The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) informed University officials this week that Harvard “was involved in one way or another” in two research projects conducted under the agency’s MK-ULTRA human behavior control project, Daniel Steiner ’54, general counsel to the University, said yesterday.
Steiner said the University received substantial financial records from the CIA outlining Harvard’s involvement in the controversial mind-control program. He refused to release any details about the documents yesterday, but said the two research projects in question did not include any drug experimentation.
The CIA secretly operated the MK-ULTRA research project for 12 years beginning in the 1950s to study the effects of alcohol and various narcotics on witting and unwitting human subjects at a number of American universities and colleges.
The New York Times reported last month that the CIA had sponsored a separate series of hallucinogenic drug experiments conducted during the 1950s at a Harvard-affiliated teaching hospital. The tests studied the effects of LSD on students from Harvard and other Boston area universities.
Steiner said his office will spend “a week to ten days” studying the set of CIA documents before releasing the materials to the public.
He added that he does not yet know whether the two research projects linked to the MK-ULTRA program involved a contract with Harvard or a consulting relationship with an individual affiliated with the University.
Steiner said the CIA first notified him of Harvard’s connection with the mindcontrol project in a letter received in late August. Steiner said he requested documents concerning Harvard’s involvement with the MK-ULTRA program earlier this month, and the agency sent him the materials “a few days ago.” Chain Letter
In a related development, spokesmen for the Campaign to Stop Government Spying announced yesterday that the group has mailed letters to the presidents of 42 American colleges and universities urging them to “follow the lead” of President Bok “in adopting guidelines which would prevent secret CIA work on college campuses.”
Bok announced guidelines regulating the CIA’s dealings with Harvard on May 20.
Linda Lotz, a spokesman for the Washington-based organization, said yesterday the letter–dated September 12–has already elicited written responses from two college presidents, whom she declined to identify. She added that the organization’s staff will follow up on the letters by calling the 42 university presidents later this week.
Lotz also said the group advises concerned university heads to invoke the Freedom of Information Act to request the CIA to supply all of its documents that relate to their universities.
John Marks, a staff member at the Center for National Security Studies who is writing a book on the MK-ULTRA projects, said yesterday the extent of Harvard’s involvement has not been fully disclosed.
Marks filed a lawsuit against the CIA earlier this year that helped trigger the recent series of disclosures about the MK-ULTRA program.