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U.S. Ignored Nazi Activities in Hiring Scientists, Article Says

March 12, 1985|Associated Press

CHICAGO — U.S. officials doctored reports about German scientists and ignored information about their Nazi activities to get them into the United States after World War II, according to a magazine article based on declassified documents.

The program, called Project Paperclip, hired 765 scientists and other specialists between 1945 and 1955. It was designed to take advantage of German and Austrian scientific expertise and prevent the remilitarization of Germany, according to the article in the April issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

The article did not say how many Nazis entered the United States using altered records.

The magazine said an 18-month investigation, based on formerly classified documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that some of those hired in the program later were charged with war crimes at Nuremberg.

The Army has not seen the report and would not comment, said Lt. Miguel Monteverde, a spokesman in Washington.

Project policy required the War Department, the forerunner of the Defense Department, to conduct background investigations of the specialists' wartime Nazi activities, the article said.

The Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency at times requested changes in incriminating records of those they wanted to recruit, the article said. Wernher von Braun, who later headed the U.S. Apollo rocket program, was initially classified a "potential security threat."

But five months later, a report, revised at the request of U.S. military officials, said that Von Braun, who died in 1977, "may not constitute a security threat to the United States," the article said.

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