In 1949, the CIA created the Office of Scientific Intelligence. Its first director, Dr. Willard Machle, traveled to Germany to set up a special program to interrogate Soviet spies. The CIA believed the Russians had developed mind-control programs and wanted to know how US spies would hold up against this capability if caught. He also aimed to explore the feasibility of creating a “Manchurian candidate” through behavioral modification. Thus, Operation Bluebird was born. Bluebird, later called MKULTRA, was a research activity experimenting in behavioral engineering of humans. The Nuremberg Code prohibits experimentation with humans without their consent. During this program, Dr. Frank Olson, a US Army biological weapons researcher, was given the drug LSD without his knowledge, leading to his death by leaping from a building. DCI Richard Helms ordered much of the documentation destroyed, and the circumstances of his demise remain controversial to this day.
as World War II ended, the race was on with the Soviet Union to seize as many German scientists as possible in anticipation of the Cold War. The full story has remained elusive until now. Operation Paperclip, by Annie Jacobsen, provides perhaps the most comprehensive, up-to-date narrative available to the general public. Her book is a detailed and highly readable account of the program. Jacobsen compiled extensive primary and secondary sources, duly annotated in over 100 pages of notes and bibliography. In it are many new sources, among them US government records (President Clinton’s “Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act”), German archival records, first-person accounts, memoirs, and letters. The book also contains a useful index and biographies of the principal players.