Wizards of Langley: Inside the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology / Edition 1

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In 1953 Frank Olson, an Army scientist, enjoyed an after dinner Cointreau with colleagues. Ten days later, he leapt to his death. The drink had been spiked with LSD in an early CIA experiment with hallucinogenic drugs. Eventually the CIA's new office for science and technology conducted 182 other such "mind-control" projects, ranging from behavior modification and toxins to brain stimulation and electrode implants.

In this, the first full-length study of the Directorate of Science and Technology, Jeffrey T. Richelson walks us down the corridors of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virgina, and through the 4 decades of science, scientists, managers, and political infighting that produced the CIA we have today. He tells the story of amazing technological innovation in service of intelligence gathering, of bitter bureaucratic infighting, and sometimes of stunning moral failure. Based on original interviews and extensive archive research, The Wizards of Langley turns a piercing lamp on many of the Agency's activities, many never before made public.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
High-tech satellites are only one component of the CIA's science program. This detailed behind-the-scenes account of the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology, by a senior fellow at the National Security Archive, shows how the agency has protected the United States by advancing the art of spying and analyzing information, including the role of technology in the Gulf War.
Richelson provides...a fascinating glimpse at the bureaucratic wars that were waged inside the intelligence organization.
Scientific American
Richelson shines a spotlight on a group unknown to most Americans.
Washington Post Book World
Richelson's book offers a rare glimpse into a vital aspect of U.S. intelligence.
Publishers Weekly
In recent years, the media have presented several reports on the tragic and scandalous 1953 death of army scientist Frank Olson. Ten days before Olson died, a Central Intelligence Agency researcher had slipped a dose of LSD into the unwitting Olson's drink. The hapless army scientist quite literally went mad and leapt to his death from the window of his New York hotel room. Press accounts have couched Olson's death as the work of a sinister CIA. In Richelson's even presentation, the Olson case, horrific as it was, is less representative of a CIA run amok than it is of a paranoid Cold War mentality in which the nation's premier intelligence agency was tasked with developing extraordinary measures for extraordinary times. The directorate responsible for those measures is the focus of this fine and meticulously researched study by master Langley-ologist Richelson (The U.S. Intelligence Community, etc.). Richelson places into context the directorate of science and technology's operations, from sci-fi-style remote-viewing experiments to very practical scientific advances that would eventually find application in heart pacemaker technology. Espionage aficionados will recognize a set of familiar project code names: JENNIFER, MKULTRA and others. Familiar spy personalities are also in abundance: Ray Cline, William Colby, Richard Helms. But Richelson expounds on what's already known, giving new insights into such matters as the development of U.S. aerial and space reconnaissance systems. The evolution of the aircraft that would become the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane is particularly fascinating, as is the story of the New York Times's investigative reporter Seymour Hersh's apparent agreement to a 1972request from the CIA to withhold the true mission of the Glomar Explorer, a spy ship that had been dispatched to recover a sunken Soviet submarine. Photos. (Sept.) Forecast: As the scientific wing of the agency takes on increased importance in the new race for space, this book, if hand-sold as a solid, conservative perspective on the agency's history, could turn out to be a steady seller. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology developed powerful tools such as the U-2 and reconnaissance satellites for collecting intelligence as well as more mundane items like small but long-lasting batteries, which eventually found their way into pacemakers and other medical devices. It also conducted controversial experiments with LSD on unsuspecting human subjects and explored the use of psychics for intelligence work. Richelson (fellow, National Security Archive; A Century of Spies) provides a richly detailed account of the agency's work from its founding in 1948 through the first days of George W. Bush's administration. The book's focus is on the development of spy hardware, much of it using cutting-edge technology. However, the infighting between the CIA and the military over who would control America's intelligence network provides an even more fascinating angle. Based on interviews and archival research, Richelson's book expands on the coverage provided in Ronald Kessler's Inside the CIA (LJ 9/1/98) in giving readers a look at one of the most secretive parts of the U.S. government. For public and academic libraries. Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ., Parkersburg Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Richelson (National Security Archives) traces the efforts of the US Central Intelligence Agency to develop and apply advanced technology for collecting information and other spy purposes since it was founded in 1947, the creation and evolution of the Directorate beginning in the early 1960s, and its activities ranging from developing reconnaissance systems to supporting clandestine operations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813366999
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey T. Richelson received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Rochester in 1975, and has taught at the University of Texas, Austin, and the American University, Washington. A senior fellow at the National Security Archive in Washington, he lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Table of Contents

1 Unexpected Missions 1
2 False Start 39
3 A New Beginning 67
4 Space Reconnaissance Wars 102
5 Change of Command 131
6 Empire 161
7 Cracks in the Empire 194
8 Breaking Down Barriers 222
9 A New World 243
10 Agile Intelligence 264
11 Uncertain Future 280
App. 1 DS&T Components 293
App. 2 DS&T Leadership 295
Acronyms and Abbreviations 299
Notes 303
Sources 355
Index 373
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