Saturday, 26 Nov 2022

CIA looked into using 'truth serum' after 9/11

The CIA explored finding a “truth serum” to use on terrorism detainees in the years after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, according to a declassified report that was released as part of a lengthy Freedom of Information lawsuit.

The report, written by a chief CIA medical official whose identity has not been disclosed, detailed that Project Medication, as the effort was named, was shelved in 2003.

But not before the agency doctors had explored whether “drug-based interviews” would make for a less harsh alternative to the brutal interrogation practices like sleep deprivation, small-space confinement and waterboarding that the CIA employed in the years after 9/11, tactics that have come to be widely referred to as torture.

The report noted the agency’s previous forays into the field of truth serums, citing a 1961 report that concluded that individuals who could withstand interrogations would probably still be able to hold out in altered mental states.

A drug called Versed, known by its generic name as midazolam, was identified by the report as the preferred drug for truth inducement.

But the report noted that any use of such a drug would probably bump up against legal obstacles: those that banned conducting medical experiments on prisoners, as well the use of mind-altering drugs in interrogations. The CIA never asked the Justice Department to look at the issue, effectively shelving it.

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