Central Intelligence Agency documents released yesterday revealed new details of experiments on unsuspecting citizens designed to control their behavior through exotic drugs, electro-shock, radiation and other electro-shock, radiation and other menas.
More than 1,000 pages of documents obtained from the agency under the Freedom of Information Act provided the details on the super-secret project, code-named MKULTRA, which began in the early [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and was reportedly ended in 1964 at the recommendation of the CIA inspector generall.
CIA Director Stansfield Turner last week released a letter that said new searches of the record by the CIA uncovered additional documents concerning MKULTRA.
The documents were made public at a press conference yesterday by John Marks, a former State Department in telligence officer who is now associated with the Center for National Security Studies, the privately financed center has been a gadfly to the intelligence community.
"This was a program to manipulate people's minds" Marks said in making the documents public. He said Turner in describing it simply as "a program of experimentation with drugs" was practicing a "modified limited hang-out" a phrase borrowed from the Watergate tape recordings.
A 1963 report by the CIA inspector general said of the program: "The concepts involved in manipulating human behavior are found by many people both within and outside the agency to be distasteful and unethical."
Marks released "highlights" of the 1000 or so pages of documents he has received. They are heavily censored with names and places for the most part deleted. These are among the activities they describe:
CIA plans to experiment with bulbocapnine a drug that a July 30, 1956 document described as causing "catatonia or stupor" when administered "in fairly large doses." A doctor whose name was deleted on the document was planning to "evaluate the drug on convicts incarcerated at the (deleted) State Penitentiary." The CIA wanted to know if the drug would cause loss of speech loss of sensitivity to pain loss of memory and loss of willpower.
An "informal arrangement" starting in 1955 between the agency and "certain cleared and witting individuals" in the Bureau of Narcotics to test drugs on subjects "deemed desirable and feasible."
"The effectiveness of the substances on individuals at all social levels high and low native American and foreign, is of great significance and testing has been peformed on a variety of individuals within these categories," the inspector general said in his Aug. 14, 1963, report to the CIA deputy director.
"In a number of instances," the inspector general said, "the test subject has become ill for hours or days, including hospitalization in at least one case, and the agent could onoy follow up by guarded inquiry after the test subject's return to normal life."
A cryptic Nov. 29, 1949, letter to "Bill" from someone whose name was deleted describing how to kill a person without leaving a trace, was also released by the agency to Marks. Suggestions include strangulation by pillow or bath towel, using nontraceable chemicals, exposing an entire body to Xrays, which cause death within a few weeks, and placing a body in a small, tightly sealed room with a block of "dry ice," with death resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning.
A plan to use recently returned U.S. prisoners of war from Korea for drug experimentation. This was discussed at an April 16, 1953, conference on ARTICHOKE, the name given the program before it was changed to MKULTRA. Everyone at the meeting agreed that prisoners who had been successfully indoctrinated by the Norther Koreans "were excellent subjects for ARTICHOKE work," but because of dangers of publicity and "poor handling" these techniques probably could not be used.
At the same conference it was agreed to expand the scope of th drug testing and enlist the aid of psychiatrists from all over the country to do research with new drugs, "especially drugs that affect the mine." The Department of Agriculture was praised for speeding up the process of bringing into the country "various botanicals" for ARTICHOKE and the Food and Drug Administration was commended for its cooperation in letting the CIA use its laboratories and testing facilities.
A 1952 case in which the CIA used drugs and hypnosis to interrogate suspected Soviet agents. According to the ARTICHOKE document, one subject "actually relived certain past activities of his life, some dating back 15 years." Using a combination of sodium pentathol and desoxyn, the agent conducting the test convienced the subject he was a "trusted and beloved friend" from the Soviet Union. In return, the subject "talked clearly and at great length and furnished information which the case officers considered extremely valuable."
Marks said and the documents show that the agency used specialists to help with research in universities, drug companies, hospitals, state and federal institutions and private research foundations.
One thread running throughout the documents was the need for extreme secrecy about the project, minimum documentation of planning and approval of test programs, and a realization that any disclosure could severtyly embarrass the CIA. Its inspector general said in his report that testing MKULTRA substances or devices on "unwitting subjects," while important, was not as important as the "risk of serious damage to the agency in the event of compromise of the true nature of this activity."
The CIA informed Marks by letter that it will send him 5,000 more documents by July 31, as part of his freedom of information request. He maintains that the expected release of these additional documents prompted Turner to go public with news of the file discoveries and to offer to testify about the program at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which will hole hearings on the program early next week.
A spokesman for the CIA said the documents Marks released were made available to the Church committee, predecessor to the select intelligence committee, which investigated domestic CIA abuses.
The CIA spokesman said he did not know how many people were subjected to the experiments that the documents describe nor whose names were deleted.