WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The CIA once developed a secret mind-control plan to induce "an unwitting foreign official to assassinate one of his country's leaders or, "if necessary," an American official abroad, newly released documents show.
The chilling plan was part of Operation Artichoke, the intelligence agency's 23-year program of experimenting with exotic poisons and drugs for use in mind and behavior control.
The three-page, 25-year-old memorandum detailing the assassination plan, was obtained by American Citizens for Honesty in Government under a Freedom of Information suit.
The citizens group is sponsored by the Church of Scientology, an organization that has been feuding for years with the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and a number of other federal agencies over its tax-exempt status.
Recent congressional investigations have found that the CIA plotted the assassination of Cuban leader Fidel Castro and some other foreign leaders.
The CIA says none of the plans was carried out. And it called the mind control plans purely hypothetical.
The newly released, censored memo shows, "The Artichoke team visited (blank) during period 8 January to 15 January 1954.
"The purpose of the visit was to give an evaluation of a hypothetical problem, namely: Can an individual of (blank) descent be made to perform an act of attempted assassination involuntarily under the influence of Artichoke?"
"Essential elements" of the problem were outlined in the memo:
"It was proposed that an individual of (blank) descent, approximately 35-years-old, well-educated, proficient in English and well-established socially and politically in the (blank) government be induced under Artichoke to perform an act, involuntarily, of attempted assassination against a prominent (blank) politician or, if necessary, against an American official."
A handwritten footnote indicates the plan was "simulated only."
"Because the subject is a heavy drinker," it continued, "it was proposed that the individual could be surreptitiously drugged through the medium of an alcoholic cocktail at a social party, Artichoke applied and the subject induced to perform the act of attempted assassination at some later date.
"...After the act of attempted assassination was performed, it was assumed that the subject would be taken into custody by the (blank) government and thereby 'disposed of.'"
But the Artichoke panel concluded the project could only be used under "crash conditions" because of these limitations:
"The subject would be an involuntary and unwitting subject.
"We would have none, or, at most, very limited physical control and custody of the subject.
"Access to the subject is strictly limited to a social engagement among a mixed group of both cleared and uncleared personnel."
The memo added, however, that the Artichoke team would undertake the problem "in spite of the operational limitations" if there were "crash conditions."