Eric Olson is the principle investigative source and leading narrative voice for the six-part Errol Morris 2018 docudrama miniseries “Wormwood,” now available in 190 countries on Netflix. Eric is the son of Frank Olson, an American biological warfare scientist and Central Intelligence Agency employee, who died in 1953 in what was initially called an “accident,” after “falling or jumping” from a hotel window.
Twenty-two years later, in 1975, the CIA claimed that Olson’s death had in fact been an LSD suicide. In 1976 the Olson family received a financial settlement from Congress, after receiving the only Presidential Oval Office apology ever given to anyone in the whole of American history, bestowed by Gerald Ford, but engineered by his chief aides Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Subsequent investigations by Eric and others have shown that the LSD story was yet another layer of coverup of what was in fact a brazen murder — a secret execution. Sixty-five years after the incident occurred, a process is underway in New York to have the death officially re-classified as a “Homicide.”
This lecture is about the life and work of Eric Olson, centred around three questions that have obsessed him.