CIA Faces Lawsuit for Alleged Coverup of Scientist’s Death in 1953

After a CIA bioweapons scientist fell from the 13th floor of New York’s Statler Hotel at 2:30 a.m. in 1953, an official report called the death a suicide. But not everyone is so sure.

Two sons of the scientist, Frank Olson, filed a lawsuit in Washington yesterday claiming that the CIA murdered their father. Two subsequent investigations into the incident have failed to clear the muddy waters—at least to those outside the Agency—and the sons are now looking for answers to questions they say have gone unanswered for too long.

The trouble seems to have started in Europe when Olson toured biological weapons facilities. He’d been working for the CIA for about three years at that point, and in Europe he witnessed “extreme interrogations in which the CIA committed murder using biological agents that Dr. Olson had developed,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle of the lawsuit filed this week.

Apparently, Olson was affected by what he saw. And not in a good way—in a way that worried the CIA that Olson was a security threat.

Five days before Olson’s death, the CIA treated him to dinner with an LSD-laced bottle of Cointreau. The day before his death, Olson told his superiors that he was considering resigning. The Agency took him to an allergist who prescribed sedatives. Olson and another CIA man checked into New York’s Statler Hotel that night.

At 2:30 a.m. Olson fell 13 floors to his death.

For the sons, Eric and Nils Olson, this is troubling. Mostly because the death of their father more or less matches assassination techniques described in Agency manuals—drug the target, hit him in the temple with something hard, and throw him out a window so he falls at least 75 feet onto a hard surface.

At Olson’s funeral in 1953, a closed casket concealed the body. But when the sons exhumed Olson’s body in 1994, a hematoma was found on the left temple. Now the sons want answers.

Via the San Francisco Chronicle.

Will Grant

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