The documents were declassified as part of the Nazi War Criminals Disclosure Act of 1998.
West German Intelligence informed the US in March 1958 of the whereabouts of the senior Gestapo officer, who was living under the alias "Clemens" in Argentina where he had arrived seven years earlier.
It was not US policy at the time to go after Nazi criminals since they were still recruited for Cold War operations.
"It now appears that West Germany could have captured him in 1958, if it wished to," said University of Virginia historian Timothy Naftali. He also said that CIA helped West Germany at the time to suppress part of Eichmann's diary - which was in the possession of Life magazine - that would have embarrassed West German national security adviser Hans Globke, himself a former Nazi.
Eichmann was captured by Israelis in 1960 in Argentina. He was tried in Jerusalem and received the death penalty."
The released documents include everyday reports, correspondence, memorandums, and translations created and collected by the CIA. They include the following highlights:
- New records of the CIA provide a clearer outline of Tscherim Soobzokov’s involvement with the CIA as an agent in Jordan, and they show how the Agency in the mid-1970s misled INS about its suspicions concerning possible Soobzokov involvement in war crimes.
- CIA reports related to Heinz Felfe, a former SS intelligence officer who served in the Gehlen Organization, indicate to a greater extent than ever before the level at which former SS officials were hired and exploited on both sides of the Cold War Divide.
- The CIA organized stay-behind networks of German agents in the American zone of Germany, one of which involved at least 2 former members of the SS. Also the files show that West German intelligence had the information needed to capture fugitive war criminal Adolf Eichmann in the 1950s but feared the consequences of what he might say about State Secretary Dr. Hans Globke, a highly-placed former Nazi in the Adenauer government.
- The CIA files provide new information about Dr. Gustav Hilger, a figure with a high-level wartime German past who nonetheless was considered a valuable contribution by some in American intelligence about the postwar Soviet Union.
This story includes material from US reveals Nazi war criminal's location was known two years before his capture - Wikinews