The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Colby, on Tuesday (16 September) admitted that the CIA had kept a secret supply of lethal poisons and clandestine weapons despite a Presidential order to have them destroyed.
GV interior of inquest room.
SV Sen. Frank Church speaking
SCU William Colby CIA Director speaking
GV Senators looking at dart gun.
SV & CU Church asks question about dart and Colby answers
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: CHURCH: "Why, in the matter of this (indistinct), was not written order given to destroy the toxin in compliance with the President's direction?".
COLBY: "I don't know."
CHURCH: "No effort was made to obtain a (indistinct), no check was made to see whether or not the material had in fact been destroyed?"
SEQ. 3: COLBY: "Apparently not sir."
CHURCH: "Don't you think that's an exceedingly loose way to run an agency.....ah.....particularly the.....ah.....CIA?"
COLBY: "Well, we're going to try and run it tighter."
SEQ. 5: CHURCH: "And the dart itself, when it strikes the....ah....target....ahm....does the target know that he's about to....to....that he's been hit and about to die?"
COLBY: "That depends, Mr.Chairman, on the particular dart used; there are the different kinds of these (indistinct) that we use in our various weapon system and a special one was developed which potentially would be able to enter the target without perception."
CHURCH: "Without perception?"
CHURCH: "And did you find such darts in the lab....in the laboratory?"
COLBY: "We did."
NORTH: "CIA Director Colby said that the decision to keep the poisons had been made on a middle level and top officers of the CIA had not even known of its existence until recently."
"Colby said that the Agency developed sophisticated weapons to administer the deadly poison. He sowed the senators a special dart gun which can be used to fire the toxin. Colby insisted that the poison had never been used to kill anyone but he conceded that there was enough toxin to kill hundreds of thousands of people."
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Background: The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Colby, on Tuesday (16 September) admitted that the CIA had kept a secret supply of lethal poisons and clandestine weapons despite a Presidential order to have them destroyed.
Colby was giving evidence before a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities in Washington.
The Director was called before the Committee to testify why 11 grammes of shellfish toxin, capable of killing thousands of people, and 8 milligrams of cobra venom was stored by the CIA long after President Nixon had ordered the destruction of such biological warfare weapons.
Colby told the Committee that the decision to retain the toxins after the Presidential order to destroy them had been given, was taken by a middle level official in the CIA.
He insisted that no senior officer in the CIA knew about the poisons being kept.
Colby also revealed the existence of special clandestine weapons used to administer the poisons.
These included a silent poison dart gun with a range of more than 100 yards (about 90 metres) and a fountain pen dart launcher.
While giving evidence, Colby produced an electric dart gun resembling a 45 calibre revolver which was passed around and gingerly handled by the senators.
The Director said some of the darts could enter a victim without the person even being aware that he had been hit.
After the poison contained in the dart had completed its deadly work it would be extremely had to detect the cause of death.