New evidence: Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg was a U.S. espionage asset
For five decades, mystery has blanketed key parts of the remarkable story of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved at least 20,000 Hungarian Jews from the Nazis. U.S. intelligence kept mum lest it confirm the Soviet charge that he had been an American spy. The silence was purposeful: There were strong hopes that he was alive in the gulag but stronger fears that any hint of his ties to U.S. intelligence would stoke Soviet anger.
But a six-month investigation–involving examination of thousands of recently declassified files, some of which the Central Intelligence Agency just released to U.S. News under the Freedom of Information Act, and scores of interviews with American, Russian and European sources–shows conclusively that Wallenberg was a valued U.S. intelligence asset. His appointment was approved by President Franklin Roosevelt, and his mission was not only to save Jews but to provide U.S. spymasters with access to anti-Nazi resistance forces trying to break up Budapest’s alliance with Berlin. For the Office of Strategic Services–precursor to the CIA–Wallenberg was probably the only reliable man in wartime Budapest.
Confirmation. One of the newly released CIA documents is a 1990 memo in which William Henhoeffer, curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection, declares that revelations of Wallenberg’s intelligence connections “are essentially correct.” CIA historian Kevin Ruffner agrees: “On the basis of the files cited in your article, it is a reasonable conclusion that Raoul Wallenberg was of benefit to American intelligence.” Donald Jameson, a former senior CIA official, calls this statement “a virtual admission that Wallenberg was used by us. It is a minimum statement the CIA can make and still be plausible.”