Colonel Earl Browning: Counter-intelligence officer who was a lone voice in opposing the use of Klaus Barbie as a paid informant
Thursday 14 November 2013
Earl Browning was a counter-intelligence officer in occupied Germany after the Second World War who raised persistent but unheeded objections when the US military began using the notorious Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie as a paid informant. Browning had served in the Counter Intelligence Corps in Normandy and at the Battle of the Bulge. At war's end he was stationed in Frankfurt, monitoring intelligence activities in the US-occupied zone.
Former Nazi intelligence officers and police chiefs began peddling themselves as informants, Barbie among them. He was wanted for his involvement in a clandestine organisation of former SS officers; little was known about his stint as Gestapo chief in Lyon, where he ordered the death, torture or deportation of Jews and Resistance fighters. Because of the chaos of the era, Barbie – the "Butcher of Lyon" – easily cloaked the extent of his wartime atrocities.
In 1947, Barbie sent word through another CIC informant that he wanted to help the Americans. He impressed his handlers as a charismatic and savvy operator and established a network of sub-informants. But Browning was stunned, and argued for Barbie to be detained, but his opponents in the CIC feared that Barbie knew too much about the organisation's operations, which included spying on Allies such as the French. Browning briefly prevailed and Barbie was held from December 1947 until the following May and was officially dropped as an informant a few months later. But in fact he worked with handlers at a CIC safehouse in Augsburg for the next three years.
Browning returned to the US in August 1949. The following year the French government made an extradition request and accused CIC officers of deceiving civilian authorities about their relationship with Barbie. The CIC sent Barbie Bolivia under false papers in 1951 and he spent the next three decades as a businessman in La Paz under an assumed name. A short-lived civilian government in Bolivia extradited Barbie to France in 1983. In 1987 he was sentenced to life imprisonment and died in prison in 1991.
Browning became an Army public affairs officer and served in Saigon in 1967 and 1968. He later appeared in Marcel Ophüls' Oscar-winning 1988 documentary Hotel Terminus about the Barbie legacy.
Earl Staten Browning Jr, counter-intelligence officer: born Mediapolis, Iowa 7 September 1917; married 1941 Elisabeth Holt (died 2005; one daughter and two sons); died Charlottesville, Virginia 23 October 2013.
© The Washington Post
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Ottawa shootings: Terror strikes Canadian capital as attacks leave one soldier and one suspect dead
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£21 - £22 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: Randstad Education has been help...
£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently seeking dy...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ICT & Business Studies Teacher f...
£22000 - £24000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer (1st...