If you are like me, then you too have wondered about those rumors of secret CIA experiments with mind-bending drugs, such as LSD. I remember reading about them back when Timothy Leary was news, in the 1960s, and here and there since then. And, even though newspaper articles seem to have confirmed those experiments, I still wondered, not entirely convinced. Apparently, the rumors were true, as is documented in the case of Dr. Frank Olson, an Army Biochemist (Biological Warfare) who died by jumping, or by being pushed, on November 28, 1953 from the tenth floor of a New York City hotel. The question was: Was he killed, and if so, why? I guess a book, "A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olsen and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments," answers that question, as well as a number of other questions into the CIA's use of potent drugs in its Cold War experiments.
Apparently, the CIA slipped Dr. Olson, and others, a dose of LSD without their knowing it in a meeting between the CIA and Army Bio-Warfare experts at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Slipping Dr. Olson the drug without him knowing it was a criminal offense, an important point twenty-two years later. That's because when more facts about Dr. Olson's death came out, his family sued the government for more compensation, $3 million to be exact, but the government, specifically the Justice Department, quibbled over that amount. The DOJ wanted to settle for less. Ha. If only those "facts" were not so inconvenient! The Olson family would not settle for less, or at least for the amount the DOJ wanted to settle for. So, the CIA and two guys in President Ford's White House, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, were scrambling to cover it all up without going to trial.
Now isn't that interesting? Good 'ole Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld pop their heads out of the black-ops abyss! The problem was whether or not Dr. Olson committed suicide while "in the course of his employment," as covered under the Federal Employee's Compensation Act, and which was the authority for the monthly spouse compensation, $752, paid to Mrs. Olson since 1953, or whether he was murdered to cover up the CIA criminal act of giving him that secret dose of LSD. There was even a bigger problem! If all of that came out in court, even twenty-two years after the fact, would the court side with the CIA and DOJ, or would it side with the Olson family? The CIA's legal counsel concluded that an appellate court, after learning the facts, would probably decide for Mrs. Olson; that Dr. Olson did NOT die in the course of his employment. And, if the Olsons won the suit, would other, even more bizarre, experiments come to light, such as the one on a French town in which 500 French citizens were subjected, unknowingly, to mind-bending drug experiments? Whew!
And so, it appears that Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and a few more CIA and White House characters conspired to hide the CIA's tricks and treats, as this document (pdf) says.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised after watching Cheney et al for eight years from 2000 to 2008. What really disappoints me is that there are too many books I want to read and not enough time to read them. I'm in the middle of one, have two in the queue, and I really want to read this one too. There is no time left.