1977 July 15

CIA Director Admits Documents on Secret Drug Experiments Destroyed


MKULTRA was a secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program that experimented with mind control through hypnosis, drugs (including LSD), and other means. The program, which began on April 13, 1953, caused enormous controversy when it was finally exposed, in large part because some people were subjects of experiments without their consent. In 1973, then-CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKULTRA files destroyed (although about 20,000 documents survived, because they were filed as financial documents). On this day, CIA Director Stansfield Turner publicly admitted to the existence of the program and the earlier destruction of documents. At least 44 colleges and universities and 15 private foundations and pharmaceutical companies participated in the secret CIA drug experiments.

In addition to the CIA drug experiments, revelations of drug experiments conducted by respected scientists on subjects without informed consent led to major reforms on the ethical standards for scientific research on human subjects, including the Belmont Report on September 30, 1978.

Read the Church Committee report on MKULTRA (pp. 385-422): http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/church/reports/book1/html/ChurchB1_0215b.htm

Read the 1994 GAO report on Cold War human experimentation: http://www.gao.gov/assets/110/105708.pdf

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