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AFA 3: Reinhard Gehlen & His Organization

Part 1 [1] 45:14 | Part 2 [2] 41:09 | Part 3 [3] 46:10 | Part 4 [4] 47:15
(Record­ed June 21, 1984)

The third pro­gram in the series focus­es on the piv­otal role Hitler’s top spy­mas­ter (Gen­er­al Rein­hard Gehlen) and his orga­ni­za­tion played in post-World War II his­to­ry. In charge of all intel­li­gence on the East­ern Front dur­ing the war, Gehlen’s orga­ni­za­tion was adopt­ed by U.S. intel­li­gence after the war and became, in turn, the CIA’s intel­li­gence eyes and ears on the Sovi­et Union and East­ern Europe, the de-fac­to NATO intel­li­gence orga­ni­za­tion and the intel­li­gence ser­vice of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many, the BND. In this capac­i­ty, Gehlen was able to exert a pro­found influ­ence on the course of world events.

Despite a pledge to his Amer­i­can spon­sors not to employ war crim­i­nals, from the first, Gehlen did not hes­i­tate to uti­lize some of the worst offend­ers. SS colonel Otto Sko­rzeny put his post-war ODESSA net­work of SS men to work for Gehlen as part of the lat­ter’s oper­a­tion. This broad­cast doc­u­ments Gehlen’s use of Sko­rzeny and a force com­posed large­ly of vet­er­ans of Hitler’s “Final Solu­tion” to train the Egypt­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice, hav­ing under­tak­en the mis­sion on behalf of the CIA.

Pro­gram high­lights include: Gehlen’s cen­tral role in the cre­ation of Radio Free Europe; Gehlen’s employ­ment of Eich­man’s supe­ri­or in the Final Solu­tion, Otto Von Bolschwing; the BND’s employ­ment of Eich­man­n’s deputy Alois Brun­ner; the appoint­ment of Von Bolschwing asso­ciate Helene Von Damm to serve as White House spe­cial­ist for Pres­i­den­tial per­son­nel; Sko­rzeny’s cre­ation and train­ing of the first Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist groups while serv­ing on the Gehlen-CIA mis­sion in Egypt in the 1950’s; Gehlen’s use of Adolph Eich­man in the Skorzeny/CIA/Gehlen mis­sion in Egypt; text of a rare inter­view with Gehlen, in which he demon­strat­ed his unre­con­struct­ed Nazi sym­pa­thies; Gehlen’s piv­otal role in the estab­lish­ment of Radio Free Europe; a his­to­ry of Gehlen oper­a­tive Hel­mut Stre­ich­er, a for­mer SS offi­cer, whose intel­li­gence activ­i­ties ranged from the East­ern Front in World War II to the Bay of Pigs inva­sion; Gehlen’s work as a min­is­ter in “the Evan­gel­i­cal Church,” fol­low­ing his alleged retire­ment from the BND (Ger­many’s intel­li­gence ser­vice and the final incar­na­tion of Gehlen’s Nazi spy out­fit.