Interagency Working Group (IWG)

Interagency Working Group (IWG): Summary Meeting Minutes

September 27, 2002, 1:00 p.m.; 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004

Participants:

National Archives and Records Administration
Stephen Garfinkel (Chair)

Public Members
Thomas Baer
Richard Ben-Veniste
Elizabeth Holtzman

Department of Defense
Christina Bromwell

Federal Bureau of Investigation
William Hooton

Central Intelligency Agency
Absent

 

National Security Council
William H. Leary

Department of Justice/Office of Special Investigations
Eli Rosenbaum

Department of State/Office of the Historian
Marc Susser

United States Holocaust Memorial Musem
Absent

Other agency personnel, IWG staff and consultants were present.


Steven Garfinkel, IWG Chair, opened the meeting by stating that the IWG Public Members, historians, auditors and other staff had met with most of the agencies to discuss the beginning phase of the preparation of the Final Report and to answer any questions they might have. He noted that relevant materials continue to come to the attention of the IWG and the beginning effort on the Final Report does not mean the end of the IWG effort. He continued that the staff is putting together a summary of the search strategy of each agency for presentation to the Historical Advisory Panel (HAP) for its meeting on October 26, 2002.

Mr. Garfinkel said he had planned to bid a fond farewell at this meeting to David Holmes, the CIA Representative. However, since he was not in attendance, Mr. Garfinkel wished him well on his upcoming retirement in absentia. Mr. Garfinkel described him as a consummate professional who will be missed very much.

The Chair then noted that Public Member Tom Baer had requested that the agenda include a discussion of the status of Gehlen-related materials. Mr. Baer began the discussion by noting that the CIA did not admit its own direct involvement with the Gehlen organization for many years. It was only after a lawsuit was filed that the DCI confirmed CIA's support and use of the Gehlen organization. According to Mr. Baer, many former Nazi officers who served in the Gehlen organization were actually Soviet agents employed to infiltrate first the CIC, then the CIA, and finally the West German intelligence agency. Mr. Baer continued that there are three different types of Gehlen files which have been received at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park.

Mr. Van Tassel said actually there are four types of files on the Gehlen organization in which the CIA has equities:

  • CIA Name Files containing about 500 pages of files on Gehlen
  • Declassified history entitled "The CIA and the Origins of the BND" - 2 volumes
  • Name Files on Gehlen-associated individuals
  • Army file being released as a result of Oglesby vs. Army, a FOIA suit in which CIA is taking the lead in declassification review of CIC files on Gehlen.

Mr. Van Tassel reported that Mr. Holmes had told him that the review of the file mentioned in #4 is almost finished. Mr. Baer said that IWG has not received all the name files from CIA and there is a need for Army to convince CIA that these files should be released expeditiously.

The agenda then turned to a report by Historical Advisory Panel member Linda Holmes. Ms Holmes gave a summary of a paper (previously distributed electronically to members) she has written on Japanese biological experimentation on American POWs during World War II. This opened up a discussion leading to questions about what materials might still be sought on Unit 731. Mr. Ben-Veniste complimented Ms Holmes on her report and said it was a jumping off place for searching for Unit 731 materials. Mr. Van Tassel noted that Greg Bradsher, NARA archivist, has done a study of the exploitation and return of the many Japanese records that were originally held at the Washington Document Center.

Mr. Garfinkel introduced Mr. Jesse Hua, who was a visitor to the IWG meeting as well as Mr. Ao Wang, both representatives of organizations interested in the Pacific Theater. Peter Knutsen from Congressman Mike Honda's office also attended. Mr. Hua said that when he had been researching files at NARA earlier in the week, he found that there were documents that had been removed from some of the files by the Department of State. Mr. Van Tassel explained the NARA method of using withdrawal sheets to note unopened documents within a file. He indicated that records reflected on such sheets that are relevant to the IWG's effort will be reviewed for declassification. He asked that anyone who comes across such withdrawal sheets to advise him and he will try to have the pertinent records declassified as soon as possible and returned to their proper file locations.

The IWG Auditors then gave their monthly report. Ms Holtzman requested that some portions of the charts be revised for the sake of clarity. Mr. Baer responded that the audit team has done a fine job in highlighting the volume of effort by every IWG agency. Ms Holtzman then asked about the State Department review. Mr. Dowling reported that State has completed the Nazi effort and is almost done with their search for Japanese documents. He said that they are now compiling a list of the documents that are to be withheld in full to go to Secretary Powell for eventual transmission to the Congress. Ms Holtzman asked about these documents. Mr. Dowling said that the Public Members had reviewed them previously except for several Japanese reports that he and the Audit team will examine soon.

Mr. Garfinkel noted that the next IWG meeting was set for Friday, October 25 at 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue at 1 p.m. The HAP will meet on the following day, October 26. If a Public Member or an Agency Representative would like to join the HAP members at the Old Town Holiday Inn, Alexandria, please let Mr. Taylor know by October 17.

The meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.

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