In the mid-1960s a CIA-endorsed project searched for the perfect truth serum, indifferent to the number of “expendables” used in the experiments.

In 1964, according to some researchers, the CIA’s MK-ULTRA project was renamed MKSEARCH, indicating a refined search for the perfect truth serum. However, some investigators claim that MKSEARCH was actually one of the more insidious of all the secret projects being conducted at that time. Based on some of the initial research of Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron, who had begun his career with the OSS, later the CIA, in World War II studying the experiments of Nazi psychiatrists with concentration camp prisoners, and Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the head of MK-ULTRA, who tested the effects of LSD on unsuspecting individuals, the project required “expendables” in order to be effective. By “expendables” the researchers meant subjects whose disappearance, should they happen to die during the experiments, was unlikely to arouse suspicion.

MKSEARCH tests would be carried out at CIA safe houses in such cities as Washington, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The experiments would focus on the exploitation of human weaknesses and the destabilization of the human personality. In large cities, it was suggested, finding “expendables” who would not be missed would be much easier than in smaller towns or rural areas. The subjects of the experiments would be exposed to tests designed to create disturbances of behavior, alterations of sex patterns, and stimulation of aberrations, which could all be used in the process of interrogations and the obtaining of information.

Gottlieb founded two separate laboratories, neither of which was aware of the other’s existence or the nature of the project. A private civilian research facility in Baltimore was assigned to find a chemical that could mimic death by carbon dioxide poisoning and another that could arouse a desire for sex. The other facility was the Army Biological Laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, which had been working on a similar project, MKNaomi, since 1952. Gottlieb also allocated $85,000 to Dr. Harold Abramson, an immunologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, to conduct experiments in disturbance memory.

There is no clear evidence that MKSEARCH ever conducted its research on “expendables,” for in 1972 Richard Helms, director of the CIA, ordered records of all 150 individual projects of MK-ULTRA destroyed.