San Francisco Chronicle - Feb. 5, 1979, p. 10
The CIA's Plan to
Create a Nuisance
The CIA once proposed mind-control experiments in which hypnotized subjects would have an uncontrollable impulse to "commit a nuisance" on Groundhog Day in 1961, agency documents reveal.
The proposed experiments were contained in formerly secret CIA documents released last week under the Freedom of Information Act to the American Citizens for Honesty in Government, an organization sponsored by the Church of Scientology.
There is no evidence the experiments were carried out.
The proposal was contained in a heavily censored CIA memorandum dated Oct. 20, 1961, which said in part:
"We suggest that initial experimentation on amnesia and post-hypnotic suggestion could most efficiently and with the least risk of embarrassment be tried on (censored) . . . in experiments in which we would go no further than to have them forget the hypnosis episode and on Groundhog Day 1961 have an uncontrollable impulse to return to (censored) and commit a nuisance on the steps of the (censored)."
The memo, whose origin and destination were censored, said the CIA hoped to find out whether an unwilling subject could be quickly hypnotized and whether, once hypnotized, the victim could be made to undergo amnesia and "durable and useful post-hypnotic suggestion."
The memo seemed to indicate that criminals were suggested as the subjects of one set of experiments, and that the subjects should not be persons of high intelligence.
The document also suggested experimenting with the use of hypnosis for interrogating subjects.
"Concurrently with these more or less longer range experiments on low level (censored) subjects, it would be feasible to experiment with hypnosis as an interrogation technique by reopening certain now dormant unsettled cases in (censored) and elsewhere," it said.