The Military Intelligence Service was not composed solely of collectors and analysts. For most of World War II, it also included personnel of the Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), formed on 1 January 1942 as the successor to the Corps of Intelligence Police. The new organization had both a more appropriate name and initially a more centralized organization than its predecessor. In January the War Department took over control of all background investigations of prospective counterintelligence agents and in April centralized the issue of credentials. The CIC would be an elite force, picking its enlisted personnel from the cream of Selective Service inductees. As Maj. Gen. George V Strong, the assistant chief of staff, G-2, put it, “the personnel of this Corps is of officer caliber.”
The question of overall control was not resolved finally, however. The service commands, as the corps areas were redesignated in March 1942, were the primary users of CIC agents in the first part of the war, and local commanders naturally wanted the convenience and flexibility of procuring their own counterintelligence personnel. For example, the commanding general of the New York Port of Embarkation began to recruit his own agents for the Transportation Corps in March 1942 and, although these individuals were issued Military Intelligence Division credentials, it was not until early 1943 that part of the contingent was assimilated into the Counter Intelligence Corps.
The scope of the CIC’s responsibilities was vastly increased in March 1942, when the Army expanded its existing countersubversive program and gave it new guidelines, modeling it after the similar Army program of World War I. The new countersubversive operation latticed the nation’s military establishment with “an elaborate and fine network of secret agents.” Intelligence officers secretly recruited informants within each unit, on an average ratio of one informant to every thirty men, resulting in a program of enormous proportions. By the summer of 1943 there were 53,000 operatives in just one of the nine service commands in the continental United States and over 150,000 such reports were being filed monthly once the system became fully operational. Although the countersubversive program was administered by unit and installation commanders, not by the Counter Intelligence Corps, CIC agents were assigned to follow up reports of subversive activity. At the War Department level, the process was monitored and coordinated by the Counterintelligence Group of the Military Intelligence Service, which exiled those suspected of sedition to special holding units in the remoter parts of the country.
Inevitably, the new work load led to the expansion and restructuring of the Counter Intelligence Corps. Expansion itself generated an additional work load, since the official CIC history later estimated that the Counter Intelligence Corps in the continental United States allotted half its man-hours to investigate its own applicants. By July 1943 the Corps was authorized a strength of 543 officers and 4,431 enlisted personnel. Officers previously detailed to the organization were now formally transferred and additional officers allotted from officer candidate schools. In the past, all CIC enlisted men had held the rank of sergeant; now corporals and privates were added to the corps. This permitted functional differentiation. Sergeants served as special agents with full investigative powers, and corporals and privates held subordinate positions as agents and counterintelligence clerks. The new arrangements allowed some relaxation in the Counter Intelligence Corps’ appointment standards. For a period in late 1942 and early 1943, service commands once more were allowed to procure and transfer agents and clerks, while Washington retained full control over special agents and officers. In line with the renewed authority given to the field, the Counter Intelligence Corps School in Chicago, previously responsible for training all CIC personnel, now confined its activities to providing advanced courses, allowing the service commands to provide introductory counterintelligence training.
Meanwhile, the Counter Intelligence Corps was forced to relocate its headquarters. At the end of 1942 the War Department, concerned that too many fit young officers were serving in staff assignments in Washington, stipulated that no more than one-third of the officers assigned to any element in Washington, D.C., could be below thirty-five years of age. This “Child Labor Law” literally drove the CIC out of town. In January 1943 the chief of the Counter Intelligence Corps and his staff moved to a dormitory of Goucher College, a fashionable girls’ school in Baltimore, Maryland, that had been taken over by the government for the duration of the war.
While these developments were taking place, the Counter Intelligence Corps was beginning to find a new role with the fighting forces. Heretofore, almost all its duties had been concerned with security in the service commands or in base areas overseas. Special agents in civilian clothes had operated from offices, essentially working in much the same fashion as their civilian counterparts in the FBI. In some cases, CIC agents had been recruited and assigned without completing basic military training. However, when plans were drawn up for the American invasion of North Africa in the fall of 1942, it was decided that CIC personnel would be attached to tactical units in the field. The initial CIC experience with field service was not completely happy The commander of the training camp to which the first group was assigned labeled them “a citizen army of misfits.” Nevertheless, the CIC personnel attached to the North African task force ultimately demonstrated their value in a tactical support role.
Tactical employment gave the Counter Intelligence Corps a whole new raison d’etre. By the middle of 1943 the Army at last began to deploy a sizable portion of its strength overseas. The CIC was affected by this shift. With deployment of tactical CIC detachments to combat situations imminent, the CIC School in Chicago put its students in uniform and placed a new emphasis on counterintelligence operations under battle conditions. The same concern for making counterintelligence personnel ready for combat led to the creation of a Counter Intelligence Corps Staging Area in the summer of 1943 to better prepare units about to go overseas. The staging area, initially located at Logan Field in Baltimore, Maryland, soon moved to nearby Camp Holabird, beginning a long association between Military Intelligence and what would become known as “The Bird.”
By the fall of 1943 the Counter Intelligence Corps appeared to have solved its initial problems and to have become an established part of the Army. Its organization manual finally had been approved, and the new tactical emphasis placed it in step with the rest of the Army. Agents increasingly served in uniform with the troops rather than working as anonymous “spooks” on the fringes of the military establishment. Finally, the War Department transferred control of CIC personnel from the Military Intelligence Service to the using agencies, again bringing the Counter Intelligence Corps into conformity with the rest of the military establishment.
However, the activities of the Counter Intelligence Corps still managed to generate criticism from both within and outside the Army, placing the corps in a bureaucratically vulnerable position. From the viewpoint of the wartime military, the CIC absorbed a disproportionate percentage of high-quality personnel and used them to accomplish what many regarded as a marginal mission. Tradition-minded Army officers disliked the whole business of counterintelligence operations, especially when they involved enlisted personnel investigating officers. The CIC’s investigations of leftist individuals and groups were not universally popular with politicians, particularly since the War Department’s Counterintelligence Group had used the results to exclude some well-connected young men from Officers’ Candidate School. Moreover, some investigations were conducted with more zeal than prudence. In early 1943, for example, the White House discovered that CIC agents had installed listening devices in the hotel suite of the president’s wife in an attempt to monitor the activities of individuals suspected of Communist leanings.
Accumulated resentments eventually found official expression, leading to the temporary eclipse of the Counter Intelligence Corps. In July 1943 Lt. Gen. James J. McNarney the Army deputy chief of staff, directed the Army inspector general to launch an investigation of the CIC. On 5 November 1943, all CIC agents were ordered out of Washington, D.C., and a day later the inspector general submitted a devastating critique of the corps’ operations and organization. Charging that many CIC investigations were “superficial, and unproductive of positive results except in rare instances,” the inspector general found that the only thorough investigations were those made of applicants for CIC or of military and civilian personnel suspected of subversion. However, these categories were overly thorough, since they dragged on after all immediate allegations had been resolved. Moreover, when officers were investigated, CIC procedures resulted in the indiscriminate dissemination of reports containing unverified derogatory information “based on hearsay, gossip, and innuendo,” all of which was “directly contrary to the inherent right of a commissioned officer of the U.S. Army to be advised of imputations and allegations as to his character.” In any case, the countersubversive program that had generated much of the work load was nearly worthless, since the million reports submitted in the first part of 1943 had identified only 600 suspects, and it was possible that many reports had been made on the same individual.
The inspector general’s report equally criticized the organizational concepts that underpinned Counter Intelligence Corps operations in the continental United States. In the security field, he found, the activities of the Counter Intelligence Corps at least partially duplicated what was being done by the investigators assigned to the Provost Marshal General’s Office. In addition, the existing counterintelligence system undermined the concept of command responsibility, since the G-2s in the service commands had to answer both to their commanding generals and to the Counterintelligence Group of the Military Intelligence Service.
The inspector general’s report led to the immediate unraveling of the Counter Intelligence Corps. The countersubversive program was terminated, and most CIC agents in the continental United States were merged with the criminal investigators of the Provost Marshal’s Office to form a new Security Intelligence Corps that operated under the control of the service commands. Although CIC detachments continued to serve with the Army Air Forces, the Manhattan Project, and tactical units, the presence of the Counter Intelligence Corps on the home front was effectively eliminated. The CIC School was transferred to the provost marshal general, its staging area closed, and the position of chief, Counter Intelligence Corps, abolished. The outgoing chief, Col. Harold R. Kibler, blamed the fall of his command on the enmity of the White House, specifically “Harry Hopkins and the Secret Service.” A little later the Counterintelligence Group of the Military Intelligence Service was also eliminated. For the moment, the Army had decided to practically abandon the field of domestic counterintelligence, limiting the CIC to a tactical support role overseas.
This role, however, proved substantial. CIC detachments rolled up nets of enemy agents in Italy, landed in Normandy with the first wave of paratroopers, screened civilians in France, and arrested Nazi officials as U.S. forces overran Germany. In the Pacific, Counter Intelligence Corps units secured enemy documents on the remote islands of Micronesia and worked with local guerrillas rounding up collaborators in the Philippines. To be sure, some distrust of CIC continued throughout the war. Writing in 1946, two experienced Army intelligence officers noted that “the Counterintelligence [sic] Corps (CIC) in World War II was in many ways a peculiar organization, whose personnel (chosen hurriedly and under pressure for their educational rather than military qualifications) frequently got in everybody’s hair.” However, counterintelligence support was essential for American units operating in the midst of an alien population, and 241 CIC detachments would serve in overseas theaters during the course of World War II.
In turn, success overseas revitalized the CIC at home. By the summer of 1945 it was clear that the evisceration of the Counter Intelligence Corps had deprived the Army counterintelligence function of essential institutional support just as needs were increasing. The Army’s role in the occupation of a defeated Germany had placed new demands on the depleted CIC detachments in the European theater, and the pending expansion of military operations in the Pacific to the Japanese mainland threatened to pose even greater potential counterintelligence problems. But the Army now lacked any effective mechanism either to procure new counterintelligence specialists or to redeploy those it already had. Although the Military Intelligence Training Center at Camp Ritchie had begun training counterintelligence personnel in August 1944, the Camp Ritchie program stressed combat intelligence rather than counterintelligence. Moreover, there was no rotation base for the Army’s counterintelligence personnel, since any members of the Counter Intelligence Corps shipped back to the United States were reassigned as individuals to the Army general replacement pool and were lost to their specialty.
These considerations led to the reestablishment of the Counter Intelligence Corps in the continental United States. In July 1945 the Office of Chief, Counter Intelligence Corps, was restored, a new CIC Center and School organized, and both elements placed under the control of the Intelligence Division of the Army Service Forces. Originally located at Fort Meade, the school soon moved to Camp Holabird. In August the Security Intelligence Corps was released from the control of the provost marshal and reassigned to the Intelligence Division, paving the way for its eventual merger into the CIC
CIC Records: A Valuable Tool for
The records of the US Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) are invaluable
for students of intelligence and military history. This little-known but
important organization played a significant role during World War II and the
first decade of the Cold War. While the historical community has pressed for
the declassification of records from the World War II-era Office of
Strategic Services (OSS) and the post-war CIA, CIC’s records, in fact,
promise to shed even greater light on American intelligence activities than
has been previously recognized.
Formed in 1942, the Counter Intelligence Corps’s mandate was to “contribute
to the operations of the Army Establishment through the detection of
treason, sedition, subversive activity, or disaffection, and the detection,
prevention, or neutralization of espionage and sabotage within or directed
against the Army Establishment and the areas of its jurisdiction.” CIC drew
its antecedents from the World War I Corps of Intelligence Police, although
it did not become a significant intelligence organization until World War
II. It gained in status until 1961, when it merged into the newly formed
Intelligence Corps. While CIC concentrated on counterintelligence during
World War II, it expanded into the positive collection of intelligence
behind the Iron Curtain in the years after 1945.
CIC took its missions seriously and, by 1943, it counted over 50,000
informants within the ranks of the US Army. These informants, usually at the
ratio of one per 30 soldiers, provided some 150,000 monthly reports on the
subversive activities of their fellow soldiers. It did not take long for
this security program to become politically controversial, and the Army
forced CIC to curtail its domestic activities.
The new organization really made its mark during the war on foreign shores.
After some difficulties, the CIC deployed detachments at the division,
corps, army, and theater levels to support tactical operations. These
detachments rolled up Nazi stay-behind agents and investigated suspect
civilians and enemy personnel throughout all theaters of the war. CIC field
elements operated independently of other Army intelligence formations,
including signals and engineer intelligence units, the Military Intelligence
Service detachments (responsible for censorship, prisoner of war
interrogation, topographic and photographic intelligence, and
order-of-battle collection), as well as various technical intelligence
collection units, such as the ALSOS mission looking for Nazi atomic research
facilities, the “S Force” in Italy, and the “T Force” in France and Germany.
By 1945, some 5,000 officers and enlisted men worked for CIC worldwide.
Lower-ranking enlisted personnel who served as “special agents” with the
numerous CIC detachments carried out most of the work. After the war, these
CIC veterans scattered to all walks of society upon their discharge from the
Army. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, (then a young German
émigré), for example, was a special agent with the 84th CIC Detachment of
the 84th Infantry Division. Many CIC veterans continued to serve in
intelligence roles as civilian employees of the Department of the Army or
later transferred to the newly formed Central Intelligence Agency after
CIC’s overseas mission did not end with the conclusion of hostilities. It
served as the Army’s chief agency in occupied Austria, Germany, and Italy,
rounding up individuals subject to “automatic arrest” because of their Nazi
affiliations or activities. At the same time, CIC was on the lookout for a
resurgent underground Nazi movement as well as efforts to circumvent Allied
occupation directives. CIC spent a considerable amount of time handling
problems associated with thousands of displaced persons in Western Europe as
well as ensuing black market activities. By 1946, the 970th CIC Detachment
(later designated as the 7970th CIC Detachment in 1948 and then as the 66th
CIC Detachment in 1949) in Germany and the 430th CIC Detachment in Austria
handled the bulk of the early post-war CIC operations.
In Japan, the 441st CIC Detachment performed many of the same roles as its
counterparts in Europe. The considerable challenges in both areas were
compounded by the Army’s reduction of its intelligence facilities and
manpower in the wake of demobilization. Most of CIC’s experienced officers
and enlisted men quit the service, leaving mainly new and inexperienced CIC
special agents in their place. The Military Intelligence Training Center at
Camp Ritchie, Maryland, the training post for most CIC personnel, closed at
the end of the war, and the Army did not establish the CIC Center at Fort
Holabird in Baltimore, Maryland until 1950.
The Army’s intelligence mission was in a state of flux between 1945 and the
Korean War. CIC units in Germany and Austria took it upon themselves to face
the Soviet threat as the Nazi menace receded. Consequently, CIC became the
leading intelligence organization in the American occupation zones. During
this early period, CIC in Europe had greater resources than those allotted
to OSS and its successor organizations, the Strategic Services Unit (SSU)
and the Central Intelligence Group (CIG). Even into the 1950s, CIA and CIC
were still trying to reconcile their intelligence missions overseas in order
to avoid duplication and to coordinate the recruitment of assets. The
tension lingered until American forces withdrew from Austria in 1955, and
West Germany entered NATO in 1956.
The North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950 meant that CIC was not
only involved in a Cold War in Europe but faced a real military conflict in
Asia. The drawdown of American forces in Japan meant that the first CIC unit
deployed to Korea that summer had to be pieced together from the 441st CIC
Detachment in Japan. The 442d CIC Detachment operated in Korea for much of
the war, but it was absorbed by the 8240th Army Unit, which primarily
conducted paramilitary operations behind the lines. Other CIC detachments
served in Korea at the division and corps levels.
The CIC underwent a major expansion during the Korean War. The 1950s proved
to be CIC’s heyday; it enjoyed ample resources and attracted the best and
brightest soldiers brought in by a draft-era Army. The expansion of military
intelligence units throughout the world and their collection activities in
the 1950s also resulted in growing numbers of CIC records–a legacy of great
importance to historians.
Published Sources of Information
The Counter Intelligence Corps left a remarkable paper trail. Several works
provide the framework to understanding CIC’s history, organization, and
personalities. Most important, the US Army Intelligence Center published a
30-volume work, The History of the Counter Intelligence Corps, in 1959.
Originally a classified publication, it provides a detailed history of the
CIC from World War I through the Korean War. The product of several authors
and years of research through scattered intelligence records, the official
CIC history is the most authoritative account of the CIC’s wartime and
peacetime activities. A declassified version of the official history is
available to researchers at the National Archives and Records Administration
(NARA) at College Park, Maryland.
Coupled with the official CIC history, the US Forces European Theater
(USFET) immediately after the war conducted a survey of Army operations in
Europe. Several of the USFET General Board’s reports discuss the
organization and operations of the CIC and other intelligence units in
northwestern Europe in 1944-45. These reports are located at the National
Archives and at the Pentagon Library.
In 1998, the US Army Center of Military History published John Patrick
Finnegan and Romana Danysh’s Military Intelligence in the Army Lineage
Series. In addition to the lineage and honors statements of the current
Regular Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve military intelligence
units, the book contains an excellent history of Army intelligence efforts
and organizations from the Army’s first days until the late 1990s. The book
also contains an extensive bibliography of open source literature dealing
with intelligence matters.
Published works that deal specifically with the CIC are rare. Ian Sayer’s
and Douglas Botling’s 1989 book, America’s Secret Army: The Untold Story of
the Counter Intelligence Corps, is an exception. Drawn primarily from the
1959 official CIC history, the authors added some material to the basic
story (primarily on postwar CIC operations in Europe) as well as
photographs. Otherwise, researchers faces a dearth of new literature on the
overall history of the CIC. This may change if a CIC veterans organization
completes its project to document the CIC’s history.
Perhaps the most interesting of the books on the CIC are those written by
the veterans themselves. Ib Melchoir’s Case by Case: A U.S. Army
Counterintelligence Agent in World War II (Novato: Presidio Press, 1993)
recounts the author’s immigration to the United States from Denmark, his
recruitment into the OSS and transfer to CIC, and his service with the 212th
CIC Detachment in Europe. Melchoir describes in vivid detail his wartime
activities and the people he encountered along the way. The nuances of World
War II counter-
intelligence are readily apparent in these memoirs.
Even more perplexing than the challenges faced by CIC in World War II, the
430th CIC Detachment in Austria encountered a hidden threat–the Soviet
Union. Just how the Army struggled to keep Austria safe from the Communists
is recounted by James V. Milano and Patrick Brogan in Soldiers, Spies, and
the Rat Line: America’s Undeclared War against the Soviets (Washington, DC:
Brassey’s, 1995). Although Colonel (then Major) Milano was not a member of
the 430th CIC Detachment and had not served in CIC during the war, he was
responsible for the unit’s activities from 1945 until 1950. As the chief of
the Operations Branch of the G-2, or Intelligence Section, of the
headquarters of the United States Forces in Austria, Milano worked closely
with the officers and special agents of the 430th CIC Detachment.
The Ratline and Klaus Barbie
Milano coordinated many CIC operations, but he is best known for operating
the infamous “rat line.” Based on the wartime evacuation of downed Allied
airmen in occupied Europe, the rat line smuggled informants and defectors
from the Soviet zone in Austria to safety. The CIC expanded this escape
route to take these same people from Austria to Italian ports, sending them
to safety in South America with false identities paid for by the Army.
Utilizing the services of a wily priest in Rome, Father Krunoslav
Dragonovic, the CIC in Austria effectively subsidized the Croatian cleric’s
own clandestine rat line to transport Ustasha war criminals from Europe to
Soldiers, Spies, and the Rat Line fleshes out many of the vignettes in CIC’s
official history. Writing decades after the events he recounts, Milano shows
that real people were forced to make real life decisions in a time of
crisis. Some decisions were right, and some proved to be wrong. Milano is
quick to note that the rat line in Austria had a specific objective that
became subverted after his return to the United States in 1950. More
importantly, Milano, after many years of silence, is a key eyewitness to
these Cold War intelligence activities.
The arrest and deportation of former German SS officer Klaus Barbie from
Bolivia to France in 1983 raised questions as to how the “Butcher of Lyon”
escaped justice for so many years. Media speculation turned to the Army’s
Counter Intelligence Corps, which facilitated Barbie’s escape from the
American zone of Germany through Austria to Italy and then to South America
in 1951. The news of Barbie’s arrest and his image on American television
led to his recognition by one of his former CIC handlers.
Erhard Dabringhaus contacted NBC News and reported that he had worked with
Barbie while serving as a CIC officer in Germany in 1948. The news rocked
the world, resulting in a major Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation in
which the United States government apologized to the French government for
its role in sheltering the German war criminal. Dabringhaus later wrote
about his role in the affair in Klaus Barbie: The Shocking Story of How the
U.S. Used This Nazi War Criminal as an Intelligence Agent (Washington:
Acropolis Books, 1984). Like Milano, Dabringhaus recalled his CIC role years
afterwards, colored by the knowledge that his actions had affected history
for better or worse.
U.S. Government Investigations
The 1983 DOJ investigation, formally known as Klaus Barbie and the United
States Government: A Report to the Assistant Attorney General, Criminal
Division, is the first examination of the role that the Counter Intelligence
Corps played in postwar Europe. While Allan A. Ryan, director of the Justice
Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the author of the
report, focused primarily on the Army’s relationship with Barbie, he also
uncovered the extent of the CIC’s rat line and its dealings with Father
Dragonovic. The Barbie Report and the declassified documents in the Appendix
provide a valuable account of CIC’s activities in Germany and Austria.
A subsequent OSI report in 1988, Robert Jan Verbelen and the United States
Government: A Report to the Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division,
U.S. Department of Justice, further amplified CIC’s use of Nazi war
criminals and collaborators as informants in the years after World War II.
The Verbelen Report covered in detail the 430th CIC Detachment’s mission and
organizational structure in Austria and how it recruited informants during
the early Cold War. Like the Barbie Report, the Verbelen Report identifies
numerous CIC officers and special agents involved in the case. The OSI
reports, together with the official CIC history and the open source
literature, provide the historical framework in which the Counter
Intelligence Corps operated in the first decade after World War II.
From its formation in 1942 until its consolidation in 1961, the Counter
Intelligence Corps produced untold numbers of pages of reports and other
correspondence. Today, this documentary record is scattered throughout
classified and declassified holdings in numerous agencies of the Federal
Government. Two of the agencies, the National Archives and Records
Administration (NARA) and the Investigative Records Repository (IRR) of the
US Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), hold the bulk of the
surviving CIC records. Researchers, however, should be aware that many CIC
records remain in the possession of other US government agencies, primarily
those in the Intelligence Community. Likewise, researchers should consider
that other repositories of unofficial records, such as the U.S. Army
Military History Institute, may contain information about the Counter
National Archives and Records
NARA’s holdings at Archives II in College Park, Maryland are a gold mine for
information related to the Counter Intelligence Corps. A partial listing
below will provide researchers with clues as to where to search for CIC
records or information about CIC generated by other agencies. It should be
understood that searching for CIC records is a hit-or-miss process.
RG 59 General Records of the Department of State
RG 65 Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
RG 92 Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General
RG 107 Records of the Office of the Secretary of War
RG 111 Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer
RG 153 Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army)
RG 159 Records of the Office of the Inspector General (Army)
RG 160 Records of the Army Service Forces
RG 165 Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs
RG 226 Records of the Office of Strategic Services
RG 238 National Archives Collection of World War II War Crimes Records
RG 242 National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized
RG 260 Records of U.S. Occupation Headquarters, World War II
RG 263 Records of the Central Intelligence Agency
RG 278 Records of the Displaced Persons Commission
RG 319 Records of the Army Staff
RG 331 Records of Allied Operational and Occupation Headquarters, World War
RG 332 Records of U.S. Theaters of War, World War II
RG 335 Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Army
RG 337 Records of the Headquarters Army Ground Forces
RG 338 Records of U.S. Army Commands, 1942-
RG 373 Records of the Defense Intelligence Agency
RG 389 Records of the Office of the Provost Marshal, 1941-
RG 407 Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1917-
RG 466 Records of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany
As can be seen, no single repository for CIC records exists at the National
Archives. Instead, CIC material can be found in numerous record groups
without any sense of order. Record Group 319, the Records of the Army Staff,
contains the best single collection of CIC records. The Records of the U.S.
Army Intelligence Command 1917-73, in RG 319, include a large collection of
Counter Intelligence Corps material, including the 1959 official history and
information on various CIC detachments. In addition to CIC unit histories
and annual reports, RG 319 also has historical material compiled by an
individual researcher and former member of CIC, Thomas M. Johnson.
RG 319 contains both classified and declassified material. Under Executive
Order 12958, the Army and the National Archives have been processing CIC
records for declassification. NARA has some 60 million pages of Army
material that need to be reviewed under the 25-year declassification order.
Consequently, it is impossible to tell when all of the CIC material will be
available to researchers.
In addition to the CIC records at NARA, Record Group 319 also has some 8,000
personal dossiers and 1,000 organizational dossiers from the Investigative
Records Repository. Some of this material is already declassified while
other dossiers are currently being reviewed. Many of these dossiers were
opened by CIC.
Investigative Records Repository
The Investigative Records Repository (IRR) at Fort George G. Meade,
Maryland, is the controlling agency for all intelligence records compiled by
the US Army in support of intelligence and counterintelligence activities.
The IRR falls under the direct command of the 310th Military Intelligence
Battalion of the 902d Military Intelligence Group at Fort Meade which, in
turn, reports to the US Army Intelligence and Security Command at Fort
Belvoir, Virginia. INSCOM, formed in 1977 by the merger of the US Army
Intelligence Agency and the US Army Security Agency, is the Army’s chief
intelligence organization. The IRR provides daily support to Army
intelligence units throughout the world and other intelligence agencies as
needed. It is neither an archive nor a research facility, nor does it have
the personnel or expertise to handle research requests from the public (with
the exception of Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act requests).
While the IRR has several sources for its records (including ongoing Army
security investigations), the Army’s CIC records are found primarily in
three file series and in the Central Registry. The file series (Foreign
Personnel and Organization files, Intelligence/Counterintelligence files,
and Counterintelligence/Security Investigations) contain the bulk of the CIC
investigative records. The Central Registry, established by the 970th CIC
Detachment in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1946, contains an index to CIC records
on persons and incidents in Europe as well as a few Far Eastern countries
and the United States. Returned to the United States in 1968, the Central
Registry has about 4.7 million personal index cards as well as 100,000
topics and subjects in the Impersonal Index, and more than one million files
on individuals, groups, or organizations. The vast majority of the CIC
records were microfilmed in the 1950s and 1960s on some 10,000 reels of
microfilm, which were returned to the United States with the Central
Registry. The microfilm is organized into eight different series.
Under the auspices of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act (NWCDA), the IRR is
electronically scanning all of the microfilm (which is deteriorating with
the passage of time) to expedite the tracing of individuals and to identify
records for review and declassification. The IRR transfers to NARA its
declassified files, including many personal and impersonal dossiers. The
Army expects to finish the scanning of its microfilm records by the end of
this year so as to meet the deadlines for review and declassification
specified under the Act. While the NWCDA review will not declassify all CIC
records at the IRR, the Army is taking a serious look at all its historical
holdings from the CIC period for the first time in decades.
Kevin C. Ruffner,
CIA History Staff