1953: Central Intelligence Agency director Allen Dulles authorizes the MK-ULTRA project. The agency launches one of its most dubious covert programs ever, turning unsuspecting humans into guinea pigs for its research into mind-altering drugs.
More than a decade before psychologist Timothy Leary advocated the benefits of LSD and urged everyone to “turn on, tune in, drop out,” the CIA’s Technical Services Staff launched the highly classified project to study the mind-control effects of this and other psychedelic drugs, using unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens as lab mice.
Dulles wanted to close the “brainwashing gap” that arose after the United States learned that American prisoners of war in Korea were subjected to mind-control techniques by their captors.
Loathe to be outdone by foreign enemies, the CIA sought, through its research, to devise a truth serum to enhance the interrogations of POWs and captured spies. The agency also wanted to develop techniques and drugs — such as “amnesia pills” — to create CIA superagents who would be immune to the mind-control efforts of adversaries.