CIA Director Stansfield Turner yesterday testified that the CIA has conducted 149 projects involving drug testing, behavior modification and secret administration of mind-altering drugs at 80 American and Canadian universities, hospitals, research foundation and prisons.
Turner requested the hearing before a joint session of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a Sentate Human Resources Subcommittee to testify about 8,000 pages of newly discovered CIA doucments concerning project MKULTRA, the agency's super-secret drug testing program.
Such tests have been stopped, Turner testified. He said he found it "totally adhorrent to me to think that human beings were being used as guinea pigs."
Turner's report went beyond anything the government has revealed before about the scope of the MKULTRA program, which was most active between 1955 and 1964, when it was phased out. He said the 80 institutions at which the tests were performed included "44 colleges or universities, 15 research foundations or chemical or pharmaceutical companies and the like, 12 hospitals or clinics and three penal institutions."
But he did not make public the names of the institutions or the 185 nongovernment researchers who were involved in the projects, although the names were turned over to the sena- tors on a classified basis. He said most researchers did not know their activities were supported by the CIA.
Of the 149 projects Turner listed, he said 17 "probably" did not involve human testing, 14 "definitely" used human volunteers, 19 "probably" used volunteers and perhaps unwitting subjects, and at least six used unwitting subjects. Other projects involved research in hypnosis, studies of human behavior, research in "drugs, toxins and biologicals in human tissue," studies of human behavior, and the effects of electroshock, "harassment techniques for offensive use," and gas-propelled sprays and aerosols.
"Let me emphasize that the MK ULTRA events are 12 to 15 years in the past," Turner said. "I assure you that the CIA is in no way engaged in either witting or unwitting testing of drug today."
Turner also described "additional details" on the previously reported operation of two CIA "safehouses," one in San Francisco and one in New York City, in which CIA agents conducted LSD experiments on people who did not know they were being given the hallucinogenic drug.
Staff aides to Sen. Edmund M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the health subcommittee, of the Human Resources Committee, suspect that the CIA used the safehouses to bring in prostitutes to give the drugs to unsuspecting persons they picked up in bars.
The safehouse in San Francisco was directed by Morgan Hall, an agent who died two years ago. Kennedy read from a document in which Hall had described the project as "Operation Midnight Climax."
A June 30, 1955, CIA invoice described the items purchased to decorate the San Francisco house. They include expenses for tape recording equipment and two-way mirrors: $35 for an unframed "French 'Can-Can Dancers' picture," labor to "sponge and press red bedroom curtains," and three "framed Toulouse-Lautree posters with black silk mats."
John Gittinger, a psychologist and CIA agent for 26 years, told the joing hearing that he interviewed prostitutes four or five times at the San Francisco safehouse. He said Hall brought the prostitutes to the house, where he then questioned them about sexual habits and drug use.
Philip Goldman, another former CIA agent who testified yesterday, was identified as the monitor of the safehouses on a CIA document Kennedy read from. Goldman denied it and said all he did was disburse money to the agents in charge of the houses and did not know what was going on there. He said he traveled to San Francisco to talk to Hall about the receipts and then reported back to Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the head of the Chemical Division of Technical Services for the agency and the man in charge of MKULTRA.
"You told Gottlieb," Kennedy asked "that what was going on, even though you didn't know what was going on, was going on well?"
"I knew there were two-way mirrors in New York, but no San Francisco," Goldman replied. He said he transferred money for an apartment in New York so that officials of the (now defunct) Bureau of Narcotics could meet "with people who pushed dope."
Under questioning by Kennedy, Turner said he had not discussed the new material with Gottlieb, who left the agency two years ago and whose name is on many of the newly released CIA documents. Turner said he did know what went on at the safehouses or how many people were involved and does not have the documents that would tell him.
"It is unlikely that Gottlieb would not know the activities at these safehouses," Turner said. Health subcommittee staff aide Larry Horowitz later said the panel expects to call Gottlieb to testify about the safehouses sometime next month.
In other testimony, Turner revealed a "possibly improper contribution" of "375,000 to the building fund of a private medical institution, which he did not identify. This was done through an intermediary so as to appear to be a private donation," Turner said.
Matthew McNulty, vice president of Georgetown University for medical affairs, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that the university had received a $370,000 donation toward construction of a $3 million building at Georgetown University Hospital.
The donation came from the Geschickter Fund for Medical Research, reported a CIA front. Dr. Charles F. Geschickter, 76, is an emeritus professor of pathology at Georgetown. He began his fund in 1939 and apparently it still exists, but university officials and reporters could not reach him for comment on whether he used it to funnel money from the CIA.
A CIA document discussed at the hearing explains what the agency hoped to get in return for its $375,000 donation. The most important benefits summarized in the document.
"One-sixth of the total space in the new hospital wing will be available to the Chemical Division of TSS, thereby providing laboratory and office space, technical assistants, equipment and experimental animals. Agency sponsorship of sensitive research projects will be completely deniable. Full professional cover will be provided for up to three biochemical employees of the Chemical Division. Human patients and volunteers for experimental use will be available under controlled clinical conditions within the full supervision of (deleted)."
Under questioning from Sen. Richard Schweiker (R-Pa.). Turner said he had no evidence that tests were conducted at Georgetown University, but added that "we could draw the inference that they were." Allan Brody, an aide to Turner, said the tests had been planned, but not carried out.