CIC Records:
A valuable Tool for Researchers


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.

Historical Background

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 1947.

New Missions

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

Latin America.

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.

CIC Records

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

Intelligence Corps.

National Archives and Records Administration 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.

  1. RG 59 General Records of the Department of State

  1. RG 65 Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

  1. RG 92 Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General

  1. RG 107 Records of the Office of the Secretary of War

  1. RG 111 Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer

  1. RG 153 Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army)

  1. RG 159 Records of the Office of the Inspector General (Army)

  1. RG 160 Records of the Army Service Forces

  1. RG 165 Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs

  1. RG 226 Records of the Office of Strategic Services

  1. RG 238 National Archives Collection of World War II War Crimes Records

  1. RG 242 National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized

  1. RG 260 Records of U.S. Occupation Headquarters, World War II

  1. RG 263 Records of the Central Intelligence Agency

  1. RG 278 Records of the Displaced Persons Commission

  1. RG 319 Records of the Army Staff

  1. RG 331 Records of Allied Operational and Occupation Headquarters, World War II

  1. RG 332 Records of U.S. Theaters of War, World War II

  1. RG 335 Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Army

  1. RG 337 Records of the Headquarters Army Ground Forces

  1. RG 338 Records of U.S. Army Commands, 1942-

  1. RG 373 Records of the Defense Intelligence Agency

  1. RG 389 Records of the Office of the Provost Marshal, 1941-

  1. RG 407 Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917-

  1. 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


US strategy in Austria in
and after WWII – Synopsis

The majority of documents concerning the military and  political strategy regarding the "Austrian theater" from the longterm aims of the US Administration are not jet released under the
"Freedom of Information Act".

Nevertheless, we will, as we have our own sound recourses, soon be able to provide historically and scientifically solid evaluations.

in preparation - soon to come