CIA Must Disclose Data on Human Experiments
ANNIE YOUDERIAN - November 17, 2010
(CN) - A federal magistrate judge in San Francisco ordered the CIA to produce specific records and testimony about the human experiments the government allegedly conducted on thousands of soldiers from 1950 through 1975.
Three veterans groups and six individual veterans sued the CIA and other government agencies, claiming they used about 7,800 soldiers as human guinea pigs to research biological, chemical and psychological weapons.
The experiments, many of which took place at Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick in Maryland, allegedly exposed test subjects to chemicals, drugs and electronic implants. Though the soldiers volunteered, they never gave informed consent, because the government didn’t fully disclose the risks, the veterans claimed. They were also required to sign an oath of secrecy, according to the complaint.
The veterans filed three sets of document requests to find out who was tested, what substances they were given, and how it affected them. Between October and April, the government produced about 15,000 pages of heavily redacted records, most of which related to the named plaintiffs only.
The CIA argued that much of the information requested was protected under the Privacy Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James Larson acknowledged that some of the requests were too broad and ordered the veterans to be more specific and to reduce the total number of requests.
For example, Larson said the plaintiffs’ definition of “test program” is “overbroad,” as it not only named experimental programs like “Bluebird,” “Artichoke” and “MKUltra,” but also included “any other program of experimentation involving human testing of any substance, including but not limited to ‘MATERIAL TESTING PROGRAM EA 1729.’”