Gehlen Organization
Gehlen Organization was an intelligence agency established in June 1946 by U.S. occupation authorities in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Zone of Germany, and consisted of former members of the 12th Department of the Army General Staff (Foreign Armies East
Foreign Armies East
Foreign Armies East, or Fremde Heere Ost , was a German military intelligence organization that focused on analyzing the Soviet Union and other East European countries before and during the Second World War....

, or FHO). It carries the name of Reinhard Gehlen
Reinhard Gehlen
Reinhard Gehlen was a General in the German Army during World War II, who served as chief of intelligence-gathering on the Eastern Front. After the war, he was recruited by the United States military to set up a spy ring directed against the Soviet Union , and eventually became head of the West...


Gehlen had all along been under the tutelage of US Army G-2 (intelligence), but he wished to establish and succeeded in establishing an association with the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

, the CIA, actually established in 1947. In alliance with the CIA, the military orientation of the organization turned increasingly toward political, economic and technical espionage against the Eastern bloc and the moniker "Pullach
Pullach, officially Pullach i. Isartal, is a municipality in the district of Munich in Bavaria in Germany. It is serviced by the S 7 line of the Munich S-Bahn, at the Großhesselohe Isartalbahnhof, Pullach and Höllriegelskreuth railway stations....

" became synonymous with secret service intrigues.

The Org was for many years the only eyes and ears of the CIA on the ground in the Soviet Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 nations during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. The CIA kept close tabs on the Gehlen group: the Org supplied the manpower while the CIA supplied the material needs for clandestine operations, including funding, cars and airplanes.

Every German POW returning from Soviet captivity to West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 between 1947 and 1955 was interviewed by Org agents. Those returnees who were forced to work in Soviet industries and construction and were willing to participate, represented an incomparable source of information, an after-war, up-to-date picture of the Soviet empire as it evolved.

The Org had close contacts with east European émigré organizations. Unheralded tasks, such as observations of the operation of Soviet rail systems, airfields and ports were as important as was infiltration in the Baltic and the Ukraine, using former Kriegsmarine E-boats from bases in Turkey. Operation Crossword
Operation Crossword
During World War II, Operation Crossword or Operation Sunrise was a series of secret negotiations conducted in March 1945 in Switzerland between representatives of Nazi Germany and the Western Allies to arrange a local surrender of German forces in northern Italy...

 infiltrated some 5,000 anti-communists of Eastern European and Russian ancestry. These agents were given espionage training at a camp named Oberammergau. Another mission by the Gehlen Organization was "Operation Rusty" that carried out counter-espionage activities directed against dissident German organizations in Europe.

The Org "Operation Bohemia" was a major counter-espionage success. By penetrating a Czechoslovak run operation, the Org uncovered another network – a spy ring run by the Yugoslav secret service in several cities in western Europe. The Gehlen Organization was also successful in discovering a secret Soviet assassination unit functioning under the umbrella of SMERSH
SMERSH was the counter-intelligence agency in the Red Army formed in late 1942 or even earlier, but officially founded on April 14, 1943. The name SMERSH was coined by Joseph Stalin...

. An Org informant in Prague reported that the Red Army had been issued an advanced, multi-usage detonator of Czech design but was manufactured in a defense plant in Kharkov. The CIA showed interest. Several weeks later Org’s couriers presented the detonator, with complete technical data to the CIA liaison staff at Pullach. Just after, the Czech engineer and his family were smuggled across the frontier into West Germany and on to the United States. By identifying people who suffered under the new communist regimes in eastern Europe, the Org recruited many agents who "wished nothing more than to drive the Bolsheviks from Europe."

The Gehlen Organization was severely compromised by East German communist moles within the organization itself, and communists and their sympathizers within the CIA and the British MI6, particularly Harold "Kim" Philby
Kim Philby
Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby was a high-ranking member of British intelligence who worked as a spy for and later defected to the Soviet Union...

. The WIN
Wolnosc i Niezawislosc
Zrzeszenie Wolność i Niezawisłość WiN was a Polish underground anti-communist organisation founded on September 2, 1945 and active to 1952....

 mission to Poland was a failure due to the compromising of the mission by counter-spies; as it turned out, the so-called Fifth Command of WiN organization within Poland had been created by the Soviet intelligence services.

The Gehlen Org employed hundreds of ex-Nazis. Gehlen initially rejected hiring ex-SS personnel, but later as justification for their recruiting he insinuated that the East German State Security Service had been largely run by ex-SS personnel, i.e., it takes one to catch the other.

Once the Org emerged in minuscule steps from the shadows, Gehlen and his group were attacked relentlessly from both sides, the West and the East. The British in particular had a problem with Gehlen and segments of the English press made sure it became known. Beginning with an article on 17 March 1952, Sefton Delmer
Sefton Delmer
Denis Sefton Delmer was a British journalist and propagandist for the British government. Fluent in German, he became friendly with Ernst Röhm who arranged for him to interview Adolf Hitler in the 1930s...

, senior correspondent for London’s Daily Express dragged Gehlen into the news. On 10 August 1954, Delmer would set the tone by announcing that "Gehlen and his Nazis are coming." Delmer implied in his story that a continuation of nothing less than Hitler’s aims was at hand through this "monstrous underground power in Germany." In more recent days, after reviewing selected declassified CIA documents on the Gehlen Org, a Guardian article vents, that "... for all the moral compromises involved [in hiring former Nazis], it was a complete failure in intelligence terms. The Nazis were terrible spies."
The communist East as well castigated Gehlen’s group as fanatical and virulent agents of revenge and of American imperialism.

There was also Alois Brunner
Alois Brunner
Alois Brunner is an Austrian Nazi war criminal. Brunner was Adolf Eichmann's assistant, and Eichmann referred to Brunner as his "best man." As commander of the Drancy internment camp outside Paris from June 1943 to August 1944, Brunner is held responsible for sending some 140,000 European Jews to...

 in Syria, alleged to be an Org operative, who was responsible for the Drancy internment camp
Drancy internment camp
The Drancy internment camp of Paris, France, was used to hold Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps. 65,000 Jews were deported from Drancy, of whom 63,000 were murdered including 6,000 children...

 near Paris, for the death of 140,000 Jews, and is believed to be still alive as of 2007; the CIA turned a blind eye, and indeed actively participated in some cases, because of the exigencies of the Cold War. According to Robert Wolfe, historian at the US National Archives
National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents, which comprise the National Archives...

, "US Army intelligence accepted Reinhard Gehlen's offer to furnish alleged expertise on the Red Army – and was bilked by the many mass murderers he hired."


In 1948, the Gehlen Organization had an annual budget of US $ 1 500 000 (inflation adjusted US$ million present day).
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