of 15 years at NPIC, tells the story of its creation as part of the U-2 Program and its operations as the key producer of intelligence from satellite imagery.

Although O’Connor mentions each of the eight NPIC directors, his account is intentionally not comprehensive. Such a history would require a much longer treatment. Instead, he looks in-depth at the two directors who did the most to shape NPIC’s future—Art Lundahl and Rae Huffstutler. It was Lundahl who was given secret marching orders by Allen Dulles to create what, in time, became NPIC, established to handle the imagery exploitation from the U-2 in 1956. And that is what he did while working in less than optimal facilities before moving to Building 213—an absorbing story in itself.

It was Huffstutler that managed NPIC’s transition from film to digital imagery. This required new facilities, equipment, and additional training for the analysts. At the same time Huffstutler, building on the Lundahl foundation, created a management culture that, O’Connor argues, produced many senior executives who later served throughout the Intelligence Community.

To give the reader a sense of NPIC’s operations, O’Connor discusses each of the satellite systems and its impact in terms of launch frequency (and occasional failures), quantity of imagery collected, and NPIC’s methods of organizing the work. He also describes the sequence of events from the requirement to request coverage, to the reporting-on the imagery acquired. As a real-world example, he presents an account of how the disaster at Chernobyl was documented by digital satellite imagery before the Soviet Union admitted the catastrophe. Chernobyl was not a routine collection experience and he describes the organizational and bureaucratic battles that had to be overcome, just one of many such conflicts that were routinely confronted as various agencies competed for the scarce overhead coverage and often disagreed with the imagery-analysts’ reporting. An example of the latter is discussed in the account of the “Third Typhoon,” a Soviet submarine whose NPIC-reported launch disagreed with the Community consensus. (pp. 148ff) As O’Connor relates these examples and others—particularly the Cuban Missile Crisis—readers get a good sense of the life of an imagery analyst and what happened when differences arose with all-source colleagues who often thought they could read the imagery just as well.

For those who encountered NPIC over the years, O’Connor’s contribution will bring back mostly agreeable—if not amusing—memories. It was an unusual organization with its own personality. For all other readers concerned with the history of the nation’s imagery interpretation program, he has provided a solid, well written foundation. O’Connor has implicitly made a good argument for a sequel. NPIC is a great contribution to the intelligence literature.

[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]

[2] Goulden, Joseph C. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 2, Spring 2016, p. 130). Joseph C. Goulden’s 1982 book, Korea: The Untold Story of the War, was published in a Chinese-language edition in 2014 by Beijing Xiron Books. He is author of 18 nonfiction books. Goulden is a long-time reviewer of espionage and spy books for The Washington Times, for AFIO’s Intelligencer, for law journals, and other publications. Some of the reviews appeared in prior editons of The Washington Times or The Washington Lawyer (DC Bar Association) and are reprinted by permission of the author. Goulden’s most recent book [as of 2016] is Goulden, Joseph C. (2012). The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak into English. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

[3] I (Fred L. Wilson) passed by that building every day on the way to the Munitions Building from Ft. McNair.

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The Nazis Next Door

Title:                      The Nazis Next Door

Author:                 Eric Lichtblau

Lichtblau, Eric (2014). The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

LCCN:    2014023543

E743.5 .L49 2014

Scope and content

  • “The shocking story of how America became one of the world’s safest postwar havens for Nazis. Until recently, historians believed America gave asylum only to key Nazi scientists after World War II, along with some less famous perpetrators who managed to sneak in and who eventually were exposed by Nazi hunters. But the truth is much worse, and has been covered up for decades: the CIA and FBI brought thousands of perpetrators to America as possible assets against their new Cold War enemies. When the Justice Department finally investigated and learned the truth, the results were classified and buried. Using the dramatic story of one former perpetrator who settled in New Jersey, conned the CIA into hiring him, and begged for the agency’s support when his wartime identity emerged, Eric Lichtblau tells the full, shocking story of how America became a refuge for hundreds of postwar Nazis”– Provided by publisher.

Contents

  • Prologue: A Name from the Past — Liberation — The Good Nazis — “Minor War Crimes” — Echoes from Argentina — Tilting at Swastikas — In the Pursuit of Science — Out of the Shadows — “An Ugly Blot” — The Sins of the Father — A Good Party Spoiled — “An Innocent Man” — Backlash — Ivan the Terrible — The Road to Ponary — Appendix.

Subjects

Date Posted:      September 20, 2016

Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1]

Reviewed by Joseph C. Goulden[2]

At least nine books have been written on the “intellectual reparations” policies implemented by the Allies after WWII. The first, Operation Paperclip[3], appeared in 1971 and dealt mainly with former Nazi rocket scientists and engineers brought to the United States. A recent account under the same name added new material based on declassified documents and named more individuals involved.[4]

A broader version of that topic, Wanted![5], also covered former military and SS members. And now journalist Eric Lichtblau has revisited the matter, adding details gathered from material released by the CIA and FBI.

In The Nazis Next Door, Lichtblau uses the story of the self-admitted onetime Nazi SS officer, Tscherim (Tom) Soobzokov—originally discussed in Wanted!—to illustrate how the United States overlooked evidence of criminal pasts, not just in the scientists, but also in those categorized as “moderate Nazis”—former intelligence officers—in order to recruit anti-communist agents.

Soobzokov had sued the New York Times (that published Wanted!) for its coverage of his case and won a large settlement out of court. Lichtblau describes how the rumors about Soobzokov had originated and the harassment that followed. Since he had been an agent for the CIA and FBI, he sought their help—which was not forthcoming. In the end, he was assassinated in a car bombing.

Soobzokov is not the only former CIA agent Lichtblau discusses. In the case of former SS officer Theodor Saevecke, he writes that the CIA provided him with “whitewashed documents” and he was “exonerated,” dying in America of old age. (p. 35) An even more notorious case involved Wilhem Hӧttl, whom Allen Dulles had “first pursued… as an American spy.” (p. 36) Hӧttl later testified as a witness at the Nuremburg trials, but his promised knowledge about the Soviets was useless.

Lichtblau devotes a chapter to Dulles and his contacts with “The Good Nazis.” The most well-known was SS General Karl Wolff, with whom he worked to secure an early surrender of German troops in Italy toward the end of the war as part of Operation Sunrise. Lichtblau belittles Dulles’ “sharing a fireside scotch with Himmler’s former chief of staff” during their first meeting. (p. 15) But he neglects to mention that he was not alone and that they were attempting to get the cooperation of the man in charge of the German army in Italy. Intelligence professionals may interpret Lichtblau’s analysis as evidence of ignorance of intelligence tradecraft.

The Nazis Next Door conveys the impression that the recruiting of German sources was largely fruitless and morally unfounded, no matter what. Thus the attempts to honor the agreements made to those brought to the United States were unjustified. In essence, there were no good or reformed Nazis. This jaded view aside, Lichtblau has added some case-closing detail to a controversial period.

[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]

[2] Goulden, Joseph C. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (22, 2, Spring 2016, p. 129). Joseph C. Goulden’s 1982 book, Korea: The Untold Story of the War, was published in a Chinese-language edition in 2014 by Beijing Xiron Books. He is author of 18 nonfiction books. Goulden is a long-time reviewer of espionage and spy books for The Washington Times, for AFIO’s Intelligencer, for law journals, and other publications. Some of the reviews appeared in prior editons of The Washington Times or The Washington Lawyer (DC Bar Association) and are reprinted by permission of the author. Goulden’s most recent book [as of 2016] is Goulden, Joseph C. (2012). The Dictionary of Espionage: Spyspeak into English. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

[3] I believe Goulden is referring to the American version, Lasby, Clarence G. (1971). Project Paperclip: German Scientists And The Cold War. New York: Atheneum

[4] Jacobsen, Annie (2014). Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America. New York: Little, Brown and Company

[5] Blum, Howard (1977). Wanted! The Search for Nazis in America. New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co. [LCCN: 76009689]

 

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Operation Paperclip

Title:                      Operation Paperclip

Author:                 Annie Jacobsen.

Jacobsen, Annie (2014). Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America. New York: Little, Brown and Company

LCCN:    2013028255

D810.S2 J33 2014

Contents

  • The war and the weapons — Destruction — The hunters and the hunted — Liberation — The captured and their interrogators — Harnessing the chariot of destruction — Hitler’s doctors — Black, white and gray — Hitler’s chemists — Hired or hanged — The ticking clock — Total war of apocalyptic proportions — Science at any price — Strange judgment — Chemical menace — Headless monster — Hall of mirrors — Downfall — Truth serum — In the dark shadows — Limelight — Legacy — What lasts?.

Subjects

Date Posted:      September 20, 2016

Review by Wendy Lower[1]

Among the trophies of the Second World War captured by Allied intelligence agents were Nazi scientists and their research on biological and chemical weapons. In a classified memorandum titled “Exploitation of German Scientists in Science and Technology in the United States,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff described these men as “chosen, rare minds whose continuing intellectual productivity we wish to use.” Such intellectual spoils were not to fall into Soviet hands. In 1945, Operation Overcast (renamed Operation Paperclip for the paper clips attached to the dossiers of the most “troublesome cases”) began. More than 1,600 Germans were secretly recruited to develop armaments “at a feverish and paranoid pace that came to define the Cold War.”

Although some of these men had been Nazi Party members, SS officers and war criminals, they were valued as vital to American national security. Thus it was O.K., American government officials reasoned, to ignore these scientists’ roles in developing biological and chemical weapons, in designing the V-2 rockets that shattered London and Antwerp and in the countless deaths of concentration camp inmates who fell victim to medical experiments at Dachau and Ravensbrück.

The journalist Annie Jacobsen’s Operation Paperclip is not the first unveiling of the program. The New York Times, Newsweek and other media outlets exposed Paperclip as early as December 1946. Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Rabbi Steven Wise publicly opposed the program, and according to a Gallup poll, most Americans at the time considered it a “bad” idea. But Jacobsen’s book is the first on the topic to appear since President Clinton signed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act in 1998, which pushed through the declassification of American intelligence records, including the F.B.I., Army intelligence and C.I.A. files of German agents, scientists and war criminals. Jacobsen’s access to these documents, along with her research in various special collections and her interviews with former intelligence personnel and relatives of the scientists, make her study the most in-depth account yet of the lives of Paperclip recruits and their American counterparts.

Jacobsen tracks 21 of these Nazi scientists and technicians. Eight of her subjects had worked directly with Hitler, Himmler or Göring; 15 were active Nazi Party members; 10 served in paramilitary squads like the SA and SS; and six were tried at Nuremberg. A few familiar figures pop up, including several pioneers in space exploration—Wernher von Braun, Hubertus Strughold, Walter Dornberger and Arthur Rudolph.

The “classified body of secrets and lies” behind Operation Paperclip is complex and crowded, and in some places the narrative becomes muddled, as infamous Nazis and American intelligence operatives appear alongside present-day historians and archivists who are unnecessarily cited to provide basic facts. To her credit, Jacobsen deftly untangles the myriad American and German government agencies and personnel involved, though not without repetitious reminders of who is who.

More gripping and skillfully rendered are the stories of American and British officials who scoured defeated Germany for Nazi scientists and their research. One well-known find was the Osenberg list of thousands of German scientists and facilities, which was retrieved from a toilet at Bonn University. Another was a huge cache of tabun (a sarin-like chemical). While searching the I. G. Farben laboratories on the German-Polish border, British soldiers uncovered 175 forested bunkers storing aerial bombs with a powerful organophosphorus nerve agent. They called in American Army chemists, who tested the chemical and found that just a drop on the skin would kill a rabbit in minutes. In 1945, 530 tons of tabun were shipped to various locations in the United States including Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland.

There, Jacobsen writes, American soldiers became unknowing guinea pigs for Dr. L. Wilson Greene, an American. In a gassing chamber, soldiers were exposed to low levels of tabun. Greene was pleased with the effects: Though the soldiers were “partially disabled” for one to three weeks, they eventually recovered. Thus nerve agents and hallucinogenic drugs could serve as more “gentle” weapons, immobilizing the enemy but, Greene hoped, avoiding the “wholesale killing of people or the mass destruction of property.” Greene assigned his colleague, the German chemist Fritz Hoffmann, to research other toxic agents for military use. Hoffmann (who died in 1967) studied everything from street drugs to Mongolian hallucinogenic mushrooms, and may have contributed his research to the development of Agent Orange. Hoffmann’s daughter remembered that her father was interested in producing a substance that could defoliate trees in Vietnam “so you could see the enemies.” In an interview with Jacobsen, she remarked: “Agent Orange turned out not only to defoliate trees but to cause great harm in children. Dad was dead by then, and I remember thinking, Thank God. It would have killed him to learn that. He was a gentle man. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

American intelligence agents, Jacobsen argues, were blinded by brinkmanship. Some became consumed by the search for weapons and were double-crossed by German scientists. One such man was Gen. Charles E. Loucks, chief of intelligence for chemical warfare stationed in Heidelberg. So dedicated was Loucks that he found the task of securing the German arsenal of chemical weapons for his country to be “more interesting than going down to Paris on weekends.” He became charmed by the notorious SS Brig. Gen. Walter Schieber, who eventually worked as a chemist for the American Army’s Chemical Corps and then for the C.I.A. Schieber turned out to have been a Soviet mole and international weapons dealer, as Jacobsen discovered in the declassified files.

There are few satisfying explanations in Jacobsen’s account of this “tawdry group of amoral war opportunists, many of whom were linked to war crimes.” In the end, it is not clear who was exploiting whom—the Nazi scientists or their American recruiters. What is clear is that contemporary public opinion had it right: Operation Paperclip was a bad idea. By shining light on the human, ethical and monetary costs of the program, Jacobsen’s book reveals just how bad. Nazi scientists were generously remunerated for developing biological and chemical weapons whose cleanup and disposal took decades and cost approximately $30 billion. American experimentation on humans continued during the Cold War in violation of the Nuremberg Code. A lethal chemical might have been developed for warfare, with terrible consequences.

Jacobsen ends her study by asking Gerhard Maschkowski, a Jewish survivor of the I. G. Farben camp at Auschwitz, “What matters, what lasts?” In response, Maschkowski reveals his blue-ink tattoo. Yet certain truths are obscured in Jacobsen’s disturbing account. She writes that the Germans didn’t use any chemical or biological weapons in World War II. Although they may not have deployed such weapons on the battlefield, the Germans did use carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide (Zyklon B, a pesticide) in mobile gas vans and gas chambers. In 1942-43, the Allies threatened retaliation if the Germans used chemical weapons. Apparently this warning applied only to Allied soldiers in combat and civilians in Allied cities, not to the Jews, Soviet P.O.W.s and others who were murdered in Auschwitz, Birkenau and other Nazi extermination sites.

[1] Lower, Wendy (2014).”Willkommen,” Sunday Book Review, New York Times. Downloaded September 20, 2016. A version of this review appears in print on March 2, 2014, on page BR16 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: Willkommen. Wendy Lower is the author of Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award). Book review (H-Net) http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=40876 [LCCN: 2013026081

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