Counterintelligence Corps

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Group.png Counterintelligence Corps  
(Intelligence Agency)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Counter Intelligence Corps logo.png
MottoAlways out front
SuccessorUnited States Army Intelligence and Security Command
Formation13 December 1941
HeadquartersThe Pentagon
Membership• Leroy Anderson
• Donald L. Barlett
• Noel Behn
• Willy Brandt
• John F. Collins
• Miles Copeland Jr.
• Philip J. Corso
• J. Griffin Crump
• William E. Dannemeyer
• Mike Gravel
• Bill Hartman
• Anthony Hecht
• Clint Hill
• Henry Kissinger
• Arthur Komori
• Morton Kondracke
• Robie Macauley
• John J. McFall
• William A. McNeill
• Ib Melchior
• George J. Mitchell
• Tom Moody
• William Hughes Mulligan
• Walter Pincus
• Cruz Reynoso
• Richard Sakakida
• J. D. Salinger
• Jerry Seltzer
• Richard A. Snyde
• Bob Shamansky
• Michel Thomas
• William Lewis Uanna
• Donald Lunde
• Klaus Barbie
• Karl Hass
• Robert Norton Shamansky
U.S. intelligence service active from 1941 to 1961. It became noticeable for recruiting and protecting former German and other Axis operatives; including by operating "ratlines" to South America. Conducted large-scale surveillance in the United States itself.

The Counter Intelligence Corps (Army CIC) was a World War II and early Cold War intelligence agency within the United States Army consisting of highly trained special agents. It became noticeable for taking under its wings former German and other Axis operatives.

One of CIC's operations in post-war Europe was the operation of "ratlines" – conduits for spiriting wanted war criminals and former German collaborators from Eastern Europe (many guilty of heinous crimes) to safety in South America. It was also involved in Operation Paperclip, the recruitment of German scientists and experts in rocketry, chemical and biological warfare.


The CIC had its origins in the Corps of Intelligence Police founded by Ralph Van Deman in 1917. This organization, operating within the USA and on attachment to the American Expeditionary Force in France, at its peak numbered over 600 men. However, in the post-war period, the policy of isolationism, retrenchment of military spending and economic depression meant that by the mid-1930s its numbers had fallen to fewer than 20 personnel.

World War II

The looming threat of war in the late 1930s brought an expansion of the CIP back to its World War I levels, and the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941 brought an even greater expansion, and a new name. On 13 December 1941 the Adjutant General of the Army issued an order renaming the CIP as the Counter Intelligence Corps, effective from 1 January 1942.[1] A new complement of 543 officers and 4,431 non-commissioned agents was authorized. The CIC recruited men with legal, police or other investigative backgrounds, and particularly looked for men with foreign language skills. Special CIC teams were created during World War II in Europe, in large part from the Military Intelligence Service personnel. However, there were never enough of these and local interpreters were often recruited.[2]

As most CIC agents in the field (as well as Military Intelligence Service in Europe) held only non-commissioned officer rank— corporals and various grades of sergeant— they wore either plain clothes, or uniforms without badges of rank; in place of rank insignia, and so as not to be perceived as privates, agents typically wore officer "U.S." collar insignia. They were instructed to identify themselves only as "Agent" or "Special Agent" as appropriate, in order to facilitate their work. These practices continue among modern counterintelligence agents.[3]

Within the U.S. the CIC, in collaboration with the Provost Marshal General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), carried out background checks on military personnel having access to classified material, investigations of possible sabotage and subversion, and allegations of disloyalty, especially those directed against Americans of Japanese, Italian or German ancestry. Despite the prohibitions in the delimitation agreement with the FBI, the CIC ended up devoting considerable effort to civilian investigations. [4]

Bugging Eleanor Roosevelt

However the use of informants within the Army became politically controversial, and CIC was forced to curtail its activities. In particular, the CIC was ordered to cease its domestic investigations, to destroy its investigative records, and to ship its agents out to overseas theaters.[5] The reason for this sudden and unprecedented expulsion has never been clarified.

One theory was expressed in the official history of the Corps, "the speed [of these events] left little doubt that someone—possibly Communists who still held key positions in government—was determined to halt CIC investigative activities in the United States".[6]

Another possible explanation is that the CIC "mistakenly" bugged the hotel room of Eleanor Roosevelt (a known lesbian, this would have been prime blackmail material) and incurred the President’s wrath. In any event, the CIC protected the investigative records it had so painstakingly accumulated. According to Sayer and Botting (p. 47) "When the command was given to cease any investigations of known or suspected Communists and destroy all files on such persons immediately, eight of the nine Corps Area Commanders took the remarkable step of disobeying this order". According to the official history of the Corps, this information proved highly valuable in controlling communism: "the information acquired by CIC from May 1941 to September 1945 regarding communism and its adherents played a major part in keeping communism under control in the United States ever since".[7]

Manhattan Project

CIC units were also involved in providing security for the Manhattan Project, including duty as couriers of fissionable bomb materials from Los Alamos, New Mexico to Tinian. They also operated in 1945 at the United Nations Organizing Conference in San Francisco, over which Alger Hiss presided as secretary-general.[8] Three years later, when Alger Hiss was accused of being a Communist and filed a libel suit against his accuser, his lawyers unwittingly hired an undercover CIC Special Agent as their Chief Investigator to help prepare his libel suit.[9]

In the European and Pacific theaters of operations CIC deployed detachments at all levels. These detachments provided tactical intelligence about the enemy from captured documents, interrogations of captured troops, and from para-military and civilian sources. They were also involved in providing security for military installations and staging areas, located enemy agents, and acted to counter stay-behind networks. They also provided training to combat units in security, censorship, the seizure of documents, and the dangers of booby traps. In some cases CIC agents such as Henry Kissinger found themselves acting as the de facto military government on the occupation of large towns before the arrival of Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories (AMGOT) officers. As the war in Europe came to a close, CIC were involved in the Operations Alsos, Paperclip and TICOM, searching for German personnel and research in atomic weapons, rockets and cryptography.

Recruits after World War II included Klaus Barbie, also known as the 'Butcher from Lyon', a former Gestapo member and war criminal; and Karl Hass, member of the SS and the Sicherheitsdienst stationed during the war in the infamous Via Tasso HQ in Rome; he was one of the organizers and executioners of the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Post-war operations

In the immediate post-war period, the CIC operated in the occupied countries, particularly Japan, Germany and Austria, countering the black market, and searching for and arresting notable members of the previous governments. Despite the problem of demobilization, with many experienced agents returning to civilian life, CIC became the leading intelligence organization in the American occupation zones, and very soon found themselves became active in the emerging Cold War.

CIC actively continued counterintelligence activities in the Cold War, Korean War and Vietnam War.

Operation Paperclip

At the end of World War II CIC agents were successful in an operation called Paper Clip that obtained German rocket scientists, and experts on chemical and biological warfare, for American use. This action aided in the success of the American rocket development program, and the chemical and biological weapons programs.

The ratlines

Full article: ratlines

One of CIC's operations in post-war Europe was the operation of "ratlines" – conduits for spiriting wanted war criminals and former German collaborators from Eastern Europe (many guilty of heinous crimes) to safety in South America, via Italy, with false identities paid for by CIC. The 1983 arrest of former SS officer Klaus Barbie in Bolivia raised questions as to how the "Butcher of Lyon" had escaped. It was then revealed that Barbie had worked for CIC from 1947, and in 1951 had been provided with the means of escape in return for his services as an agent and informant.

A Department of Justice investigation also uncovered the CIC's dealings with Father Krunoslav Draganović, a Croatian cleric based in Rome, who while working for CIC, also operated his own clandestine rat-line to transport Ustaše war criminals to Latin America.

A further report in 1988 also examined the CIC's use of Nazi war criminals and collaborators as informants in the years after World War II. In June 1988, Office of Special Investigations within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice issued a public report which revealed that "at least 14 suspected Nazi war criminals, a number of whom likely were involved in the murder of Jews in occupied Europe, had been employed as intelligence informants by the CIC in Austria."[10]

Surveillance in the United States

While serving in the U.S. Army in the 1960s, Christopher H. Pyle learned that "Army intelligence had 1500 plain clothes agents watching every demonstration of 20 people or more throughout the United States". Pyle’s disclosures led to Congressional investigations and a crackdown on what was regarded as the Army’s investigative excesses. This ended what advocates regarded as the peak of counterintelligence efficiency: "At the height of the disturbance period, a CIC agent could get a report from the street to Fort Holabird HQ in 20 minutes, from practically any city in the U.S., seconds or brief minutes later the report was in Operations Center in a lower basement of the Pentagon".[11]

Later activities

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 meant that CIC was once again involved in a military conflict, and it underwent a major expansion. However this proved to be CIC's last chance to enjoy resources and recruits.

Its role was taken over by the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps in 1961 and, in 1967, by the United States Army Intelligence Agency.

The National Counter Intelligence Corps Association (NCICA), a veterans' association, was established in the years immediately following World War II by Military Intelligence agents who had served in every area of military and domestic operations. The organization meets annually. Its newsletter, the Golden Sphinx, was published quarterly.

Notable CIC agents


Known members

6 of the 36 of the members already have pages here:

Klaus Barbie
Willy Brandt
Mike GravelUS politician who read the Pentagon Papers into the US Congressional record and publicly criticised the 9-11/Official narrative
Henry KissingerUS deep politician, 40+ Bilderbergs, Nobel peace prize, war criminal
George MitchellLe Cercle
Walter PincusA CIA asset in the corporate media


  1. "COUNTER-ESPIONAGE IS REVIVED BY ARMY: Corps Reorganized to Combat Sabotage and Disloyalty," The New York Times, 13 January 1942; p. 11.
  2. "Counter Intelligence Corps: History and Mission in WWII", U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA 17013-5008.
  3. Counter Intelligence in World War II
  4. The quotation is on p. 1093. For an account of CIC encroachment into territory designated by the chapter World War II: Expanding the Boundaries.
  5. On 5 November 1943 the Army ordered all CIC agents out of Washington, D.C. On the following day, the Army Inspector General submitted a devastating report on the CIC. In February 1944 the position of Chief, Counter Intelligence Corps was abolished and CIC Headquarters was dissolved.
  6. The History of the Counter Intelligence Corps, p. 70.
  7. The History of the Counter Intelligence Corps, volume 7, p. 1123.
  8. For the account of one agent working under cover at the San Francisco conference and photos of fellow agents there, see Special Agent Leonard L. (Igor) Gorin "United Nations Formation 1945—CIC Security Role". Golden Sphinx, Serial Issue #2004-3, Winter 2004-5, pp. 16–20.
  9. See "Bringing Alger Hiss to Justice" by Stephen Salant.
  10. "Implementation of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act: An Interim Report to Congress," October, 1999
  11. The quotation is from Ann Bray, one of the contributors to The History of the Counter Intelligence Corps. At the time of her death, she was writing a book on the Corps and this passage from its last chapter is quoted in Duval Edwards' account on pp. 281–2.
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