One of the many interesting documents on CIA’s CREST database was guidance on the MKULTRA mind-control projects. The guidance was produced in 1983 and intended for CIA’s Deputy Directors, the Executive Director, the Director of Public Affairs and “all Agency employees on the speaking circuit.” Just over a page long, the text is riddled with lies, errors and half-truths. In fact, the very first sentence is inaccurate on several counts.
Because of reports that the Soviet Union may have developed the capability to affect human behavior through the use of drugs, the Agency initiated a program of research in this area called MKULTRA which continued from 1953 to 1964.
The dates provided are misleading at best. MKULTRA officially began in 1953, but one of it’s partner programs, MKDELTA, had begun in 1952. Its predecessor programs had begun as early as 1949, judging by CIA’s index of “MKULTRA and behavioral research” documents. It’s impossible to know much about what happened before that in MKULTRA’s predecessor projects BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE, as an Agency memo notes that “almost no information [is] available for the period prior to 1952.” MKULTRA also didn’t end in 1964 so much as it changed its name to MKSEARCH. According to John Marks’ book on the subject, “Gottlieb acknowledged that security did not require transferring all the surviving MKULTRA subprojects over to MKSEARCH. He moved 18 subprojects back into regular Agency funding channels.”
When the destruction of MKULTRA documents was ordered in 1973, it apparently didn’t include the MKSEARCH records either. A CIA letter indicates that those documents still existed and were in circulation in 1977. This may be because the Inspector General report recommended that future testing be conducted in an operational setting (discussed below and in the attached report at the beneath the article).
The project also went well beyond the use of drugs. According to a report from CIA’s Inspector General which had been produced twenty years earlier, the MKULTRA charter authorized investigation into behavior modification using methods “including radiation, electro-shock [sic], various fields of psychology, psychiatry, sociology, and anthropology, graphology, harrassment [sic] substances and paramilitary devices and materials.”