THE PAPERCLIP CONSPIRACY: The Hunt for the Nazi Scientists

Tom Bower
Little, Brown Boston; 309 pages; $17.95

An air of secrecy and jealousy permeates the small room set aside for visiting researchers on the 13th floor of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. There, in the archive’s Modern Military Branch, with its newly declassified files, historians and journalists sit elbow to elbow, hunched over documents, rarely speaking to one another. Exposés are in the making.

Some of the hottest documents scrutinized there in recent years relate to "Project Paperclip," the code name for America’s vast, secret postwar program aimed at plundering the brainpower of Germany and Austria after World War II. Officials in the U.S. Defense Department and the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency bypassed a presidential order and other immigration restrictions against bringing in "ardent Nazis" or war criminals. By forging dossiers and suppressing evidence, project directors brought almost 800...

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