The Central Intelligence Agency conducted a 14‐year program to find ways to “control human behavior” through the use of chemical, biological and radiological material, according to agency documents made public today by John Marks, a freelance journalist.
Mr. Marks, an associate of the Center for National Security Studies, asserted at a news conference that Adm. Stansfield Turner, Director of Central Intelligence, in a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week, “seriously distorted” what the C.I.A. research programs involved.
Mr. Marks said that, based on documents about the program he had received under the Freedom of Information Act, he had concluded that Admiral Turner “seems to be practicing what used to be called ‘a modified limited hangout’” when he called the agency’s activity “a program of experimentation with drugs.”
“To be sure, drugs were part of it,” he said, “but so were such other techniques as electric shock, radiation, ultrasonics, psychosurgery, psychology and incapacitating agents, all of which were referred to in documents I have received.”
The documents made public today and the disclosure by the C.I.A. last week that it had found another cache of previously undiscovered records suggested broader experimentation on unwitting humans by the intelligence agency or its paid researchers than had been publicly known before. Mr. Marks said he had obtained or read about 1,000 C.I.A. documents, many of which were never turned over to the Senate intelligence committee for its 1975 investigation of agency activities.
C.I.A. spokesmen declined comment on Mr. Marks’s charges. However, Admiral Turner told newsmen after leaving a meeting with senators that the agency was moving swiftly to review the documents it had found.
Mr. Marks distributed 20 documents that described the following incidents, among others:
In 1956, the C.I.A. contracted with a private physician to test “bulbocapnine,” a drug that can cause stupor or induce a catatonic state, on monkeys and “convicts incarcerated at” an unnamed state penitentiary. The agency wanted to known if the drug caused the “loss of speech in man,” “loss of sensitivity to pain—loss of memory, loss of will power.”
A letter from an unnamed C.I.A. official in 1949 discussed ways of killing people without leaving a trace. “I believe that there are two chemical substances which would le most useful in that they would leave no characteristic pathological findings, and the quantities needed could be easily transported to places where they were to be used,” the letter said. The letter also suggested exposure of an individual to X‐rays or to an environment in which he would freeze to death. If these methods were too difficult, two methods needing no special equipment, the letter said, would be to “smother the victim with a pillow or to strangle him with a wide piece of cloth, such as a bath towel.”
Aware of Questionable Nature
In 1952, two Russian agents who were “suspected of being doubled” were interrogated using “narcohypnotic” methods. Under medical cover, the documents said the two men were given sodium pentothal and a stimulant. One interrogation produced a “remarkable” regression, the papers said, during which “the subject actually relived certain past activities of his life, some dating back 15 years while, in addition, the subject totally accepted Mr. [name deleted] as an old and trusted and beloved personal friend whom the subject had known in years past in Georgia, U.S.S.R.”
A summary of a 1953 meeting reported a suggestion that the C.I.A. work with scientists of an unidentified foreign government, since “that country allowed experiments with anthrax,” a disease contracted from infected cattle and sheep, and the United States did not.
The documents given to Mr. Marks were heavily edited, apparently for security reasons, but they showed that even while the C.I.A. was operating this program was conscious of its questionable nature.
One 1950 memorandum, on finding psychiatrists to conduct experiments, noted that one applicant’s “ethics might be such that he might not care to cooperate in certain more revolutionary phases of our project.” But it said another candidate’s “ethics are such that he would be completely cooperative in any phase of our program, regardless of how revolutionary it maybe.”
A 1963 inspector general’s report that apparently resulted in a program being discontinued noted “the concepts involved in manipulating human behavior are found by many people both within and outside the agency to be distasteful and unethical.”
According to Mr. Marks’s documents and an earlier Senate investigation, the C.I.A. conducted secret medical experiments from 1949 through 1963 under the code names Bluebird, Artichoke, MK Ultra and MK Delta. The C.I.A. inspector general’s report in 1963 described the program as the “research and development of chemical, biological and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior.”
5,000 New Documents
Last week, Admiral Turner announced that the agency had discovered some 5,000 documents pertaining to the program that were not available to the Senate intelligence committee in 1975. They are financial records of the various experiments and include the names of doctors and medical institutions that performed the tests.
Today, Admiral Turner gave the members a closed‐door briefing on the new material. He will appear before a joint public hearing of the intelligence committee and Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s health subcommittee on July 29 to more fully describe the new findings. The intelligence committee staff will begin studying the documents later this week.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, private citizens can obtain heretofore secret government documents, provided they do not endanger current national security matters or disclose matters that could invade the privacy of other individuals.
Mr. Marks charged that it had taken him nearly two years of legal pressure to dislodge the material he had received. He said he had been promised the additional 5,000 documents before the end of the month.