The sons of a Cold War scientist who plunged to his death in 1953 several days after unwittingly taking LSD in a CIA mind-control experiment sued the government Wednesday. They claimed the CIA murdered their father, Frank Olson, by pushing him from a 13th-story window of a hotel – not, as the CIA says, that he jumped to his death.
Olson was a bioweapons expert at Fort Detrick, the Army's biological weapons research center in Maryland. Their lawsuit claims the CIA killed Olson when he developed misgivings after witnessing extreme interrogations in which they allege the CIA committed murder using biological agents Olson had developed.
Sons Eric and Nils Olson of Frederick, Md., sought unspecified compensatory damages in the lawsuit filed in federal court, but their lawyer, Scott D. Gilbert, said they also want to see a broad range of documents related to Olson's death and other matters that they say the CIA has withheld from them since the death.
The CIA had a program in the 1950s and `60s called MK-ULTRA, which involved brainwashing and administering experimental drugs like LSD to unsuspecting individuals. The project was investigated by Congress in the 1970s.
Olson consumed a drink laced with LSD by CIA agents on Nov. 19, 1953, the suit says. Later that month, after being taken to New York City purportedly for a "psychiatric" consultation, Olson plunged to his death.