Speculations on Drugs and Torture

Jeff Stein (email), the National Security editor for Congressional Quarterly wrote on April 4 in "Evidence Grows of Drug Use on Detainees," about the declassification of John Yoo’s "instantly infamous" 2003 memo approving harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects.

There can be little doubt now that the government has used drugs on terrorist suspects that are designed to weaken their resistance to interrogation. All that’s missing is the syringes and videotapes.

Both the title and the lead seem to overstate the case. A better title would have been "Speculation Grows..." As I said in my review at NewsTrust, this
well-written, sourced article needs something from the administration and deserves a better title

Is a headline writer at fault? Stein ends, "We may never know the truth." He quotes bioethicist Stephen Miles,

The new Yoo memo, along with other White House legal memoranda, shows clearly that the policy foundation for the use of interrogational drugs was being laid…I suspect that most of the use of interrogational drugs was by CIA and Special Ops interrogators, and thus still remains classified.
Jeffrey Kaye, a clinical psychologist for torture victims, says “I came across some evidence that they were using mind-altering drugs, to regress the prisoners, to ascertain if they were using deception techniques, to break them down,” but never explains.

Stein writes,

hard evidence that U.S. interrogators today are employing hallucinogens, like the LSD the CIA tested on unwitting subjects for at least 20 years beginning in the 1940s, has yet to surface [although] there is tantalizing evidence that the use of such drugs since 9/11 has been, at a minimum, seriously contemplated, if not implemented.
He cites a July 17-18, 2003, workshop hosted by the CIA, RAND Corp. APA, “Science of Deception: Integration of Practice and Theory,” and a "a December 2006 study by the Intelligence Science Board, a wing of the National Defense Intelligence College in Washington, D.C." See link. He alerts readers to an interesting piece, "The Green Light" forthcoming in Vanity Fair, which I also reviewed.

My one suggestion, while Stein cites a book on MKULTRA, more compelling to me would have been a link to the 1977 testimony of Admiral Stansfield Turner, Director of Central Intelligence, reporting

recent discovery of seven boxes of documents related to Project MKULTRA, a closely held CIA project conducted from 1953-1964. As you may recall, MKULTRA was an "umbrella project" under which certain sensitive subprojects were funded, involving among other things research on drugs and behavioral modification. During the Rockefeller Commission and Church Committee investigations in 1975, the cryptonym became publicly known when details of the drug-related death of Dr. Frank Olsen were publicized.