WASHINGTON (Apr. 5)
Opposition is mounting here to increased U.S. funding for Interpol, the international police organization headquartered in Paris, which is alleged to have had a Nazi past and has been accused by some Israelis of having given the Palestine Liberation Organization access to information submitted to it by Israel. The matter of future U.S. relations with Interpol is the subject of hearings by the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and International Law.
The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Joshua Eilberg (D.Pa.), is considering whether the U.S. should authorize an increase in its dues to Interpol which serves as a clearing house for information about criminals and criminal activities between its 124 member countries. Attention has been given charges by Hugh Wilhere, chairman of the National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice (NCLE), a group that has been detailing Interpol activities over the years, that Interpol cooperates “with criminal terrorist organizations” and that the American police “have been duped into cooperation” with it.
The House panel is especially concerned with allegations that Interpol complied with “laundered” requests by certain Eastern European countries for information in a Western country about American citizens. Last year, Rep. Ed Beard (D.R.I.) introduced legislation to bring Interpol under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts when information about U.S. citizens was said to have been circulated.
A recent report by the General Accounting Office (GAO) prepared for Rep. John Moss (D.Calif.) found that most requests from Interpol for information about American citizens “involved individuals with no prior criminal record.” The GAO found that there is no absolute control over information disseminated abroad by Interpol.
Assistant Attorney General Glen Pommerening was unable to satisfy the subcommittee last week when questioned by it on whether the PLO had access to information submitted to Interpol by Israel. Charges that Interpol has failed to track down wanted Nazi war criminals were also unanswered.
Former Secretary of the Treasury William Simon was reported to have said that Interpol could not enter into such searches because Nazism was a political matter. Three weeks ago, U.S. control over American participation was shifted from the Treasury to the Justice Department and thus came under the purvue of Eilberg’s subcommittee.
The NCLE charged recently that Interpol has refused to participate in efforts to combat aerial hijacking and other acts of international terror although repeatedly asked to do so by various countries. It also charged that Interpol was deeply involved with Nazism before and during World War II and during the war period worked virtually hand-in-hand with the Gestapo.
As recently as 1972, the president of Interpol was Paul Dickopf, described by the NCLE as a former Nazi SS officer. The NCLE pointed out that contrary to popular belief, Interpol is a private organization, not an international police force.