In November 1953 Frank Olson, a US Army scientist, fell to his death from a New York City hotel window. Officially classified an accident, this was the first of a series of mysterious deaths of germ war scientists.
Frank Olson was an anthrax aerosolization specialist who was based at the US Army's germ war lab at Fort Detrick Maryland. At the time of his death he was part of Special Operations, a covert division with close links to the CIA which was run by Sidney Gottlieb the brainchild of notorious clandestine projects like MKULTRA, Project Artichoke and MKNAOMI.
At the time of death his family had no idea of his secret work and were just told that he had fallen in an accident. But during that short-lived period of post Watergate 1975, where the Rockefeller Commission looked into CIA excesses, it was revealed that Frank Olson had been given LSD which caused him to jump. His family was invited to meet with President Ford who offered an apology, they met with the CIA director and were eventually awarded a $750,000 settlement.
But Olson's son Eric believed there was more to the story and in 1994 had his father's body exhumed and examined by the country's leading forensic pathologist who determined that Olson had suffered a blow to the head before falling from the window. In other words he has been assassinated.
It's interesting to note that Frank Olson and Anthrax Attacks suspect Bruce Ivins both worked at Fort Detrick and were both anthrax specialists. Their deaths, half a century apart, are somber bookends to the dark world of germ war research we investigate in Anthrax War.
In fact we also uncovered a connection with Frank Olson and David Kelly and secret human testing experiments at the British Government's Porton Down lab. Olson had been a liaison between Proton and Fort Detrick and had witnessed experiments on volunteer servicemen there just months before his death. It is alleged that he was present during an experiment that killed a young serviceman volunteer.
That death and scores of complaints by fellow human guinea-pigs prompted the launching of the largest-ever police investigation by the Wiltshire Police Department into activities at Porton Down that spanned more than four decades - from the late 1940s up to 1989, a time when David Kelly was head of their Microbiology Department.
After an exhaustive investigation by team of thirty detectives that stretched over two years, the police recommended the prosecution of Porton Down scientists and senior MOD officials. But in July 2003, just days before David Kelly was found "dead in the woods" the Crown Prosecution Service quietly announced that they were dropping the case. The British press, who had made headlines of the story when the police announced their investigation, ignored this latest twist and another dark chapter in germ war history was lost in the shadows.
Were Frank Olson, Bruce Ivins and David Kelly all scientists who wanted out? Had they reached a point in their work at which they could no longer continue in good conscience? As Eric Olson so eloquently points out in his interview... it's sort of like the mob... you can never quit the International Bio-Weapons Mafia.