Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures

Governmental Integrity

Netflix original docudrama miniseries Wormwood premiered on December 15th, 2017.

#Wormwood is a limited miniseries event.

rottentomatoes: 90%

metacritic: 82

imdb: 7.1

***SPOILERS AHEAD***




Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Olson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures, Peter SarsgaardFrank Olson

CIA microbiologist Frank Olson takes a plunge out of a 13th floor window of the Hotel Statler in Manhattan, New York to his death on November 28, 1953.  Toxicology report indicates he was dosed with lsyergic acid diethylamide otherwise known as acid or LSD.


Frank Olson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures, Peter SarsgaardFrank Olson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesFrank Olson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures“I’ll see you tomorrow.  I love you, Alice.” — Frank Olson

“‘And the third angel sounded.  And there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp.  And it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.  And the name of the star is called Wormwood.  And the third part of the waters became Wormwood.  And many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.'” — Frank Olson

“Bye.  It’s pseudo-science.  It’s a waste of government funding.  You’re all a bunch of jokers.  You’re all a bunch of thespians.” — Frank Olson

“It didn’t go well.  ‘Course not.  They laughed at me.  I made a terrible mistake.” — Frank Olson

“I think you should fire me.  I made a fool of myself at the meeting.  I messed up the experiment.  I lost control.  I can’t do this anymore.  I don’t have it in me.  I want you to fire me.” — Frank Olson

“They want me to see a psychiatrist.  They want me to talk to someone with higher clearance.  ‘Cause they’re concerned… they’re concerned that I might be a danger to you and the children.  I’m not sure I understand.” — Frank Olson

“Mal, can you give us a minute?  It’s all gonna be okay, I promise.  He’ll make sure everything’s all right.” — Frank Olson

“Dr. Abramson?  Since the last war.  I’d love one.  I can’t live up to anyone’s expectations.  At home, work.  I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing.  I… I don’t know.  I don’t remember… that.  Um… I mean, I panicked when I took over the division.  Vin has that job now.” — Frank Olson

Rational.


Alice Olson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures, Molly ParkerAlice Olson

“Okay.  Bye.  It’s a shame the adults in this family don’t communicate anymore.  Did you break security?  Did you falsify data?  Well, did you say something funny?  Why would they laugh at you?  Do you wanna tell me about it?” — Alice Olson

“You’re home early.  What?  What?  What psychiatrist?  W-Why do you need to talk to a psychiatrist?  Vin?  What’s… what’s going on?  I-I-I’m going with him.” — Alice Olson

“I just don’t know what’s going on.  Okay.  Okay.  Bye.” — Alice Olson


Vin Ruwet, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures, Scott Shepherd Vin Ruwet, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures, Scott ShepherdVin Ruwet, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesVincent Ruwet

“Hello, Alice.  We’re gonna be inside most of the time.  We don’t really fish.  Do you believe that story?  Ready, Frank?” — Vin Ruwet

“Well, we look forward to our continued collaboration with the Agency.  Hear, hear.” — Vin Ruwet

“Hello, Frank.  Excuse me?  There’s no right answers here, Frank.  It’s not that kind of test.  You didn’t do anything wrong.  Can I get Robert Lashbrook on the line, please?” — Vin Ruwet

“Mal’s gonna drive you home.  Frank and I are going to New York with Dr. Lashbrook.” — Vin Ruwet


Sidney Gottlieb, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures, Tim Blake NelsonSidney Gottlieb

“Gentlemen.  We have much to discover.” — Sidney Gottlieb

“You’ve taken over for Dr. Olson at just the right time.  Those men weren’t weak.  Just… susceptible to certain influences.  Remember… they’ve got methods we’re just beginning to understand.  We’re desperate to keep up.  It’s a lot easier to break a man than you might think, Dr. Olson.  Confusion to the enemy.” — Sidney Gottlieb

“Gentlemen.  TSS has embarked on a new program… called MKUltra.  This program is designed to help us to better understand human behavior… who we are, what we do, and more importantly, what we could reveal.  In this Cold War, the most dangerous weapon is information.  When a few scared boys confess on the world stage, it diminishes our country’s credibility.  We must find a way to contain these lies.  You are the men who know the secrets.  We are the men who keep the secrets.  Our coexistence depends on trust.  Tonight, we’re going to put that… trust to the test.  By now, you’re probably feeling a little unusual.  We have slipped a potential truth serum into your cordials.  Huh?  I think that you’re the one on stage tonight, Dr. Olson.” — Sidney Gottlieb

“Welcome, Dr. Olson.  Have a seat.” — Sidney Gottlieb


Dr. Harold A. Abramson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures, Bob BalabanDr. Harold A. Abramson

“It’s awfully nice to see you, Dr. Olson.  It has been such a long time.  I’ll take it from here.  Have a seat.  May I offer you a drink?  So, how am I supposed to help you?  Is this a problem where you’re thinking the wrong thoughts, and I’m supposed to help you think the right ones?  Well, is it because you feel trapped?  I have something else that we could try.  Okay?  Shall we?” — Dr. Abramson


Dr. Robert Lashbrook, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures, Christian Camargo

Dr. Robert Lashbrook


Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesWormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures


Errol Morris, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesErrol Morris

“What were you told at the time of your father’s death?” — Errol Morris

“Keep the cover-up going?” — Errol Morris

“Did he teach you to ride?  And you remember the funeral?  Gin or vodka?  Vin Ruwet is your father’s boss.” — Errol Morris

“Which they were, no?” — Errol Morris

“When did the parallels with Hamlet occur to you?  …Without destroying everything around him.” — Errol Morris

“The LSD cocktail.  Frank Olson couldn’t handle his drugs.  Went to the movies.” — Errol Morris

“Burn bowls?” — Errol Morris

“As you imagine it, is there a call from the White House to Langley saying, ‘give them all the documents?'” — Errol Morris

“When did you start to suspect that these documents might not be complete?” — Errol Morris

“You should mention that Dr. Abramson is an employee of the CIA.  Part of his work for them involved drugs.” — Errol Morris


Eric Olson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesEric Olson, Gerald Ford, Alice Olson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie Pictures, Bob BalabanEric Olson

“I was told that, ‘your father has had an accident.  He fell or jumped out the window and he died.”” — Eric Olson

“This is the story of my childhood.  When I’m awakened early in the morning on November 28th, brought out into the living room, and there sit my father’s boss, Vincent Ruwet… and a family doctor… and my mother.  And this is, like, really early in the morning, I don’t know, 4:30, five o’clock in the morning.  So there’s this kinda foggy, dark, early-morning light.  Ruwet was the one who told me, he says, ‘your father was in New York.  He had an accident.  He fell or jumped out the window, and he died.’  And I was completely paralyzed by this.  Not only because this was the news that your father has died… that, in a way, was the least of it.  He had an accident and he fell… or jumped out the window.  And how do these terms comport with each other?  If he jumped out the window… how is that an accident?  But on the other hand, what does it mean to say you fell out of a hotel room window?  What does that even mean?  What does that even look like?  A lot of my childhood and youth were spent kind of juggling these terms around.  How does fall, jump, and accident… how can you arrange this triangle of terms so that this thing gets sorted out in any possible way?” — Eric Olson

Wormwood is told through Eric Olson, the son of Frank Olson, an American biological warfare scientist and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1953. Olson was covertly dosed with LSD as part of the Project MKUltra, by his CIA supervisor and, nine days later, plunged to his death from the window of a hotel room in New York City. His death was initially regarded as a suicide, but subsequent investigations have raised questions of a cover up of an alleged murder.  Wormwood is an allusion to a Bible verse about a star that makes everything bitter, an allusion to biological weapons, and the effect of Eric Olson’s search for a resolution regarding the death of his father for 60 years. Errol Morris said that “What Wormwood tries to do is tell a story about how we know what we know and how reliable is that knowledge.” A key piece of evidence the film relies on is a CIA assassination manual from 1953, which instructs agents, “The most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface.  Behind which, the whole emotional reaction, ‘your father just died,’ got lost because I couldn’t even understand what they had just said.  For me it was like a bomb was just dropped on my head.  At that moment, the world stopped making sense entirely.  Somehow, I need to talk about this.  Which was the last thing my mother wanted to hear.  Her thing was, ‘well, haven’t we already talked about that?’  I had to… ‘when did we talk about it?’  ‘Well, we talked about that.  I’ve told you everything.’  It’s like one of those things, ‘when did you tell me?’  ‘We have talked about that.  Why do you keep bringing this up?  Can’t you let this go?’  That was the whole thing, ‘can’t you let this go?  We have to move on here.’” — Eric Olson

“When the story came out in the Rockefeller Commission Report, I get this phone call from my brother-in-law.  ‘You should read the Washington Post today.’  So I ran down to Out of Town News in Harvard Square, get the Washington Post… read this thing, and I’m just totally blown away.  There it is, on the front page, ‘suicide revealed.’  ‘The Rockefeller Commission has discovered that an army scientist, after being drugged with LSD, jumped out the window of a New York hotel.’  How many scientists could be jumping out of windows in 1953 in New York City?  This has gotta be my father.  But, wait.  They didn’t call us.  They didn’t notify us, didn’t say, ‘it’s your father.’  How do you know?  Maybe it isn’t.  My sister Lisa and her husband Greg decided immediately that the person who would know whether this referred to Frank Olson or not is my father’s former boss, Vin Ruwet. They initially got his wife, who said, ‘Vin is not home.  He wouldn’t know about this anyway.  Goodbye.’  It turned out he had been over at the CIA, getting instruction about how to handle this because he knew his phone was gonna start ringing.  I guess on authorization from the Agency, he did confirm, ‘yes, this is your father.’  But that’s basically all he did.” — Eric Olson

“When my father’s case had suddenly been disclosed, we decided, well, ‘let’s call Seymour Hersh.’  It’s due to him that we even are able to go down this road.  He would write the first story that would appear before a major press conference that we were gonna have the following day.  So Hersh arrives at our house, this is June 1975, and he walks in the front door and I’m the guy who opens the door.  Without introducing himself, without any hello or anything, he goes, ‘this must be the most goddamn uncurious family in the United States.’  He says, ‘how you could have lived with this bullshit story for 22 years is beyond me.’  The next day, his article appears.  We then have this press conference, which, due to his article, was extremely well attended.  We decided to have this at our home, because we felt we’d be more comfortable speaking on our own ground.” — Eric Olson

“Fort Detrick, where my father worked, is just beyond the trees.  If there weren’t leaves on the trees, you could see Fort Detrick down below.  I wanna introduce my family to you.  This is my mother, Alice Olson.  This is my brother, Nils Olson.  My sister, Lisa Olson Hayward.  And I’m Eric Olson.  This has been something that we’ve lived with as a kind of shrouded mystery, the question of how my father died, for 22 years.  So now, that kind of shrouded, most mysterious part of our lives as individuals and as a family.  And that shift parallels another shift for all of us, which is the shift from thinking that my father’s death was some sort of mysterious suicide, to knowing that it was a CIA atrocity.” — Eric Olson

“If you’re nine years old, and you’re identified with your father, identification at that age is a very radical notion.  It’s in that mirroring… that you find yourself.  I was strongly identified with him at the time.  And suddenly, he just disappeared.  The memories of him are really fragmentary.  The trauma of his death really, you know, wreaked havoc with a lot of memory.  I do have a fragmentary memory of him pushing me on a bike.  As I look at this little film clip, it’s as if I’m starting to fall forward off this bike.  That whole identification thing with him, the falling and so on.  Bike riding is a funny thing, where you’re constantly one the edge of falling, actually.  It’s only the speed that keeps you balanced.  So there’s something about the body, and the falling, and the not falling, and the forward motion, something about all that, and the balance, it just was very calming to me to ride bicycles.  And, you know, I loved it.  Yeah.  He did.  I don’t, actually.  I have some fragmentary memory of sitting in a pew of this church.  I had some kind of almost out-of-the-body experience that I’m kind of in that place, and yet I don’t have a clue where I actually am, and what’s going on.  What I remember much more clearly is right after the funeral, the whole congregation basically goes to the cemetery.  My mother didn’t want me to go to that, so I was… oh, wow.  I was taken over to Vin Ruwet’s house.  I remember being suddenly in a room, which seems, in my memory, utterly barren.  You don’t know why you’re there.  Extreme alienation.  Cut off from everything.  That’s my memory of this.  Vin Ruwet.  Some room.  As a kid, you have sort of intuitions.  You kind of sense people you like, and don’t like.  You don’t know why, you don’t know what’s going on, but you do have this kind of visceral reaction.  I just remember being in that house, feeling lost. Where the hell am I?  There’s nobody there.  It’s, like, go in this room and wait.  After my father died, Ruwet starts to come to the family house pretty much every day to have martinis with my mother.  Gin, I think.  Gin.  Yeah.  Gin.  This was the beginning of her slide into alcoholism, and as we later foiund out from those CIA documents we got from Colby, he had been ordered to, quote, ‘keep track of the wife.’  It was a directive to Ruwet: ‘keep track of the wife.’  Exactly.  In this special operations group, which is kind of sub-set within Detrick.  And my father had been the chief of it, but he stepped down some months earlier.   Ruwet was a military guy.  He was a colonel.  And as soon as you got into his presence, you felt like, ‘oh, Jesus, I’,m gonna do something wrong here.’  He, early on, was made nervous by me, and I don’t know what I was saying, but I was somehow giving off signals that… I wasn’t… well-adjusted in the context of this whole story that my father suddenly vanished.  Another thing you have to remember here, is that my father didn’t die.  He really disappeared.  When he went to New York, we never saw him again.  He’s put in a casket in New York… taken back to Frederick.  They say, ‘you can’t open this thing, because, unfortunately, he’s been too seriously injured.  We wouldn’t want you to see this.’  No one ever saw him again.” — Eric Olson

“My father was the son of Swedish immigrants who came to this country around 1890.  He was born in a small mining town: Hurley, Wisconsin.  And he goes to the University of Wisconsin to study basically agronomy, growing crops.  Kind of like a generation beyond the farm, in a way.  His thesis adviser and chairman of the department there becomes the adviser to the government in setting up this biological warfare installation… calls my father to join in that operation.  That’s important to remember: how quick this whole transformation was, from being a laboratory research guy, interested in growing things, to being involved in biological warfare, and killing things.  My mother always said that when he came home from work for lunch, she could see from his expression that the experiments that morning had gone well, which meant all the monkeys had died… and this was always a very traumatic thing for him, seeing the monkeys die… in the lab.” — Eric Olson

“It was only a few days after the press conference that we’re in the White House.  I mean, in one sense, it’s kind of emblazoned in my memory, but it’s emblazoned in a very spotty way.  There’s certain things that I recall.  I don’t have a continuous memory of everything.  But there were certain moments of it that I really recall.  First of all, we were almost late to the meeting.  We were caught in a traffic jam on the beltway and had to go over onto the shoulder, and speeding past cars, doing all kinds of stuff to get down to the White House in time for this meeting.  And we’re ushered in fairly quickly.  There was no waiting.  I mean, we were kind of taken directly into the Oval Office, and there is Gerald Ford.  He had a kind of personal warmth… that my mother responded to very strongly.  I was pretty transfixed myself, just by the… by the beauty of that room.  When the president sort of looks at you and, you know, says, ‘we’re sorry,’ that’s a very powerful moment.  Ford didn’t actually say much of anything about the content of what he was apologizing for.  I later discovered he was told not to.” — Eric Olson

“What they then told us was, we are just so distraught about what’s happened, we think you should get compensation, but we’re concerned that if you go to the courts, you’re gonna lose.  If you lose, you’re not gonna get what you’re rightfully entitled to, therefore we think it would be much better if you went through Congress, and we’re gonna help you.  Later, when I was given the White House correspondence… which included memos back and forth between Cheney, Rumsfeld and others, I realized what had been going on there, because they’re quite clear in saying if the lawsuit goes forward, this family is going to have a right to information, which we’re not gonna give them.  So what we gotta do is make sure that this family does not go forward with this lawsuit.  Somebody got a brainstorm.  Invite them to meet the president.  We’re the only people in the whole history of this country who ever got an apology from the president in the Oval Office… for the unintended consequences of some government policy.  I mean, you really gotta stop for a minute and pause and go, ‘wow.  How often does that happen?’  That would be zero.  It doesn’t happen.  And it worked.  They got us to drop the idea of a lawsuit.  Instead proceed with this… what became a private bill in Congress.” — Eric Olson

“I had three objectives.  One was that there be full disclosure of all information relating to my father’s death. The second was that the CIA would give assurances that this would never happen again, and they recognized that this was an illegal act which was done, and the third was that there be a financial settlement with the family.  I think we all felt, after today, meeting with the president, that there was a kind of healing effect in his expression on behalf of the American people of apology and sympathy.  I think we all responded to that very much.” — Eric Olson

“It took me a long time to say, ‘wait a minute.  There may be something here.’  The whole idea of the ghost of Hamlet’s father, ‘remember me,’ that you have some kind of a task ahead of you.   Hamlet can’t unpack this crime… including himself.  It’s not as if he’s a distant observer, who can kind of figure this thing out without being undone by it.  It affects everything.  He starts making all kinds of mistakes.  You don’t know if the guy is off the rails.  He probably doesn’t even know it.  You kind of lose a baseline of assumptions, because you’re now questioning everything.” — Eric Olson

“After my father’s death, Vin Ruwet came, looked through all my father’s things, removed certain items, but interestingly enough, left this very conspicuous two-page carbon copy of the invitation to the Deep Creek Rendezvous.  My father’s research group at Detrick had a relationship with a group at CIA.  They occasionally had meetings, where they would discuss ongoing projects.  This was one of those meetings.  The second purpose was to get these guys together, have a kind of cocktail hour, spike the punch.  Yes.  then kind of precipitate a conversation about scientific work, and see how the conversation goes.  And that’s ‘the experiment.’  Everybody was okay, except Frank Olson kind of went off the deep end.  Yeah.  That’s right.  but the trouble with that story is, he wasn’t over the deep end during the weekend.  He came back with the family, and was stone-cold sober and very reflective, and, in fact, concerned about his future and the family’s future.  Went to the movies.  Saw a good… biopic about Martin Luther.    My mother always kind of said, you know, kind of matter-of-fact way, ‘hmm, we might have made a bad choice of movies.'” — Eric Olson

“My father, the very next day, goes to work and sort of metaphorically nails his thesis on the door, and says, ‘I’m leaving.  I’m quitting.’  He goes to New York Tuesday morning.  Late Friday night, early Saturday morning, he’s dead.  I mean, that is a very fast sequence.” — Eric Olson

“Roughly a week after the visit to the White House… we go to the CIA to have this… lunch with William Colby.  The emblem of the CIA is there, ‘you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’  You walk past that, pretty soon you’re sitting in the office of the director of the CIA.  How many people get that?  Not many.  This was another occasion where I really dropped the ball.  He goes around the table and asks, ‘what is everybody doing?’  I’m a graduate student at Harvard in psychology.  He goes, ‘I’m very interested in psychology myself.’  He says, ‘I’m interested in the polygraph.  The lie detector.’  And then he says to me, ‘what are you interested in?’  So I start to explain, ‘well, I’m doing this thing around collage.’  He goes, ‘wow.  That’s interesting.  So we get into this kind of crazy discussion between the lie detector and the collage method, which was pretty insane.  This was summer of ’75.  The Vietnam War had just ended.  It was known at that time that Colby had headed Phoenix Program, which had assassinated roughly 20,000 people.  The estimates vary.  And he was really in charge of this thing.  Pretty soon we were in a discussion about whether the Vietnam War could have ended differently or not.  And he said, ‘all we needed was more guns, more rifles, and we could have prevailed.’  Colby’s attorney, Mitch Rogovin, comes in, carrying this stack of documents.  Rogovin says to us, ‘we hope you don’t discuss any of this with the press.  This is for your own edification, benefit, knowledge, not for public consumption.’  This pile of documents is really a flimsy account.  First of all, it was incoherent.  You’ve got statements by different people, from different perspectives.  They’re not really compatible with each other, and they don’t add up to a narrative.  You read the things and you go nuts.  You go, ‘what?  W-W-Wait a minute.  What about this? What about that?’  The whole package of documents just disintegrates.  I mean, you kind of have nothing left.  And, obviously, if we had known what the documents were like, and if we had had our wits about us, we would have said to Colby, ‘look, we’re gonna try to go through these documents, but we’re gonna need your help.  So we would like to come back in a couple of weeks and sit with you, and you can walk us through this.’  Well, we didn’t do that.  And it turns out, you only get one chance, if then.  That chance is not really a chance, because you’re not alert enough to know that’s what you’re gonna need.  You’re gonna need somebody to sit with you and elucidate these things.” — Eric Olson

“My father is taken to New York, sees this ‘doctor,’ Dr. Abramson, who turns out to have not been a psychiatrist.  Turns out to be an allergist who did practice some version of psychiatry.  Who, it also turns out, my father knew from years before, when they were developing ways aerosolization of various biological agents, including anthrax.  Allergists… are very concerned with how particles are distributed in the air.” — Eric Olson


Alice Olson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesAlice Olson

“The tragedy that happened to the family, uh, was very deep and very real, and it was committed by the government, and it should not have happened.  But I think it is remarkable and it should be noted that an American family could call a press conference, and receive communication through the press and to the president of the United States.  I think that is a tremendous tribute to our country.” — Alice Olson

“When he came back from Deep Creek, he’d been gone for three days, and he came in very depressed, very quiet, and I sat at the table and said, ‘it’s a shame the adults in this family don’t communicate anymore.’  Because it was so totally unlike him.  And the weekend, uh, he spoke very little, but he was concerned about a bad mistake.  He had not done well at the meetings.  People had laughed at him.  And it was very… it was totally unlike the kind of person that he was.  I couldn’t comprehend what was happening.” — Alice Olson


David Rudovsky, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesDavid Rudovsky

“I still remember, one o’clock in the morning, asleep, getting a call from Eric… July, 1975.  ‘Did you see the headlines in the paper today?  The guy on the front page of the newspaper hurling out the window, that’s my father.’  Dealing with him both as a friend and now as a client, having to deal with the CIA, Congress, the president, the Department of Justice, all of whom have their own interest to release as little as possible, and to try to make this thing go away.  Yes.  And remember, this is 1975.  A lot is going on.  The Rockefeller Commission Report, the investigations in Congress over the FBI and domestic surveillance… Nixon has resigned, a lot of turmoil and a lot of questions about the integrity of the US government.” — David Rudovsky

“Probably, ‘give as little as possible, but give them something.’  Clearly, there were documents that had to have been created at the time this happened, right?  The reports, there’s investigations.  We got clearly official documents which demonstrates a real cover-up.  I remember the term they used: ‘backstopping.’  Trying to prevent anybody from really finding out what happened.  And very clear from that set of documents that what was going on was, ‘we’ve got to come forward with something more than we said in 1953, but as little as possible.'” — David Rudovsky


David Kairys, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesDavid Kairys

“Rod Hills, the counsel to the president, called me at home.  My name was all over in the media.  I thought it might be a prank by a friend.  ‘President Ford wants to apologize to Alice Olson.  We’d like you to come in on Monday.  All of you.’  I thought, ‘oh, this is terrific.  Alice is gonna really appreciate this.’  But then I thought, you know, this could project that it’s over.  And this was by no means over.  We hadn’t started yet.  I felt they were perhaps trying to short-circuit it.  Yeah, absolutely.  They were trying to seal us in.” — David Kairys

“I call it the experiment suicide story.  It was the story told by the president, the attorney general, the Rockefeller Commission Report, the media, everybody.  I certainly didn’t go into it thinking it might be something more egregious than that.  We proceeded, wanting to get all the documents the government had.  It’s typical legal litigation kind of strategy.  We go to the CIA.  Alice refused to go.  She told me, ‘Colby was there when all this happened.  I don’t need to hear from him.’  We come into the seventh floor, the hotbed of the CIA.  It all looked normal until I saw these bowls.  Burn bowls, yeah.  Made it clear where I was.  The destruction of documents was very important to this organization.  Colby’s gonna do some kind of apology.  He was very nervous and stiff.  He apologized.  He said, ‘here’s these documents.’  And it’s what we call ‘The Colby Documents.’  And they said it’s everything there is on the whole mattter.” — David Kairys

“If you mean, when was the first inkling?’  It was quick.  But it wasn’t yet, ‘oh, this… something else might have happened.’  It wasn’t at that level yet.  It’s like ‘oh.  Can they really operate this way?  Can they not have an overall summary or conclusions and analysis, and just have these scattered, sketchy statements from memos?’  Partly, I’m looking for a human level.  You put this guy in this state.  Then you have him in your custody for nine days.  The focus was security, and not the well-being or health of Frank Olson.  They decide he needs psychiatric treatment, so they sent him to an allergist.” — David Kairys

“He gives three statements in the Colby Documents that become increasingly defensive, self-serving and CIA-serving.” — David Kairys


Seymour Hersh, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesSeymour Hersh

“While working on Watergate, chasing down all those various leads, etcetera, I ran into a couple of guys, one who had just left the CIA, who said, ‘if you think Watergate’s something, find out what we’ve been doing,’ and he was sort of murky about it.  Yeah.  It was complicated.  They had made efforts inside the Agency to get the Justice Department involved.  They wanted Colby to do something about what they knew to be a fact.  There was an internal report of misdeeds.  They were getting no action.  I happen to think that if this story hadn’t been published in some form, I doubt if all of these investigations would be going on.  That’s self-serving, but that’s simply the way I look at it.  You bet.  Lord knows, Washington’s been quibbling about the word ‘massive’ for a few months, including, I must say, an awful lot of the press corps.  And as they say, I hope they’re all eating crow tonight.  I know I’m not.” — Seymour Hersh


Harold A. Abramson, Wormwood, Netflix, Fourth Floor Productions, Moxie PicturesHarold A. Abramson

“LSD… has found its greatest dangers, I believe, in the… hands of those who are not qualified to use it.  Namely, those who administer it to themselves.  When properly qualified physicians use it, I do not consider it a drug that’s any more dangerous than any other drug used in medicine.” — Harold Abramson


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