Walter Kopp (Cryptonym: KIBITZ-15)1 was a lieutenant colonel of the Wehrmacht during the Third Reich. After the war, he became the chief of one stay-behind network in West Germany, code-named KIBITZ-15 net,1 which was a sub-project of KIBITZ, a CIA program run from Karlsruhe Base with the aim of developing a stay-behind network in Germany (1949-53).
In May 1950 Kopp wrote a letter to High Commissioner John McCloy stating that he and a group of his friends were concerned about what might happen in case of a Russian invasion of Germany and wished to place themselves at the disposal of the Americans. The offer must have appealed to the CIA since Walter Kopp was made chief agent of the KIBITZ stay-behind network.2
According to secret service specialist and historian Erich Schmidt-Eenboom:3
"Walter Kopp was well networked in Bonn, but above all had excellent relationships with many militant veteran associations. He had armed himself and parts of his network. Hence, we had the situation that without the official knowledge of the Adenauer government, and without the official permission of the predecessor of the defense ministry, there was this dangerous paramilitary organization. And not even the American intelligence services had these apparatuses under full control."
The operation KIBITZ was stationed in Heidelberg and was operating under the cover of a press agency called Cosmo Press,4 as a documentary movie Ulrich Stoll for the ZDF reveals.
In May 1953 Kopp's contract with the CIA was terminated "on the friendliest terms."8
- Declassified CIA files relating to Walter Kopp (248 documents as of April 2019)
- 1. a. b. "Research Aid: Cryptonyms and Terms in Declassified CIA Files Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Disclosure Acts," National Archives and Records Administration, June 2007, http://www.archives.gov/iwg/declassified-records/rg-263-cia-records/second-release-lexicon.pdf.
- 2. "Walter Kopp (KIBITZ-15)," declassified file, undated, Central Intelligence Agency, http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/1705143/KOPP%2C%20WALTER%20%20%20VOL.%202_0017.pdf
- 3. Ulrich Stoll, "Die Schattenkrieger der NATO," documentary, ZDF Info, March 25, 2014, 3:35, https://web.archive.org/web/20160409181316/http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/2120546/Die-Schattenkrieger-der-NATO. Available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zDffehl2jo.
- 4. Ulrich Stoll, "Die Schattenkrieger der NATO," documentary, ZDF Info, March 25, 2014, 3:00, https://web.archive.org/web/20160409181316/http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/2120546/Die-Schattenkrieger-der-NATO. Available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zDffehl2jo.
- 5. Christopher Lee, "CIA Ties With Ex-Nazis Shown," The Washington Post, June 7, 2006, https://web.archive.org/web/20160417093445/http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/06/AR2006060601555_pf.html.
- 6. Julian Borger, "Why Israel's capture of Eichmann caused panic at the CIA," The Guardian, June 8, 2006, https://web.archive.org/web/20160415063747/http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/jun/08/secondworldwar.usa.
- 7. Timothy Naftaly, "New Information on Cold War Stay-Behind Operations in Germany and on the Adolf Eichmann Case," University of Virginia, http://www.fas.org/sgp/eprint/naftali.pdf.
- 8. "Termination of Kibitz-15 net," declassified file, April 16, 1953, http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/1705143/KOPP%2C%20WALTER%20%20%20VOL.%202_0078.pdf.