Ransom paper, part 1

Ransom paper, part 2

Ransom paper, part 3

Ransom paper, part 4

Ransom paper, part 5

Ransom paper, part 6

Ransom paper, part 7

Ransom paper, part 8

Ransom paper, part 9

Ransom paper, bibliography

  The Frank Olson Legacy Project

Corey Ransom paper part 7


In late 1975 and early 1976 Sidney Gottlieb, the TSS and SOD were the subjects of yet another congressional committee, that of Senator Frank Church’s Select Committee to study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities. Gottlieb, had been called to testify about his role in CIA assassination plots of foreign government leaders, most notably the attempted assassination of The Congo’s Patrice Lumumba and the continuing program designed to eliminate Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Gottlieb’s specific testimony centered on the development and employment of chemical and biological weapons in such plots, weapons designed and developed under project MKNAOMI by the joint TSS/SOD team. These biological agents and delivery systems were derived from the work carried out by Frank Olson and had been the original topic of discussion at the Deep Creek Lake retreat. However, during his testimony, Gottlieb successfully dodged the topic of Frank Olson, his mysterious death, and Gottlieb’s pet project MKULTRA.

On May 19th 1976, the Senate approved a $1.25 million compensation bill proposed several months earlier by Maryland Senator Charles Mathias (who had been a member of the Kennedy and Church Committees) and urged the House of Representatives to pass a similar bill. Senator Mathias said of the bill,"[it] is an acknowledgement on the part of our government of the deception and evasiveness perpetuated upon the Olsons and the absolute necessity of ensuring that similarly inexcusable acts are never repeated." However in a cruel twist of fate, the House of Representatives struck down the Olson’s bill. Several months later, much modified and reduced to $750,000, the compensation bill was passed by the House of Representatives.

The Olsons reluctantly accepted the reduced payment. One condition of the bill however, had been to drop the wrongful death lawsuit against the government. The Olsons complied with this condition, in part to receive compensation and bring quick closure. Their attorneys also felt that there was not much of a case. Additionally, investigations reopened in New York City by the medical examiner and district attorney were closed for lack of evidence.

Meanwhile Eric Olson was becoming more consumed with the circumstances of his fathers death. Eric had received an interesting letter from Armand Pastore, the night manager who had been on duty at the Statler Hotel the night Frank Olson had fallen from his window. Pastore wrote that he had witnessed Olson’s fall, and after seeing the recent coverage in the press was compelled to write.

Pastore was able to relate with great detail the events he witnessed that night. He stated that Frank hit a construction wall almost headfirst and then crashed to the sidewalk. He had rushed to Olson’s side, finding him still conscious for a few minutes before dying. Pastore, then glanced up to determine which room Olson had fallen from. He could see the broken window on the thirteenth floor, room 1018A, and the shade hanging out. Pastore escorted the uniformed police up to the room where they unlocked the door and entered. That’s where they found Robert Lashbrook on the phone in the bathroom. Pastore stated that later that night he spoke with the switchboard operator who said he overheard a phone conversation between a man in 1018A to a man on a line to Long Island. One man had said, "he’s gone," the other responded "that’s too bad."

Eric Olson would later go back to the Statler hotel to spend a night in room 1018A. That night, Eric had a realization that there could possibly be more to the case than what the released documents told. Standing in the room, Eric felt that it would be difficult for someone to throw themselves through the window. There was a radiator blocking the window and the room was so small, it would be difficult to get a running start, something that seemed necessary to crash through a plate glass window. In addition, it seemed to be an unnatural act to dive through a window with the shades drawn. That night would inspire Eric to continue to keep an open mind about his father’s death, to keep the case open (at least as far as Eric was concerned) and to not wholly accept the ‘official’ story at face value.

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