FOIA request regarding Kurt Blome files

Jeffrey Kaye filed this request with the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking # F-2014-00114
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Jeffrey Kaye

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

This is a FOIA request for all files pertaining to the former Nazi doctor Kurt Blome, who was tried and acquitted at the Nuremberg Doctors Trial, and later was said to be employed as a "camp doctor" at the European Command Intelligence Center at Oberursel, West Germany.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Kaye

From: Central Intelligence Agency

The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.

From: Jeffrey Kaye

December 12, 2013

Agency Release Panel
c/o Susan Viscuso
Information and Privacy Coordinator
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, DC 20505

Reference: F-2014-00114

Dear Agency Release Panel:

This letter constitutes an administrative appeal to the Agency Release Panel, such appeal being guaranteed by Section 3.5(e) of Executive Order 13526.

I am writing to appeal the determination by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with regard to my FOIA request filed on October 23, 2013, reference number F-2014-00114, for "all files pertaining to the former Nazi doctor Kurt Blome.”

The CIA response of November 6, 2013 indicated that, in accordance with section 3.6(a) of Executive Order 13526, the CIA could “neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive” to my request. CIA’s notification continued, “The fact of the existence or nonexistence of requested records is currently and properly classified and is intelligence sources and methods information that is protected from disclosure by section 6 of the CIA Act of 1949, as amended, and section 102A(i)(l) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended.” This will be referred hereafter in this appeal by the popular name given to such a rejection, i.e., as a “Glomar” response.

The following are my reasons for appeal:

1) Some information related to cooperation Kurt Blome gave to both the military and intelligence agencies of the US government have already been released and are in the public record, and is further discussed below.

2) In her book, "Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists and Project Paperclip, 1945-1990" (St. Martin’s Press, 1991), Linda Hunt noted that Kurt Blome had been interrogated as part of the Alsos missions at the end of World War II. Alsos was jointly staffed by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, the Manhattan Project, and Army Intelligence (G-2), and mandated to investigate enemy scientific developments. The investigation included biological weapons. From the Nuremberg trial, where Blome was a defendant, we know that he was involved in biological weapons research for the Nazi government.

3) The record of Blome’s Alsos interrogation is in the public domain. See Alsos interrogation at the National Archives in the Kurt Blome INSCOM dossier XE001248. Arrest reports: in Blome's Nuremberg arrest file, Record Group (RG) 238, NARS.

INSCOM stands for U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command.

Blome’s status as an accused defendant in the Nuremberg proceedings is well-known. The records of that trial are public domain, and it is difficult to believe that the CIA has no files or records or reports that discuss Blome in relation to the war crimes charges or the trial itself.

At the trial, it came out that Blome admitted at the Nuremberg Trial that he had been head of an institute in Posen that did research on biological warfare for the Nazis. Experiments had been carried out on Soviet prisoners-of-war as part of this research. See The Nuremberg Medical Trial, 1946/47 (Walter de Gruyter, 2001), p. 56.

4) Kurt F. L. Blome (F. L. for Friedrich Ludwig, the middle names of the same Kurt Blome who is the subject of my FOIA request and this appeal) is mentioned by name in a declassified list of “Foreign Scientist Case Files, 1945-1958”, part of the scientists who signed up to work for the U.S. government as part of Operation Paperclip, or the later Project 63. See URL: http://www.archives.gov/iwg/declassified-records/rg-330-defense-secretary/foreign-scientist-case-files.pdf

5) After Blome was acquitted at the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial in August 1947, according to Hunt’s book, two months later, “four representatives of Fort Detrick -- the Maryland army base that was also headquarters of the CIA's biological warfare program -- interviewed Blome about biological warfare…. During a lengthy interview Blome identified biological warfare experts and their locations and described different methods of conducting biological warfare.” (p. 180) Blome was ultimately given a position working for the Americans at Camp King interrogation center, Oberursel, West Germany.

The Fort Detrick interrogation is known from Blome’s INSCOM dossier and his Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) dossier, RG 330, NARS.

According to the National Archives website, JIOA was “was established in 1945 as a subcommittee of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The JIC served as the intelligence arm of the JCS, responsible for advising the JCS on the intelligence problems and policies and furnishing intelligence information to the JCS and the Department of State. The JIC was composed of the Army's director of intelligence, the chief of naval intelligence, the assistant chief of Air Staff-2, and a representative of the Department of State.”

“The JIOA was given direct responsibility for operating the foreign scientist program, initially code-named Overcast and subsequently code-named Paperclip.” (URL: http://www.archives.gov/iwg/declassified-records/rg-330-defense-secretary/)

Hence, the fact that Blome acted as an “intelligence source” for U.S. intelligence circles is no secret.

6) Some of the information that Blome could have given interrogators has been pieced together from German archives. The German historian, Ute Deichmann in her book, "Biologists Under Hitler" (Harvard Univ. Press, 1996) mentions, as an example of this kind of information, the Wolfram Sievers at the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte (MA 1406/1).

In these diaries, Blome is described as having conducted neutron radiation experiments, as well as making plans to carry out experiments with bacterial pathogens (p. 417).

7) According to BBC television producer Tom Bower in his book, "The Paperclip Conspiracy: The Hunt for the Nazi Scientists" (Little, Brown & Company, 1987), it is public record that Kurt Blome was hired by the U.S. Chemical Corps in August 1951 and certified by U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John McCloy, as “not likely to become [a] security threat to the US” (p. 254) Bower gives as citation for this material RG 330 JIOA case file, “Blome,” in the National Archives.

8) The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act (P.L. 105-246, 5 U.S.C. § 552) mandated that Government agencies, including the CIA, take necessary steps necessary to declassify and open remaining classified records related to Nazi war criminals and criminality. This included “any person with respect to whom the United States Government, in its sole discretion, has grounds to believe ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion, during the period beginning on March 23, 1933, and ending on May 8, 1945, under the direction of, or in association with…. the Nazi government of Germany”.

This law included an exception that would “reveal the identity of a confidential human source, or reveal information about the application of an intelligence source or method, or reveal the identity of a human intelligence source when the unauthorized disclosure of that source would clearly and demonstrably damage the national security interests of the United States.

While there is an exception made similar to that which the CIA claimed in its “Glomar” response to my FOIA request, I would argue from the information above that there is already a good deal about Kurt Blome in the public record that likely is in CIA files, and withholding such information because of a possible revelation re an intelligence or methods source is a moot issue.

While there may be aspects of the request that could still be denied under one or another FOIA exemption, I would ask that the elements of the files and other information from my original request that can segregably be released, be so released.

In conclusion, I ask that the Agency Release Panel reconsider its “Glomar” decision to neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to my request.

I have shown that there is already a documentary of both the interrogation and employment of Kurt Blome by U.S. military and intelligence sources. I have shown that Kurt Blome is known to have been a used as an intelligence and/or methods resource after he came under U.S. custody. I have further shown that some of Kurt Blome’s expertise in scientific matters that may have been of interest to U.S. intelligence, and hence the CIA, has already been made public in German archives.

Finally, I would argue that lacking any reason to consider information on Kurt Blome something subject to a “Glomar” denial, it is also important to consider that it was the legislative intent of the United States Congress, in a law signed by the President of the United States, to release information related to Nazi war criminals or possible criminality by such persons.

According to the CIA’s own website, the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act was “the largest congressionally mandated, single-subject declassification effort in history, and a special website at the CIA was set aside to openly display documents the CIA released under this act. (URL: http://www.foia.cia.gov/collection/nazi-war-crimes-declassification-act)

In the spirit of that Act, and of the CIA’s own efforts to release information according to such lawful request and special effort, and given that so much about Kurt Blome has already gone into the public record concerning his activities as an intelligence and/or methods resource, and, finally, given the blood and treasure the citizens of the United States spent in fighting the Nazis, I ask that the “Glomar” exception be removed and my FOIA request appropriately processed.

I look forward to receiving your decision on this appeal in a timely fashion. If you have any questions, or believe discussion of this matter would be beneficial, please contact me or MuckRock News.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Kaye, Ph.D.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Oct. 23, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #F-2014-00114.

Thank you for your help.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.

Files

pages

Close