The Manchurian Candidate: Assassins and the CIA
LSD and the CIA
One of MK ULTRA's early areas of concentration was the application of LSD to both willing volunteers and unaware civilians in order to study their reactions. It was hoped that the right dose of acid would act as either a powerful truth serum or as a reactant to allow greater mental control of the test subjects. As one CIA agent involved with a secret mass-dosing experiment noted, We thought about the possibility of putting some in a city water supply and having the citizens wander around in a more or less happy state, not terribly interested in defending themselves. The CIA even went so far as to set up government-run houses of prostitution where the women would dose their johns with LSD, and scientists would watch and record the reactions via two-way mirrors. The fear of exposure of their sexual habits would be enough to frighten the men into silence so that the CIA could collect their LSD data in peace.
The CIA would go on to dose prisoners at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, at a New Jersey reformatory in Bordentown and patients at Michigan's Ionia State Hospital. Unsuspecting partygoers unlucky enough to have befriended a CIA agent might find their drinks spiked with LSD. CIA agents began dosing one another as practical jokes, seeming not to care that acid was a powerful hallucinogenic that, taken under the wrong circumstances, could lead to a complete mental breakdown.
As noted, CIA Director Helms destroyed nearly all records of this program, so a full measure of how many innocent citizens were unknowingly drugged and used as human guinea pigs may never be knownbut it may be in the thousands, if not tens of thousands. Some of the first unwitting test subjects were chosen because they were black and of not too high mentality, according to CIA notes. Later, more than 7,000 soldiers in Maryland's Edgewood Chemical Arsenal were dosed without consent. Years after their experimentation, more than 1,000 of them reported serious psychological complications such as depression and epilepsy; many attempted suicide.