At the height of the Cold War, the CIA conducted covert, illegal scientific research on human subjects. Known as Project MK-ULTRA, the program subjected humans to experiments with drugs such as LSD and barbiturates, hypnosis and (some reports indicate) radiological and biological agents. In 1973, CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all documents from Project MK-ULTRA destroyed. Nevertheless, late the following year, the New York Times reported on the illegal activities. In 1975, the Church Committee, headed by Senator Frank Church, and a commission headed by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller investigated the project. They found that over more than two decades, the CIA spent nearly $20 million, enlisted the services of researchers at more than 30 universities and conducted experiments on subjects without their knowledge. Some of the research was performed in Canada. Some historians argue that the goal of the program was to create a mind-control system by which the CIA could program people to conduct assassinations. In 1953, Richard Condon dramatized the idea in the thriller The Manchurian Candidate, which was adapted into a film starring Frank Sinatra. Such ultimately wacky ideas were also dramatized in the recent George Clooney film The Men Who Stare at Goats.
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