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Intelligence Agencies and History

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Date Host Ian Punnett
Guests Brian Crim, Howard Bloom

Associate Professor of history at Lynchburg College, Brian E. Crim joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) to discuss Project Paperclip, and how intelligence has always been politicized. He began with a history of the thorny ethical background of what was initially called "Operation Overcast," which was developed during WWII with the goal of locating and interrogating Nazi rocket scientists by the end of the war. This progressed, Crim said, to a lax attitude by the American authorities toward valuable Nazi military and civilian officials as they "weren't interested in the truth because of what they had to offer." The "truth" consisted of how deeply these captured personnel were involved in Nazi ideology and activities, and how much of those values remained.

Crim said that both presidents Roosevelt and Truman were against the idea of capturing and importing German scientists, even though Truman was told that "a few rare chosen minds" would be brought to the United States. The Paperclip program eventually ended up importing approximately 1500 scientists, technicians, and specialists. In the most extreme cases of truly reprehensible individuals (such as concentration camp medical officers), Crim said that some were sent to countries with "regimes that were far more pliable than the United States," such as Argentina, and even India and Egypt. This allowed the US to "borrow" their minds without there actually living on American soil.

Crim said he was "surprised" at how well chief rocket scientist Wernher von Braun had coached his staff to surrender to US authorities, because they "all had the same answers" designed to please the Americans, no matter what their actual beliefs. When they arrived in the US., Crim noted that some of their reprehensible beliefs were actually not that different than some of the communities where they were settled. He added that some of the Germans actually held American values in contempt and eventually "didn't feel the need to hide it." Along the way, "many immigration laws, as well as treaties, were broken" in the interest of gaining a technological edge on other countries, he added. Crim concluded that the Paperclip program was essentially "an export of the German military-industrial complex to the US military-industrial complex."

Life During COVID-19

In the first hour, author and commentator Howard Bloom discussed life now and after COVID-19. Bloom stressed that vigorous testing for antibodies and a strict policy of quarantine for those found to be carrying the virus has been successful in South Korea, which he noted, "knew they had a big problem far earlier than we did." Bloom did concede that in the last few days, the death and infection rate seems to have plateaued, and we may be "reaching that flattening of the curve we were hoping for." He believes that more activities will (and should) be conducted online in the aftermath of the pandemic, such as going to work in an office, which he commented is "not as necessary as it used to be."

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