Sunday, November 14, 2010

What was the CIA's MKNAOMI?

The following is reproduced from the August 1977 MKULTRA hearings (Appendix A) in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate. While it is not the last word by any means on this subject, information on the MKNAOMI program is scarce, and this is one of the primary source materials we have.
MKNAOMI was another major CIA program in this area. In 1967, the CIA summarized the purposes of MKNAOMI:

(a) To provide for a covert support base to meet clandestine operational requirements.

(b) To stockpile severely incapacitating and lethal materials for the specific use of TSD [Technical Services Division].

(c) To maintain in operational readiness special and unique items for the dissemination of biological and chemical materials.

(d) To provide for the required surveillance, testing, upgrading, and evaluation of materials and items in order to assure absence of defects and complete predictability of results to be expected under operational conditions. [9]

Under an agreement reached with the Army in 1952, the Special Operations Division (SOD) at Fort Detrick was to assist CIA in developing, testing, and maintaining biological agents and delivery systems. By this agreement, CIA acquired the knowledge, skill, and facilities of the Army to develop biological weapons suited for CIA use.

SOD developed darts coated with biological agents and pills containing several different biological agents which could remain potent for weeks or months. SOD developed a special gun for firing darts coated with a chemical which could allow CIA agents to incapacitate a guard dog, enter an installation secretly, and return the dog to consciousness when leaving. SOD scientists were unable to develop a similar incapacitant for humans.

SOD also physically transferred to CIA personnel biological agents in "bulk" form, and delivery devices, including some containing biological agents.

In addition to the CIA's interest in biological weapons for use against humans, it also asked SOD to study use of biological agents against crops and animals. In its 1967 memorandum, the CIA stated:

Three methods and systems for carrying out a covert attack against crop and causing severe crop loss have been developed and evaluated under field conditions. This was accomplished in anticipation of a requirement which was later developed but was subsequently scrubbed just prior to putting into action. [9a]

MKNAOMI was terminated in 1970. On November 25,1969, President Nixon renounced the use of any form of biological weapons that kill or incapacitate and ordered the disposal of existing stocks of bacteriological weapons. On February 14, 1970, the President clarified the extent of his earlier order and indicated that toxins -- chemicals that are not living organisms but are produced by living organisms -- were considered biological weapons subject to his previous directive and were to be destroyed. Although instructed to relinquish control of material held for the CIA by SOD, a CIA scientist acquired approximately 11 grams of shellfish toxin from SOD personnel at Fort Detrick which were stored in a little-used CIA laboratory where it went undetected for five years. [10]

[9] Memorandum from Chief, TSD/Biological Branch to Chief, TSD "MKNAOMI: Funding. Objectives, and Accomplishments." 10/18/67, p. 1. For a fuller description of MKNAOMI and the relationship between CIA and SOD, see p. 360.
[9a] Ibid. p. 2.
[10] Senate Select Committee, 9/16/75, Hearings, Vol. 1.
For more on MKNAOMI, see this article by H.P. Albarelli and Zoe Martell.

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