Secret Plan Revealed: CIA Told to “Destroy” Those Supporting Communist Germ Warfare “Myth”

Jeffrey Kaye
27 min readDec 5, 2022
Front cover of CIA’s 2010 brochure, “Baptism by Fire,” which introduced the release of hundreds of formerly declassified CIA records on the Korean War. (Public Domain)
  • In summer 1952, the U.S. government grappled with Communist charges of U.S. use of biological weapons (BW) in the Korean War, labeling the accusations part of a Soviet-instigated “Hate America” campaign. Top officials claimed disingenuously in internal communications that they didn’t understand “the precise reason for choosing germ warfare as the subject of the present campaign.”
  • The Acting Director of the U.S. Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) wrote to top officials at the Pentagon, State Department and the CIA that Communist charges of U.S. atrocities in Korea, including use of BW, constituted “a horror-weapon… an attack against the very structure of human civilization.”
  • In the first months following the July 1953 Korean War armistice, the PSB had to admit that the U.S. had failed in its earlier propaganda efforts, and “not supplied the world with authoritative documentation to refute the [BW] charge.”
  • As a result, according to the high-level psychological warfare Operations Coordinating Board (OCB), the U.S. needed to implement a secret, “specific program of U.S. action to destroy and counter-exploit the Soviet bacteriological warfare myth.”
  • The aim of the program was “to discredit Soviet propaganda and undo and reverse any belief” in the BW allegations — even though over the past eighteen months, Armed Forces cryptanalysts secretly had been listening in real time to North Korean and Chinese military units’ communications about the extent of and necessary response to multiple biological weapons attacks by U.S. forces.
  • To achieve the aims of the U.S. government, both overt and covert actions were needed, with covert programs to be under the control of the CIA. Operational plans were proposed to use “counter-propaganda and personalized seduction and coercion” to be “initiated as a matter of urgency against persons and groups where the Soviet [BW] campaign has been especially effective.” [Italics added for emphasis]
  • Less than two months after the above plans were approved, Frank Olson, a CIA scientist helping lead Ft. Detrick’s Special Operations Division in BW research, was murdered when he apparently became a security risk in relation to the