Lawmaker Reintroduces Bill to Release Documents on Nazis

As countries around the world are moving to open their files on Nazi criminals, some members of Congress are moving to give Nazi hunters more access to pertinent information from U.S. sources.

As promised last August, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) recently reintroduced legislation that would ensure that the U.S. government fully disclose any information it has on NAZI war criminals.

The bill, known as the War Crimes Disclosure Act, would apply to all individuals on the so-called “Watch List” of aliens who are excluded from the United States because of their Nazi activities.

The bill would amend the Freedom of Information Act to require government agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the Justice Department, the State Department, the Defense Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Department to release information about such individuals.

Under current law, agencies can block such requests if they view that information as a threat to national security, even if the information is outdated.

The proposed legislation would close that loophole by specifying that the information must be a current threat to national security.

“We cannot use outdated Cold War excuses to keep valuable information about Nazi war criminals from the public,” Maloney said in a news release.

The legislation would also exclude access to purely personal information.

Under the proposed legislation, information long sought about Kurt Waldeim would be made available.

The CIA has denied repeated requests to disclose its files on Waldheim, a former U.N. secretary-general and president of Austria. Waldheim served as an intelligence office in the Balkans during World War II and has been implicated in connection with deportations and reprisal killings of partisans.

If the Maloney bill passes, information now unavailable would be more available, said Aaron Breitbart, a senior researcher at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“This information will help us,” Breitbart said, nothing that under current law the information made available is “totally arbitrary.”

Maloney, the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, introduced a similar bill last August, in the dying days of the 103rd Congress.

The current legislation, revived last month, has 11 sponsors.

Maloney said she hopes to hold hearings on the bill in the near future.

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