July 04, 2015

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More than 175 prominent Americans have sent a bipartisan, ecumenical letter to Central Intelligence Agency director Porter J. Goss, protesting the CIA's refusal to release documents pertaining to U.S. relations with Nazi war criminals.

The letter of protest was sent on February 6, 2005, and was organized by the Wyman Institute. It expressed "surprise and disappointment" that the CIA has failed to fully comply with the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998, which requires that all U.S. records on Nazi war criminals be "made available to the public." 


U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the sponsors of the 1998 law, recently criticized the CIA for its failure to release hundreds of thousands of pages of documents.  Some of the documents pertain to the CIA's post-World War II  policy of secretly hiring Nazi war criminals for various Cold War purposes. 

"In recent years, numerous governments and institutions have taken appropriate steps to face up to their actions during the Holocaust and its aftermath," the Wyman Institute's letter said.  "Full disclosure by the CIA of all documents pertaining to U.S. dealings with Nazi war criminals is not only required by law.  It will also help America face up to the consequences and lessons of a troubling chapter in our nation's history."

The signatories on the Wyman Institute letter, representing a broad cross-section of prominent Americans, include former New York City Mayor Ed Koch; former National Security Advisor Anthony Lake; former U.S. Congressman Stephen Solarz; veteran news correspondent Marvin Kalb; former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle; Pulitzer Prize winning historians Samantha Power and David Levering Lewis; social historian Henry Morgenthau III; Union Theological Seminary president Joseph Hough, Jr. and Yale Divinity School dean Robert Bartlett; Hudson Institute vice president Kenneth Weinstein; New Republic senior editor Lawrence Kaplan; Holocaust scholars David Wyman, Christopher Browning, Deborah Dwork, and Michael Berenbaum; writers Cynthia Ozick and Thane Rosenbaum; artists Mark Podwal and Maurice Sendak; comedian David Brenner; and singer Janis Ian.  

(For the complete text of the letter with the list of the signatories, click here.)

Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff said:  "The CIA must come clean on its dealings with Nazi war criminals.  The broad range of Americans from all walks of life who are speaking out reflect this consensus."