Mind Control & Propaganda

1977 Senate Hearing on MKUltra

CIA Director Stansfield Turner's Testimony (Continued -- pp. 33-50)

Senator WALLOP. If they are, I would assume that you would still try to find from either theirs or somebody else's information how to protect our people from that kind of activity.

Admiral TURNER. Yes.

Senator WALLOP. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Senator INOUYE. Senator Chafee?

Senator CHAFEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Admiral Turner, I appreciate that these tawdry activities were taking place long before your watch, and I think you have correctly labeled them as abhorrent, but not only were they abhorrent, it seems to me that they wee rather bungled, amateurish experiments that don't seem to have been handled in a very scientific way, at least from the scanty evidence we have.

It seems to me that there were a minimum of reports and the Agency didn't have the ability to call it quits. It went on for some 12 years, as you mentioned. What I would like to get to is, are you convinced now in your Agency that those scientific experiments, legitimate ones that you were conducting with polygraph and so forth, were being conducted in a scientific manner and that you are handling it in a correct manner to get the best information that you are seeking in the end?

Admiral TURNER. Yes, I am, and I also have a sense of confidence that we are limiting ourselves to the areas where we need to be involved as opposed to areas where we can rely on others.

Senator CHAFEE. I am convinced of that from your report. I just do hope that you have people who are trained in not only handling this type of experiment, but in preparing the proper reports and drawing the proper data from the reports. You are convinced that you have this type of people?

Admiral TURNER. Yes, sir.

Senator CHAFEE. The second point I am interested in was the final lines in your testimony here, which I believe are very important, and that is that the Agency is doing all it can in cooperation with other branches of the Government to go about tracking down the identity of those who were in some way adversely affected, and see what can be done to fulfill the government's responsibilities in that respect. I might add that I commend you in that, and I hope you will pursue it vigorously.

A hospital in my State was involved in these proceedings, and it is unclear exactly what did take place, so I have both a parochial interest in this and a national interest as well, and I do hope you will press on with it. It involves not only you, I appreciate, but also HEW and perhaps the Attorney General.

Admiral TURNER. Thank you, sir. We will.

Senator CHAFEE. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Senator INOUYE. Thank you very much.

Admiral Turner, MKULTRA subproject 3 was a project involving the surreptitious administration of LSD on unwitting persons, was it not?

Admiral TURNER. Yes, sir.

Senator INOUYE. In February 1954, and this was in the very early stages of MKULTRA, the Director of Central Intelligence wrote to the technical services staff officials criticizing their judgment because they had participated in an experiment involving the administration of LSD on an unwitting basis to Dr. Frank Olson, who later committed suicide. Now, the individuals criticized were the same individuals who were responsible for subproject 3, involving exactly the same practices. Even though these individuals were clearly aware of the dangers of surreptitious administration and had been criticized by the Director of Central Intelligence, subproject 3 was not terminated immediately after Dr. Olson's death.

In fact, according to documents, it continued for a number of years. Can you provide this committee with any explanation of how such testing could have continued under these circumstances?

Admiral TURNER. No, sir, I really can't.

Senator INOUYE. Are the individuals in technical services who carried on subproject 3 still on the CIA payroll?

Admiral TURNER. I am sorry. Are you asking, are they today?

Senator INOUYE. Yes.

Admiral TURNER. No, sir.

Senator INOUYE. What would you do if you criticized officials of the technical services staff and they continued to carry on experimentation for a number of years?

Admiral TURNER. I would do two things, sir. One is, I would be sure at the beginning that I was explicit enough that they knew that I didn't want that to be continued anywhere else, and two, if I found it being continued, I would roll some heads.

Senator INOUYE. Could you provide this committee with information as to whether the individuals involved had their heads rolled?

Admiral TURNER. I don't believe there is any evidence they did, but I will double check that.

[See p. 170 for material referred to.]

Senator INOUYE. As you know, Senator Huddleston and his subcommittee are deeply involved in the drafting of charters and guidelines for the intelligence community. We will be meeting with the President tomorrow. Our concern is, I think, a basic one. Can anything like this occur again?

Admiral TURNER. I think it would be very, very unlikely, first, because we are all much more conscious of these issues than we were back in the fifties, second, because we have such thorough oversight procedures. I cannot imagine that this kind of activity could take place today without some member of the CIA itself bypassing me, if I were authorizing this, and writing to the Intelligence Oversight Board, and blowing the whistle on this kind of activity.

I am also doing my very best, sir, to encourage an openness with myself and a free communication in the Agency, so that I am the one who finds these things if they should happen. The fact is that we must keep you and your committee and now the new committee in the House informed of our sensitive activities. I think all of these add up to a degree of scrutiny such that this kind of extensive and flagrant activity could not happen today without it coming to the attention of the proper authorities to stop it.

Senator INOUYE. A sad aspect of the MKULTRA project was that it naturally involved the people who unwittingly or wittingly got involved in experimentation. I would appreciate it if you would report back to this committee in 3 months on what the Agency has done to notify these individuals and these institutions, and furthermore, to notify us as to what steps have been taken to identify victims, and if identified, what you have done to assist them, monetarily or otherwise.

Admiral TURNER. All right, sir. I will be happy to.

Senator GOLDWATER. Will the Senator yield?

Senator INOUYE. Yes, sir.

Senator GOLDWATER. I wonder if he could include in that report for our information only a complete listing of the individuals and the experiments done on them, and whether they were witting or unwitting, volunteer or nonvolunteer, and what has been the result in each case. I think that would be interesting.

Admiral TURNER. Fine. Yes, sir.

Senator INOUYE. Senator Kennedy?

Senator KENNEDY. Thank you. It is your intention to notify the individuals who have been the, subjects of the research, is that right, Admiral Turner? Do you intend to notify those individuals?

Admiral TURNER. Yes.

Senator KENNEDY. If you can identify them, you intend to notify them?

Admiral TURNER. Yes.

Senator KENNEDY. And you intend to notify the universities or research centers as well?

Admiral TURNER. Senator, I am torn on that. I understand your opening statement. I put myself in the position of the president of one of those, universities, let's say. If he were witting -- if his university had been witting of this activity with us, lie has access to all that information today. If lie, were not witting, I wonder if the. process of informing him might put his institution's reputation in more jeopardy than letting them go on the way they are today, not knowing. I really don't know the equities here.

Senator KENNEDY. Well, the problem is, all you have to do is pick up the newspapers and you see these universities mentioned. In many instances, I think you are putting the university people at an extraordinary disadvantage, where there is a complete change of administration, and they may for one reason or another not have information that they are, under suspicion. There is innuendo; there is rumor. I cannot help but believe that it will just get smeared all over the newspapers in spite of all the security steps that have been taken.

It seems to me that those universities should be entitled to that information, so that the ones with other administrations can adapt procedures to protect those universities. The importance of preserving the independence of our research areas and the communities seems to me to be a very fundamental kind of question about the protection of the integrity of our universities and our research centers.

Admiral TURNER. You are saying that you feel that if we identify them privately to themselves, we can benefit them in an adequate way to cover the risk that this will lead to a more public disclosure? There are lots of the 80 who have not been identified publicly at this point.

Senator KENNEDY. I think the universities themselves should be notified. I think then the universities can take whatever steps in terms of their setting up the procedures to protect. their own kinds of integrity in terms of the future. I would certainly hope that, they would feel that they could make a public comment or a public statement on it. I think it is of general public interest, particularly for the people that are involved in those universities, to have some kind of awareness of whether they were. used or were not used and how they were used.

I think they are entitled to it, and quite frankly, if there is a public official or an official of the university that you notify and be wants for his own particular reasons not to have it public, I don't see why those in a lesser echelon or lower echelon who have been effectively used by it should not have the information as well.

So, I would hope that you would notify the universities and then also indicate to the public. I can't conceive that this information will not be put out in the newspapers, and it puts the university people at an extraordinary disadvantage, and of course some of it is wrong, which is the fact of the matter, and I think some university official saying, well, it isn't so, is a lot different than if they know it is confirmed or it is not confirmed in terms of the Agency itself. I think that there is a responsibility there.

Admiral TURNER. I have great sympathy with what you are saying. I have already notified one institution because the involvement was so extensive that I thought they really needed to protect themselves, and I am. most anxious to do this in whatever way will help all of the people who were perhaps unwitting participants in this, and the difficulty I will have is, I can't quite do, I think, what you suggested, in that I may not be able to tell an institution of the extent and nature of its participation.

Senator KENNEDY. Well, you can tell them to the best of your information, and it seems to me that just because the university or an individual is going to be embarrassed is not a reason for classifying the information. So, I would hope -- I mean, I obviously speak as an individual Senator, but I feel that that is an incredible disservice to the innocent individuals and I think, a disservice to the integrity of the, universities unless they are notified, to be able to develop procedures you are developing with regards to your own institution and we are trying to in terms of the Congress. Certainly the universities are entitled to the same.

Admiral TURNER. Yes. Not all of these, of course, were unwitting.

Senator KENNEDY. That's right.

Admiral TURNER. Many of them were witting, and therefore they can take all those precautionary steps on their own, but I am perfectly open to doing this. I am only interested in doing it in a way that when identifying a university it will not lead to the public disclosure of the individuals, whom I am not allowed to disclose, and so on.

Senator KENNEDY. That could be done, it seems to me.

Admiral TURNER. So, we will see if we can devise a way of notifying these institutions on a private basis so that they can then make their own decision whether their equities are best served by their announcing it publicly or their attempting to maintain it--

Senator KENNEDY. Or you. I wonder. What if they were to ask you to announce, or indicate?

Admiral TURNER. My personal conscience, sir, at this time, is that I would be doing a disservice to these universities if I notified the public.

Senator KENNEDY. Would you meet with some university officials and ask what their views are or whether they feel that the preservation of the integrity of the universities would be better served or not? I think that would be useful to find out from small, large, private, and public universities' officials how they view the integrity--

Admiral TURNER. Fine. I Will phone several university presidents today who are my friends and who are not involved in this, and ask them what they think the equities would be.

Senator KENNEDY. All right. You let us know, too.

Admiral TURNER. But I am not sure that I see that there is any great benefit, in my notifying the public as opposed to the university notifying them. Let him have his choice whether he wants -- each institution wants to have it made public.

Senator KENNEDY. Yes. The fact would remain that the institution's credibility would be better served if the institution's president were to deny it and the university indicated that it did not participate in that program than if the university were to deny it and the Agency says nothing. It seems to me that that would be the strongest, and the only way that that is going to be credible. I would value it if you would get some input from universities as to what they believe is the fairest way in terms of the preservation of the integrity of the universities.

Let me, if I could, ask on the question of the uses of these safe houses, as I understand from information that was provided to us in the course of our last committee, the testing of various drugs on individuals happened at all social levels, high and low, it happened on native Americans and also on foreign nationals. That is what I understand was the nature of the project itself.

Now, I am just wondering whether those tests were conducted at the two locations on the east coast and the west coast which were known as safe houses. To your knowledge, is that correct?

Admiral TURNER. Yes.

Senator KENNEDY. In terms of the research in this particular program, it did not go beyond the safe houses located on the east coast and the west coast? I believe I am correct on that.

Admiral TURNER. That type of unwitting testing of sort of randomly selected individuals, yes.

Senator KENNEDY. It was just located in those two places?

Admiral TURNER. To the best of our knowledge, there were only two locations.

Senator KENNEDY. Well, how do we interpret randomly selected?

Admiral TURNER. Well, as opposed to prisoners in a prison who were somehow selected.

Senator KENNEDY. All right. Do you know from this information how many people were recruited during this period?

Admiral TURNER. No idea.

Senator KENNEDY. Do you know approximately?

Admiral TURNER. I asked that question the other day, and we just don't have -- apparently we are very -- well, either there were no records kept of the actual numbers and types of people tested or they were destroyed.

Senator INOUYE. Senator Schweiker.

Senator SCHWEIKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Admiral Turner, I would like to come back to the experiments which may have been conducted at the hospital research facilities which the CIA helped to finance. It wasn't clear to me from your previous answers what kind of work was done there. I gather you are unclear on that, too, from your remarks, yet I find in the CIA documentation which you have supplied us, a list describing some of the advantages the Agency hoped to gain. It says:

(a) One-sixth of the total space in the new hospital wing will be available to the Chemical Division of TSS * * *;

(b) Agency sponsorship of sensitive research projects will be completely deniable;

(c) Full professional cover will be provided for up to three biochemical employees of the Chemical Division; (d) Human patients and volunteers for experimental use will be available under controlled clinical conditions with the full supervision of

and there is a blank, something has been deleted.

It seems pretty clear to me what they intended to do in that particular wing. Doesn't it to you? Why would you go to such elaborate preparations, to buy part of the wing, bring three of your own personnel there, give them a cover, and give them access to patients? Why would you go to such trouble and expense to arrange, all that, if you weren't planning to experiment on people in the hospital?

Admiral TURNER. I agree with you 100 percent, sir. Those were clearly the intentions. I have no evidence that it was carried out in that way. I am not trying to be defensive, Senator. I am only trying to be absolutely precise here.

Senator SCHWEIKER. Well, then, as to the nature of what was done there, the last paragraph on the same page of the document says, "The facilities of the hospital and the ability to conduct controlled experimentations under safe clinical conditions using materials with which any agency connection must be completely deniable will augment and complement other programs recently taken over by TSS, such as," and then there's another deletion.

Now, the words following "such as" have been deleted. That is still classified, or at least it was removed when this document was sanitized and released. It seems to be that whatever was deleted right there would give you a pretty good clue as to what they were doing, since it says that the activities would "augment and complement other programs" undertaken by TSS. So, I have trouble understanding why you don't know what was contemplated. Just the fact that similar programs are referred to in the document, though what they are is still deleted, should enable you to check it out.

You could look at what went on in the similar programs mentioned following the "such as" in the classified version of this document.

Admiral TURNER. Senator, I have not said that we don't know what was contemplated being done there. We do not know what was done there.

Senator SCHWEIKER. Why did you delete that reference? Why is that still classified, that particular project of whatever it is?

Admiral TURNER. I don't know this particular case. We will get you the exact answer to that one and inform you about it, but it is quite probable that that other case is unrelated to this in the -- well, not unrelated, but that that was a project that still deserves to be classified.

[The material referred to follows:]

Construction of the Gorman Annex was begun in 1957 and the Annex was dedicated in March 1959. Of the several MKULTRA projects conducted at Georgetown only one involving human testing covered a time span subsequent to March 1959. Subproject 45 ran from 1955 to 1963, thus it is possible that the final four years 1959-1963) of the subproject could have been spent in the Gorman Annex. However, there is no reference to the Gorman Annex or a "new Annex" in Subproject 45 papers, neither is there any mention of the subproject moving to a new location in 1959 or later years.

Authorization to contribute CIA funds toward construction of the Gorman Annex is contained in Subproject 35 of MKULTRA. Recently discovered material indicated that Dr. Geschickter continued his research for sleep- and amnesia-producing drugs under Project MKSEARCH through July 1967 at Georgetown University Hospital. But it is impossible to determine if the facilities of the Gorman Annex were involved.

Senator SCHWEIKER. I think that would give us a pretty good clue as to what was going to be done in the wing the CIA helped to finance.

Was there any indication at all in the records you found that the project ultimately used cancer patients or terminally ill patients in connection with this facility?

Admiral TURNER. I'm sorry. I missed your question because I was trying to get the data on the last one. I will read you the blank.

Senator SCHWEIKER. Go ahead.

Admiral TURNER. QKHILLTOP. It doesn't help you, but--

Senator SCHWEIKER. Can you tell us what that is, or is it still classified?

Admiral TURNER. I don't know, and I assume from the fact that we deleted it, it is still classified, but I will get you that answer, sir.

Senator SCHWEIKER. Thank you. I'd like to see that information.

[See p. 171 for material referred to.]

Now my next question was: Is there any indication, Admiral, that projects in that particular center involved experimentation on terminally ill cancer patients?

Admiral TURNER. I missed the first part of your question, sir. I am very sorry.

Senator SCHWEIKER. Do you have any indication that some experiment in the facility used terminally ill cancer patients as subjects? You do acknowledge in your statement and it is clear from other documents that these kinds of experiments were at some point being done somewhere. My question is, is there any indication that cancer patients or terminally ill patients were experimented with in this wing?

Admiral TURNER. Yes, it does appear there is a connection here, sir.

Senator SCHWEIKER. The other question I had relates to the development of something which has been called the perfect concussion. A series of experiments toward that end were described in the CIA documents. I wonder if you would just tell us what your understanding of perfect concussion is.

Admiral TURNER. Is that in my testimony, sir, or in some other document?

Senator SCHWEIKER. Subproject 54, MKULTRA, which involved examination of techniques to cause brain concussions and amnesia by using weapons or sound waves to strike individuals without giving and without leaving any clear physical marks. Someone dubbed it "perfect concussion" -- maybe that was poetic license on the part of our staff rather than your poets over there. I wonder if you could just tell us what brain concussion experiments were about?

Admiral TURNER. This project, No. 54, was canceled, and never carried out.

Senator SCHWEIKER. Well, I do believe the first year of the project in 1955 was carried out by the Office of Naval Research, according to the information that you supplied us. The CIA seems to have been participating in some way at that point, because the records go on to say that the experimenter at ONR found out about CIA's role, discovered that it was a cover, and then the project was transferred to MKULTRA in 1956. Again, this is all from the backup material you have given us. So, it was canceled at some time. I am not disagreeing with that, but apparently for at least a year or two, somebody was investigating the production of brain concussions with special blackjacks, sound waves, and other methods as detailed in the backup material.

Admiral TURNER. The data available to me is that this project was never funded by the CIA, but I will double-check that and furnish the information for the record for you as to whether there was ever any connection here and if so, what the nature of the work was.

[The material referred to follows:]

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