Gehlen organization

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Gehlen organization

Postby joefraser » Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:50 pm

I don't know if this belongs in this section, but it is post 1945.
I was reading a bit about the Gehlen organization today and found a list of some of the people who had been in the organization. I can understand ex-gestapo, maybe ex einstatzgruppen members, at a push. However a lot of the listed names had worked at death camps. I don't understand the Western Allies, well specifically the Americans, as they controlled the Gehlen organization at the beginning, allowing these people to get away with what they had done because, to me, being at a death camp has no relation to being a spy. There was an inference that if the full list was available there would be more of these type of people on it. Was it just a case of Gehlen saying " Yes he worked at Autschwitz, but he is really an expert at intelligence" and the Americans being so desperate to have some sort of spying on the Soviets that they just went with it. A bit simplistic, but I hope you see what I mean.
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Re: Gehlen organization

Postby phylo_roadking » Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:07 pm

IIRC Gehlen squirrelled away...I believe actually buried...a lot of files on European Communists - the Communist resistance groups etc. - before the end of the war, and it was this treasure trove of information that he later bargained into acceptance post-war as the Cold War "broke out" :wink:

If I can turn up any more details on the Geheimes Organization I will; I think there's some info about it in the back of Charles Whiting's book on German covert ops in and around the Battle of the Bulge that I've got buried somewhere.
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Re: Gehlen organization

Postby Tom Houlihan » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:53 pm

Gehlen also "fudged" a bit when he reported about who was working for him. He wasn't always completely forthcoming about who he used. He was more concerned with their effectiveness than what they did during the war.
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Re: Gehlen organization

Postby joefraser » Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:02 am

Hi,
thanks for the replies. I knew he had some files and information, I believe even on secret American communists in the government. Also that American spies had been forbidden to work against the Soviets for fear of upsetting our "friends", even though the Soviets were spying in the U.S. in overdrive. Therefore the U.S. needed a network and fast. Also that Gehlen wasn't very good at his job in the Nazi regime and ended up getting sacked by Hitler, and didn't do a very good job for his new masters either by all accounts, although he did manage to keep his job until he retired in 1968, even though, by then, he had another set of new masters when his organization was turned over to the West German Government.
I just wondered if he ( Gehlen) was helping any ex-Nazi through loyalty, or if he was picking up cash for it on the quiet from the supposed fortunes the Nazis had hidden away and "feathering his own nest". I doubt whether we will ever know that for sure though.
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Re: Gehlen organization

Postby Alex Dekker » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:20 pm

Maybe it can be brought down to just one word: 'politics'?

A while ago, I started reading the memoirs of Gehlen. A bit boring, so I quit reading after a while. I didn't read much about 'friendship', Gehelen considered only one man as a friend, a collegue. I didn't read his postwar years part, but I assume he helped those people he thought he could trust. Maybe were former KZ-guards reliable: after all, they needed some protection, Gehlen could give it, as long as they worked for him. Just my wild guesses.

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Re: Gehlen organization

Postby John W. Howard » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:46 pm

Hi Gents:
Most spies or intelligence sources are not the salt of the earth, and they never will be, but they do tend to be magnets for the kind of information governments need to prevent wars, terrorist attacks and the like. Hence the appearence of less than desirable types on intelligence payrolls, except here in the States where they now must be certified Saints. Best wishes.
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Re: Gehlen organization

Postby Paddy Keating » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:23 pm

The efficiency of agencies like the CIA and the NSA has been severely compromised by the insistence upon squeaky clean CVs. It's rather ironic that while the US fell into the hands of people who were anything but saintly, the spooks were suddenly required to be whiter-than-white...in a manner of speaking. A lot of valuable, time-served operatives and handlers have not renewed their contracts.

Regarding the Gehlen organisation and personnel with death or concentration camp service on their CVs, not everyone who worked on camp staff at one time or another was involved directly in killing people. Some individuals were simply posted to the camps because of the requirements of medical convalescence, speciality experience and so on.

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Re: Gehlen organization

Postby joefraser » Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:58 pm

I know what you're saying Paddy, I know a lot of rehabilitating soldiers were posted as camp guards and, if you speak to them, swear they were just perimeter guards and were never a party to or had knowledge of what went on inside the camps. Are they to be believed? Your guess, as they say. Anyway, it wasn't these chaps I was referring to, there were some pretty infamous names. If I can I will look them up again and post them.
As to your first point, I, personally, think the Nato powers have become way too soft in general. far too many journalists are up at the front line, with the troops,watching, with the sole intention of reporting back any slight infraction of the rules of engagement, nevermind what the terrorists/ freedom fighters do.( by this I don't mean we should go round killing people willy nilly) I think it is the same with the shady world of spying as well. The freedom of information makes covering up things more difficult than in previous years, never a good thing in the kind of job they do.
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Re: Gehlen organization

Postby phylo_roadking » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:09 am

BUT....let's remember this subject of the Gehlen Organisation refers to the IMMEDIATELY postwar years...
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Re: Gehlen organization

Postby panzermahn » Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:15 pm

Gehlen organization's operation, when dealing with British MI6, were severely compromised because Philby and his Oxford-bolshies traitorous acts. One good example for the operation in Albania which was betrayed by them. That's one of the biggest Gehlen's mistakes. However his operations when dealing with CIA, was moderately successful (because CIA refused to share intel on operations with MI6 due to Donovan's suspicions that MI6 was infiltrated)

Reinhard Gehlen was intelligent and energetic, but slightly overrated but his organization remains the only eyes and ears behind the Iron Curtain during the early years of the Cold War
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