Declassified: "Ego Depressants"

This September 4, 1952 memo summarizes possilble uses of acid by a medical consultant to the CIA. The M.D., whose name is deleted, is especially zealous in suggesting strategic deployment of the hallucinogen.

"The use of these agents as offensive tools may already be under study. They should be. The dose of the agent we are now working on, LSD-25, is so small, one can calculate that the water supply of a large city could probably be disastrously and undetectably (until too late) contaminated with quantities readily available. It should not be difficult to sink a small container of this agent near the main outlet of water storge reservoirs, and the container arranged to 'excrete' a steady flow of the material over a period of many hours or days.

If the concept of contaminating a city's water supply seems or in fact is found to be far-fetched (this is by no means certain), there is still the possibility of contaminating, say, the water supply of a bomber base, or more easily still, that of a battleship.

Our own current work contains the strong suggestion that LSD will produce hysteria (unaccountable laughing, anxiety, etc). While our studies have so far been carried out in isolated individuals, one at a time, it is well known that hysteria is compounded when several vulnerable individuals are together. It requires little imagination to realize what the consequences might be if a battleship's crew were so affected.
These agents are being studied by some 200 investigators, probably on both sides of the Iron Curtain. I earnestly hope that the United States will not get behind in this field for want of an organized plan of attack."

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