Table of Contents
Prepared Statement of Admiral Stansfield Turner, Director of Central
Mr. Chairman: In my letter to you of July 15, 1977, I reported our recent discovery of
seven boxes of documents related to Project MKULTRA, a closely held CIA project conducted
from 1953-1964. As you may recall, MKULTRA was an "umbrella project" under which
certain sensitive subprojects were funded, involving among other things research on drugs
and behavioral modification. During the Rockefeller Commission and Church Committee
investigations in 1975, the cryptonym became publicly known when details of the
drug-related death of Dr. Frank Olsen were publicized. In 1953 Dr. Olsen, a civilian
employee of the Army at Fort Detrick, leaped to his death from a hotel room window in New
York City about a week after having unwittingly consumed LSD administered to him as an
experiment at a meeting of LSD researchers called by CIA.
Most of what was known about the Agency's involvement with behavioral drugs during the
investigations in 1975 was contained in a report on Project MKULTRA prepared by the
Inspector General's office in 1963. As a result of that report's recommendations,
unwitting testing of drugs on U.S. citizens was subsequently discontinued. The
MKULTRA-related report was made available to the Church Committee investigators and to the
staff of Senator Kennedy's Subcommittee on Health. Until the recent discovery, it was
believed that all of the MKULTRA files dealing with behavioral modification had been
destroyed in 1973 on the orders of the then retiring Chief of the Office of Technical
Service, with the authorization of the DCI, as has been previously reported. Almost all of
the people who had had any connection with the aspects of the project which interested
Senate investigators in 1975 were no longer with the Agency at that time. Thus, there was
little detailed knowledge of the MKULTRA subprojects available to CIA during the Church
Committee investigations. This lack of available details, moreover, was probably not
wholly attributable to the
destruction of MKULTRA files in 1973; the 1963 report on MKULTRA by the Inspector General
notes on page 14: "Present practice is to maintain no records of the planning and
approval of test programs."
When I reported to you last on this matter, my staff had not yet had an opportunity to
review the newly located material in depth. This has now been accomplished, and I am in a
position to give you a description of the contents of the recovered material. I believe
you will be most interested in the following aspects of the recent discovery:
How the material was discovered and why it was not
The nature of this recently located material;
How much new information there is in the material which may
not have been previously known and reported to Senate investigators; and
What we believe the most significant aspects of this find to
To begin, as to how we discovered these materials. The material had been sent to our
Retired Records Center outside of Washington and was discovered sent to our Retired
Records Center outside of Washington and was discovered there as a result of the extensive
search efforts of an employee charged with responsibility for maintaining our holdings on
behavioral drugs and for responding to Freedom of Information Act requests on this
subject. During the Church Committee investigation in 1975, searches for MKULTRA-related
material were made by examining both the active and retired records of all branches of CIA
considered at all likely to have had association with MKULTRA documents. The retired
records of the Budget and Fiscal Section of the Branch responsible for such work were not
searched, however. This was because financial papers associated with sensitive projects
such s MKULTRA were normally maintained by the Branch itself under the project file, not
by the Budget and Fiscal Section. In the case at hand, however, the newly located material
was sent to the Retired Records Center in 1970 by the Budget and Fiscal Section as part of
its own retired holdings. The reason for this departure from normal procedure is not
known. As a result of it, however, the material escaped retrieval and destruction in 1973
by the then-retiring Director of the Office as well as discovery in 1975 by CIA officials
responding to Senate investigators.
The employee who located this material did so by leaving no stone unturned in his efforts
to respond to FOIA requests. He reviewed all listings of material of this Branch stored at
the Retired Records Center, including those of the Budget and Fiscal Section and, thus,
discovered the MKULTRA-related documents which had been missed in the previous searches.
In sum, the Agency failed to uncover these particular documents in 1973 in the process of
attempting to destroy them; it similarly failed to locate them in 1975 in response to the
Church Committee hearings. I am convinced that there was no attempt to conceal this
material during the earlier searches.
Next, as to the nature of the recently located material, it is important to realize that
the recovered folders are finance folders. The bulk of the material in them consists of
approvals for advance of funds, vouchers, accountings, and the like -- most of which are
not very informative as to the nature of the activities that were undertaken. Occasional
project proposals or memoranda commenting on some aspect of a subproject are scattered
throughout this material. In general, however, the recovered material does not include
status reports or other documents relating to operational considerations or progress in
the various subprojects, though some elaboration of the activities contemplated does
appear. The recovered documents fall roughly into three categories:
First, there are 149 MKULTRA subprojects, many of which
appear to have some connection with research into behavioral modification, drug
acquisition and testing or administering drugs surreptitiously.
Second, there are two boxes of miscellaneous MKULTRA papers,
including audit reports and financial statements from "cut-out" (i.e.,
intermediary) funding mechanisms used to conceal CIA's sponsorship of various research
Finally, there are 33 additional subprojects concerning
certain intelligence activities previously funded under MKULTRA which have nothing to do
either with behavioral modification, drugs, and toxins or with any other related matters.
We have attempted to group the activities covered by the 149 subprojects into categories
under descriptive headings. In broad outline, at least, this presents the contents of
these files. The activities are placed in the following 15 categories:
1. Research into the effects of behavioral drugs and/or alcohol:
17 subprojects probably not involving human testing;
14 subprojects definitely involving tests on human
19 subprojects probably including tests on human volunteers.
While not known, some of these subprojects may have included tests on unwitting subjects
6 subprojects involving tests on unwitting subjects.
2. Research on hypnosis: 8 subprojects, including 2 involving hypnosis
and drugs in combination.
3. Acquisition of chemicals or drugs: 7 subprojects.
4. Aspects of magicians' art useful in covert operations: e.g.,
surreptitious delivery of drug-related materials: 4 subprojects.
5. Studies of human behavior, sleep research, and behavioral changes
during psychotherapy: 9 subprojects.
6. Library searches and attendance at seminars and international
conferences on behavioral modification: 6 subprojects.
7. Motivational studies, studies of defectors, assessment, and training
techniques: 23 subprojects.
8. Polygraph research: 3 subprojects.
9. Funding mechanisms for MKULTRA external research activities: 3
10. Research on drugs, toxins, and biologicals in human tissue; provision
of exotic pathogens and the capability to incorporate them in effective delivery systems:
11. Activities whose objectives cannot be determined from available
documentation: 3 subprojects.
12. Subprojects involving funding support for unspecified activities
connected with the Army's Special Operations Division at Fr. Detrick, Md. This activity is
outline in Book I of the Church Committee Report, pp. 388-389. (See Appendix A, pp. 68-69.) Under CIA's Project MKNAOMI, the Army
Assisted CIA in developing, testing, and maintaining biological agents and delivery
systems for use against humans as well as against animals and crops. The objectives of
these subprojects cannot be identified from the recovered material beyond the fact that
the money was to be used where normal funding channels would require more written or oral
justification than appeared desirable for security reasons or where operational
considerations dictated short lead times for purchases. About $11,000 was involved during
this period 1953-1960: 3 subprojects.
13. Single subprojects in such areas as effects of electro-shock,
harassment techniques for offensive use, analysis of extrasensory perception, gas
propelled sprays and aerosols, and four subprojects involving crop and material sabotage.
14. One or two subprojects on each of the following:
"Blood Grouping" research, controlling the
activity of animals, energy storage and transfer in organic systems; and
stimulus and response in biological systems.
15. Three subprojects canceled before any work was done on them having to
do with laboratory drug screening, research on brain concussion, and research on
biologically active materials to be tested through the skin on human volunteers.
Now, as to how much new the recovered material adds to what has previously been reported
to the Church Committee and to Senator Kennedy's Subcommittee on Health on these topics,
the answer is additional detail, for the most part: e.g., the names of previously
unidentified researchers and institutions associated on either a witting or unwitting
basis with MKULTRA activities, and the names of CIA officials who approved or monitored
the various subprojects. Some new substantive material is also present: e.g., details
concerning proposals for experimentation and clinical testing associated with various
research projects, and a possibly improper contribution by CIA to a private institution.
However, the principal types of activities included have, for the most part, either been
outlined to some extent or generally described in what was previously available to CIA in
the way of documentation and was supplied by CIA to Senate investigators. For example:
Financial disbursement records for the period 1960-1964 for 76 of the 149 numbered MKULTRA
subprojects had been recovered from the Office of Finance by CIA and were made available
to the Church Committee investigators in August or September 1975.
The 1963 Inspector General report on MKULTRA made available to both the Church Committee
and Senator Kennedy's Subcommittee mentions electro-shock
and harassment substances (pp. 4, 16); covert testing on unwitting U.S. citizens (pp. 7,
10-12); the search for new materials through arrangements with specialists in
universities, pharmaceutical houses, hospitals, state and federal institutions, and
private research organizations (pp. 7, 9); and the fact that the Technical Service
Division of CIA had initiated 144 subprojects related to the control of human behavior
between 1953-1963 (p. 21).
The relevant section of a 1957 Inspector General report on the Technical Service Division
was also made available to the Church Committee staff. That report discusses techniques
for human assessment and unorthodox methods of communication (p. 201); discrediting and
disabling materials which can be covertly administered (pp. 201-202); studies on
magicians' arts as applied to covert operations (p. 202); specific funding mechanisms for
research performed outside of CIA (pp. 202-203, 205); research being done on "K"
(knockout) material, alcohol tolerance, and hypnotism (p. 203); research on LSD (p. 204);
anti-personnel harassment and assassination delivery systems including aerosol generators
and other spray devices (pp. 206-208); the role of Fort Detrick in support of CIA's
Biological/Chemical Warfare capability (p. 208); and material sabotage research (p. 209).
Much of this material is reflected in the Church Committee Report, Book I, pp. 385-422.
(See Appendix A, pp. 65-102).
The most significant new data discovered are, first, the names of researchers and
institutions who participated in the MKULTRA project and, secondly, a possibly improper
contribution by CIA to a private institution. We are now in possession of the names of 185
non-government researchers and assistants who are identified in the recovered material
dealing with the 149 subprojects. The names of 80 institutions where work was done or with
which these people were affiliated are also mentioned.
The institutions include 44 colleges or universities, 15 research foundations or chemical
or pharmaceutical companies and the like, 12 hospitals or clinics (in addition to those
associated with universities), and 3 penal institutions. While the identities of some of
these people and institutions were known previously, the discovery of the new identities
adds to our knowledge of MKULTRA.
The facts as they pertain to the possibly improper contribution are as follows: One
project involves a contribution of $375,000 to a building fund of a private medical
institution. The fact that a contribution was made was previously known; indeed it was
mentioned in a 1957 Inspector General report on the Technical Service Division of CIA,
pertinent portions of which had been reviewed by the Church Committee staff. The newly
discovered material, however, makes it clear that this contribution was made through an
intermediary, which made it appear to be a private donation. As a private donation, the
contribution was then matched by federal funds. The institution was not made aware of the
true source of the gift. This project was approved by the then DCI, and concurred in by
CIA's top management at the time, including the then General Counsel who wrote an opinion
supporting the legality of the contribution.
The recently discovered documents give a greater insight into the scope of the unwitting
drug testing but contribute little more than that. We now have collaborating information
that some of the unwitting drug testing was carried on in safehouses in San Francisco and
New York City, and we have identified that three individuals were involved in this
undertaking as opposed to the previously reported one person. We also know now that some
unwitting testing took place on criminal sexual psychopaths confined at a State hospital
and that, additionally, research was done on knock-out or "K" drug in parallel
with research to develop pain killers for cancer patients.
These, then are the principal findings identified to date in our review of the recovered
material. As noted earlier, we believe the detail on the identities of researchers and
institutions involved in CIA's sponsorship of drugs and behavioral modification is a new
element and one which poses a considerable problem. Most of the people and institutions
involved are not aware of Agency sponsorship. We should certainly assume that the
researchers and institutions which cooperate with CIA on a witting basis acted in good
faith and in the belief that they were aiding their government in a legitimate and proper
purpose. I believe we all have a moral obligation to these researchers and institutions to
protect them from any unjustified embarrassment or damage to their reputations which
revelation of their identities might bring. In addition, I have a legal obligation under
the Privacy Act not to publicly disclose the names of the individual researchers without
their consent. This is especially true, of course, for
those researchers and institutions which were unwitting participants in CIA-sponsored
Nevertheless, recognizing the right and the need of both the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence and the Senate Subcommittee on Health to investigate the circumstances of
these activities in whatever detail they consider necessary. I am providing your Committee
with all of the names on a classified basis. I hope that this will facilitate your
investigation while protecting the individuals and institutions involved. Let me emphasize
that the MKULTRA events are 12 to 25 years in the past. I assure you that the CIA is in no
way engaged in either witting or unwitting testing of drugs today.
Finally, I am working closely with the Attorney General and with the Secretary of Health,
Education and Welfare on this matter. We are making available to the Attorney General
whatever materials he may deem necessary to any investigation he may elect to undertake.
We are working with both the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health, Education and
Welfare to determine whether it is practicable from this new evidence to attempt to
identify any of the persons to whom drugs may have been administered unwittingly. No such
names are part of these records, but we are working to determine if there are adequate
clues to lead to their identification; and if so, how to go about fulfilling the
Government's responsibilities in the matter.
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Director Stansfield Turner
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