Operation Paperclip by Annie Jacobson (Excerpts regarding Hitler’s Chemists – Fritz Hoffmann)
This nerve agent was code-named VX (the V stood for venomous)–a battlefield killer that was three times more toxic than sarin when inhaled and one thousand times more lethal when it came into contact with the skin. Ten milligrams of VX could kill a man in fifteen minutes. VX would be more effective on the battlefield than sarin ever would be; sarin dissipated within fifteen or so minutes, but when VX was sprayed, it stayed on the ground for up to twenty-one days. Now, in 1957, the Chemical Corps began producing VX by the thousands of tons. Operation Paperclip scientist Fritz Hoffmann moved over from synthesizing tabun at Edgewood to working on VX munitions. But Fritz Hoffmann’s more haunting legacy lies in the work he performed for the CIA’s Special Operations Division and the Chemical Corps’ antiplant division. Antiplant agents include chemical or biological pathogens, as well as insects, that are then used as part of a program to harm crops, foliage, or other plant life.
After the death of Frank Olson, the SO Division continued its LSD mind control schemes, But Sidney Gottlieb, the man who had suggested poisoning Frank Olson at the CIA safe house in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, was assigned to also work on the CIA’s assassination-by-poison program. Fritz Hoffmann was one of the chemists at the locus of the program. “He was our teacher,” Edgewood laboratory director Dr. Seymour Silver told journalist Linda Hunt. “He was the guy who brought to our attention any discoveries that happened around the world and then said, ‘Here’s a new chemical, you better test it.'”….. page 384
“During the Vietnam War, I remember one evening we were at the dinner table and the war was on the news,” Gabriella Hoffmann explains. The family was watching TV. “Dad was usually a quiet man, so when he spoke up you remembered it. He pointed to the news–you could see the jungles of Vietnam, and he said, ‘Wouldn’t it be easier to defoliate the trees so you could see the enemies?’ That’s what he said. I remember it clearly. Years later I learned one of Dad’s projects was the development of Agent Orange.”
The army’s herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War started in August 1961 and lasted until February 1971. More than 11.4 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed over approximately 24 percent of South Vietnam, destroying 5 million acres of uplands and forests and 500,000 acres of food crops–an area about the size of the state of Massachusetts. An additional 8 million gallons of other anti-crop agents, code-named Agents White, Blue, Purple, and Green, were also sprayed, mostly from C-123 cargo planes. Fritz Hoffmann was one of the earliest known U.S. Army Chemical Corps scientists to research the toxic effects of dioxin–possibly in the mid-1950s but for certain in 1959–as indicated in what has become known as the Hoffmann Trip Report. This document is used in almost every legal record pertaining to litigation by U.S. military veterans against the U.S. government and chemical manufacturers for its usage of herbicides and defoliants in the Vietnam War.
Fritz Hoffmann’s untimely death came like something out of a Special Operations Division’s Agent Branch playbook. He suffered a serious illness that came on quickly, lasted for a relatively short time, and was followed by death. On Christmas Eve 1966, Fritz Hoffmann was diagnosed with cancer. Racked with pain, he lay in bed watching his favorite television shows–“Cowboy westerns and Rod Serling in the Twilight Zone,” Gabriella Hoffmann recalls. One hundred days later, Fritz Hoffmann was dead. He was fifty-six years old.
page 387 – 388
Also in the first three months of the CIA’s existence, the National Security Council issued Directive No. 3, dealing specifically with the “production of intelligence and the coordination of intelligence activities within the intelligence community.” The National Security Council wanted to know who was producing what intelligence and how that information was being coordinated among agencies. In the opinion of the CIA, “the link between scientific planning and military research on a national scale did not hitherto exist.” The result was the creation of the Scientific Intelligence Committee (SIC), chaired by the CIA and with members from the army, the navy, the air force, the State Department, and the Atomic Energy Commission. “Very early in its existence the SIC undertook to define scientific intelligence, delineate areas of particular interest and establish committees to handle these areas,” wrote SIC chairman Dr. Karl Weber, in a CIA monograph that remained classified until September 2008. “Priority was accorded to atomic energy, biological warfare, chemical warfare, electronic warfare, guided missiles, aircraft, undersea warfare and medicine” –every area involving Operation Paperclip scientists. Each scientific intelligence subcommittees were created, one for each area of warfare.
Despite the urgency. the JIOA’s plan to make Operation Paperclip over into a long-term program was still at a standstill. By the spring of 1948, half of the one thousand German scientists bound for America had arrived, but not a single one of them had a visa. Troublemaker Samuel Klaus was gone from the State Department, but the JIOA could still not get the visa division to make things happen fast enough. On May 11, 1948, military intelligence chief General Stephen J. Chamberlin, the man who had briefed Eisenhower in 1947, took matters into his own hands. Chamberlin went to meet FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to enlist his help with visas. Cold War paranoia was on the rise, and both men were staunch anti-Communists. The success of Operation Paperclip, said Chamberlin, was essential to national security. The FBI had the communists to fear, not the Nazis. Hoover agreed. Paperclip recruits needed the promise of American citizenship now more than ever, Chamberlin said, before any more of them were stolen away by the Russians.. three months later, the first seven scientists had U.S. immigration visas.
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