THE CIA'S PROGRAM OF RESEARCH IN BEHAVIORAL MODIFICATION
Wednesday, August 3, 1977 U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Subcommittee on Health & Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources
Following is an excerpt of an opening statement from Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).
Senator KENNEDY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. We are delighted to join together in this very important area of public inquiry and public interest.
Some 2 years ago, the Senate Health Subcommittee heard chilling testimony about the human experimentation activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over 30 universities and institutions were involved in an "extensive testing and experimentation" program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens "at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign." Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to "unwitting subjects in social situations."
At least one death, that of Dr. Olsen, resulted from these activities. The Agency itself acknowledged that these tests made little scientific sense. The agents doing the monitoring were not qualified scientific observers. The test subjects were seldom accessible beyond the first hours of the test. In a number of instances, the test subject became ill for hours or days, and effective followup was impossible. Other experiments were equally offensive. For example, heroin addicts were enticed into participating in LSD experiments in order to get a reward-heroin.
Perhaps most disturbing of all was the fact that the extent of experimentation on human subjects was unknown. The records of all these activities were destroyed in January 1973, at the instruction of then CIA Director Richard Helms. In spite of persistent inquiries by both the Health Subcommittee and the Intelligence Committee, no additional records or information were forthcoming. And no oneno single individual — could be found who remembered the details, not the Director of the CIA, who ordered the documents destroyed, not the official responsible for the program, nor any of his associates.
We believed that the record, incomplete as it was, was as complete as it was going to be. Then one individual, through a Freedom of Information request, accomplished what two U.S. Senate committees could not. He spurred the agency into finding additional records pertaining to the CIA's program of experimentation with human subjects. These new records were discovered by the agency in March. Their existence was not made known to the Congress until July.
The records reveal a far more extensive series of experiments than had previously been thought. Eighty-six universities or institutions were involved. NeV instances of unethical behavior were revealed.
The intelligence community of this Nation, which requires a shroud of secrecy in order to operate, has a very sacred trust from the American people. The CIA's program of human experimentation of the fifties and sixties violated that trust. It was violated again on the day the bulk of the agency's records were destroyed in 1973. It is violated each time a responsible official refuses to recollect the details of the program. The best safeguard against abuses in the future is a complete public accounting of the abuses of the past.
I think this is illustrated, as Chairman Inouye pointed out. These are issues, are questions that happened in the fifties and sixties, and go back some 15, 20 years ago, but they are front page news today, as we see in the major newspapers and on the television and in the media of this country; and the reason they are, I think, is because it just continuously begins to trickle out. sort of, month after month, and the best way to put this period behind us, obviously, is to have the full information, and I think that is the desire of Admiral Turner and of the members of this committee.
The Central Intelligence Agency drugged American citizens without their knowledge or consent. It used university facilities and personnel without their knowledge. It funded leading researchers, often without their knowledge.
These institutes, these individuals, have a right to know who they are and how and when they were used. As of today, the Agency itself refuses to declassify the names of those institutions and individuals, quite appropriately, I might say, with regard to the individuals under the Privacy Act. It seems to me to be a fundamental responsibility to notify those individuals or institutions, rather. I think many of them were caught up in an unwitting manner to do research for the Agency. Many researchers, distinguished researchers, some of our most outstanding members of our scientific community, involved in this network, now really do not know whether they were involved or not, and it seems to me that the whole health and climate in terms of our university and our scientific and health facilities are entitled to that response.
So, I intend to do all I can to persuade the Agency to, at the very least, officially inform those institutions and individuals involved.
Two years ago, when these abuses were first revealed, I introduced legislation, with Senator Schweiker and Senator Javits, designed to minimize the potential for any similar abuses in the future. That legislation expanded the jurisdiction of the National Commission on Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research to cover all federally funded research involving human subjects. The research initially was just directed toward HEW activities, but this legislation covered DOD as well as the CIA.
This Nation has a biomedical and behavioral research capability second to none. It has had for subjects of HEW funded research for the past 3 years a system for the protection of human subjects of biomedical and behavioral research second to none, and the Human Experimentation Commission has proven its value. Today's hearings and the record already established underscore the need to expand its jurisdiction.
The CIA supported that legislation in 1975, and it passed the Senate unanimously last year. I believe it is needed in order to assure all our people that they will have the degree of protection in.human experimentation that they deserve and have every right to expect.