The Central Intelligence Agency ran experiments with germ and virus cultures as well as mind-altering drugs as part of its top secret MKULTRA program in the 1950s, according to documents released on the project.
The documents show that during the project shipments of viruses and at least two germ cultures containing whooping cough microorganisms and a canine bacterial infection were sent to a CIA researcher at the U.S. Army bacteriological warfare center in Camp Detrick, Md.
In addition they show that an MKULTRA agent purchased a copy of the book "Birds of Britain. Europe," as part of what was described in a financial accounting as a "continuous project on bird survey in special areas."
A study of possible uses of migratory birds in germ warfare was funded through Camp Detrick for years using the Smithsonian Institution as a cover, according to previously published reports. Unreleased and still classified documents have linked the Smithsonian to MKULTRA according to knowledgeable sources.
The latest batch of fragmentary and heavily censored financial records from MKULTRA, which spanned nearly 25 years, included these other details:
MKULTRA agents at one point flew small dogs and monkeys to an unidentified isolated site, constructed homemade wooden shelters for the animals and then - after the animals died or were killed - buried them under coatings of lime in a remote field.
During the same MKULTRA project, agents spent several days firing darts into small slab of meat and apparently, in one instance, accidentally into one of the agents.
The documents show that the CIA's financial office watched its pennies closely, in one case initiating a flurry of memos to retrieve 5 cents left over after completion of an MKULTRA project.
In another instance, a magician hired by the program wrote a handbook for agents on "tricks" with small objects, loose solids and liquids. Later, the magician contributed a paper on "nonelectric" communication that included the secrets employed by magicians and mind readers.
These and other operational tidbits were included among 1,410 pages of financial documents relating to MKULTRA which the CIA released this week. The agency has said it will make public nearly 3,000 pages of MKULTRA material as soon as they are "sanitized" with all names removed.
MKULTRA was the CIA's principal program for reasearch and development of chemical and biological agents during the 1950s and 1960s.
Most of the full descriptions of experiments during the program were destroyed by Sidney Gottlieb, the former MKULTRA chief, when he retired from the intelligence agency in 1973.
The remaining financial records, which the agency is making public at the direction of CIA Director Stansfield Turner, are so sketchy that they have become an intriguing puzzle for congressional investigators and reporters who have seen them.
In one 1955 MKULTRA project, for example, an agent was reimbursed for apparently renting a cargo freighter and its crew and diverting them from their course for an unspecified task. In addition to renting the ship and its crew for several hundred dollars the agent charged the CIA for a set of work clothes and $25 for "operational liquor."
In another 1955 project researchers requested $5,720 from MKULTRA officials to test LSD on "returnees" from Communist countries. No indication is provided in the released documents why a hallucinogen was needed to interrogate the returnees or of their nationality.
Last week in testimony before the Senate Health Subcommittee Turner called MKULTRA tests run on unsuspecting human subjects "Abhorrent." The CIA director promised this week he would notify each of the 26 private institutions and corporations where MKULTRA experiments were run of their part in the program. Many of the program's experiments were conducted using nongovernmental "cover" organizations.
A CIA spokesman said yesterday, however, that Turner would urge each of the institutions to keep its part in the program to itself and not make it public.
The documents released this week show that in addition to tests with drugs on humans some type of testing was conducted on small dogs and monkeys as part of the MKULTRA program.
In early 1955 a number of small animals were flown to a remote site where at least six agents were living in a rented cabin. Receipts for the period note that the agents bought a piece of meat and marked the receipt "meat used for dart target." Agents also purchased tetanus toxoid and marked, that item "for SO [Special operations] personnel emergency."
Among the other receipts turned in by the agents were several for bags of lime. A March receipt is marked, "Lime used for decomposition of animals in field after test - buried."