History of Interpol: Dirty Dealings and the End of Interpol

About the history of Interpol, its dirty dealing regarding Watergate, its ties to Nazis, and its actions in Nothern Ireland.

The Men from Interpol

By Vaughn Young

At the White House, in 1969, events were transpiring that would reach across the ocean 5 years later. The image of fair and efficient law enforcement, carefully nurtured since Heydrich, was about to fall away. Eugene Rossides, as Interpol's boss in the Treasury Department, moved up the international ladder to follow in Hoover's footsteps. Elected to serve with Dickopf as a vice-president, Rossides was also busy in the U.S. Treasury giving a job to a young man by the name of G. Gordon Liddy. While Rossides got out before the Watergate scandal hit, Edward L. Morgan didn't make it. Coming from the White House, where he worked as a deputy counsel under John Ehrlichman, Morgan was appointed the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement and took command of Interpol activity there in 1970. By October, 1973, he was elected to Interpol's powerful Executive Committee.

As information poured out during the Watergate investigations, Morgan's name came up. Apparently, Morgan had gone to the IRS, on Ehrlichman's orders, to check the tax returns of former Presidents "for guidance" in preparing Nixon's. Then, in 1969, he reportedly signed and backdated a deed for Nixon which turned over the President's papers to the National Archives as a $500,000 tax write-off. When the matter hit the press in January, 1974, Morgan quickly resigned.

Before Interpol could catch its breath, events in Europe continued to force its actual operations into the open. A revolution in Portugal revealed atrocities being committed by the politically controlled--and dreaded--state police department that had been trained by the Nazis. Col. Fernando D. da Silva Pais, their director general, was also the head of the Portuguese Interpol bureau.

In Belfast, Interpol admitted that it had been working with NATO officials to compile information on terrorists, in violation on Article 3 several times over. It was also discovered that, in 1969, Interpol was reported at a Bermuda airport helping that government find "undesirables" arriving for an International Black Power Conference so they could be sent home immediately on the next plane. Yet, when asked to help track Palestinian terrorists, especially after the Munich massacre and numerous sky-jackings, Interpol refused, citing Article 3 again.

By the time Interpol met in Cannes, France, for its 1974 conference, criticism was coming from within Interpol's own ranks. (One official has estimated that over 90% of police inquiries between nations are now made directly, not through Interpol, due to the growing lack of confidence in the organization.) After Dickopf's SS history was exposed, Interpol officials were kept busy trying to prevent matters from getting completely out of hand. But it was too late. As one correspondent put it, Interpol is "far from being the slick and sophisticated organization of popular mythology."

With the romantic tales of "the man from Interpol" gone, what was left was a most unpleasant picture: an organization that was steeped in Nazism, one wracked with political and financial turmoil, unable to make any dent in the rising crime rate, and one which arbitrarily selected the terrorists that would receive its attention. As a cynic put it, "They just haven't been the same since der Fuhrer died."

The Author: Vaughn Young has been published in numerous periodicals. In recent months, he has investigated Interpol in depth, and is still continuing his researches.

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