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Cia frank olson { April 1 2001 }

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Magazine Desk | April 1, 2001, Sunday
C.I.A.; What Did the C.I.A. Do to His Father?

By Michael Ignatieff (NYT) 4928 words
Late Edition - Final , Section 6 , Page 56 , Column 1
ABSTRACT - Michael Ignatieff reports on case of Eric Olson, close friend of his and fellow graduate student at Harvard in 1970's, who has spent his life trying to prove that his father, Frank Olson, was not a suicide in 1953, but was murdered by CIA; Frank Olson died on Nov 28, 1953, after plunging from window at Statler Hotel in New York City; he was a civilian employee of United States Army, working on development of aerosols for delivery of anthrax; in 1975, Frank Olson's family received an apology for his death from Pres Ford; case reviewed; photos (L) For a quarter of a century, a close friend of mine, a Harvard classmate, has believed that the Central Intelligence Agency murdered his father, a United States government scientist. Believing this means, in my friend's words, ''leaving the known universe,'' the one in which it is innocently accepted that an agency of the American government would never do such a thing. My friend has left this known universe, even raising his father's body from the grave where it had lain for 40 years to test the story the C.I.A. told him about his death. The evidence on the body says that the agency may have lied. But knowing this has not healed my friend. When I ask him what he has learned from his ordeal, he says, ''Never dig up your father.'' Then he laughs, and the look on his face is wild, bitter and full of pain.

On Nov. 28, 1953, around 2 a.m., Armand Pastore, night manager at the Statler Hotel opposite Penn Station in New York, rushed out the front door on Seventh Avenue to find a middle-aged man lying on the sidewalk in his undershirt and shorts. ''He was broken up something awful,'' Pastore told reporters many years later, flat on his back with his legs smashed and bent at a terrible angle. Looking up, Pastore could see a blind pushed through an empty window frame high up in the Statler. The man had fallen from the 10th floor -- apparently after crashing through a closed window -- but he was alive. ''He was trying to mumble something, but I couldn't make it out. It was all garbled, and I was trying to get his name.'' By the time the priest and the ambulance came, the stranger on the sidewalk was dead.

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