Did The CIA Really Create a Heart Attack Gun?

Last updated on December 6th, 2022 at 04:54 am

The Central Intelligence Agency has been involved in some wild and crazy schemes over the years, but a heart attack gun may take the cake. 

Rumors claim that the CIA created a weapon to induce a heart attack in someone from a distance. So, did they do it? Or is this just another conspiracy theory? 

Let’s take a closer look at the evidence and see if we can determine whether the CIA did create a heart attack gun.

Frank Chuch holds the “heart attack” gun. Associated Press.

The Trail of Conspiracy Never Ends

There’s a conspiracy theory making the rounds on the internet; some people believe that the CIA created a heart attack gun that can assassinate someone from a distance. 

Is there any truth to it? It boils down to the first question that a person would logically ask; was it possible for them to create a “heart attack gun?” 

Did the CIA have the authority, the resources, and the motive to make such a weapon?

The answer to those questions is a resounding yes. Over the years, the CIA was involved in shady business, so it’s not entirely out of the possibility that they would develop this weapon. 

Moreover, they have developed other “lethal” weapons, especially during their battle against Fidel Castro and Communism. So, it’s not like they’re entirely opposed to developing these gadgets.

The other question is whether they had the resources to develop such a weapon. Yes, the CIA has access to some of the best scientists and engineers in the world. 

If they wanted to create a heart attack gun, they had the resources. The last question is whether they had the motive to make such a weapon. Again, the answer is yes. 

The CIA has a long history of trying to kill national leaders whom they viewed as a threat. If they could develop a weapon that would allow them to kill them without being caught, they would likely use it.

Looking at all the evidence, it seems clear that the CIA did have the ability and the motive to create a heart attack gun. 

The Smoking Gun?

In 1975, during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Senator Frank Church revealed that the CIA had been working on a secret project called “Project MKNAOMI.” 

This project explored the feasibility of using chemical and biological weapons against enemies. In other words, they were trying to create weapons that could assassinate people without being detected. 

Of course, someone could dismiss this as speculation, but Mary Embree, the leading researcher on the project, spoke in an interview about the heart attack gun.

Mary went to work for the CIA as an 18-year-old high school graduate. She started as a secretary and created hidden listening devices and other surveillance equipment. 

However, she was soon promoted to the Office of Technical Services, where she was asked to find an undetectable poison and not much else. 

This kind of “need-to-know” mentality was characteristic of the CIA at the time. Mary knew that the CIA was big on taking care of targets without a trace, so she assumed the undetectable poison was for a new generation of “wet work.”

After extensive research, Mary discovered that shellfish toxin would be the ideal substance for this heart attack gun. Once it did its work, it would be undetectable post-mortem and untraceable to the CIA. 

Scientists researched this weapon at Fort Detrick. Under Dr. Nathan Gordon, a CIA chemist, Mary and the rest participated in tests on animals and prisoners.

How Did The Heart Attack Gun Work?

The weapon involved creating a dart from a frozen mixture of water and the toxin that would act as a dart when fired from the gun. 

CIA Director William Colby confirmed the weapon’s existence and described how it worked. His testimony revealed the gun was a modified M1911 handgun with a scope attached and a battery in the handle. It used electricity to fire, and the effective range was up to 100 meters.

Colby’s testimony revealed that the only way someone would know they were shot would be a small red dot at the point of entry. 

Essentially the dart would enter the person’s body “without perception,” compared to a mosquito bite, which could mean that they would feel nothing at all. 

The frozen dart would immediately melt, releasing the poison into the victim’s body. 

Shellfish toxins were already known to be dangerous and would simulate cardiac arrest. Furthermore, researchers knew that an autopsy performed on the victims would come back as a heart attack. 

Mary said she didn’t know if the government used the gun on anyone besides prisoners and animals. The CIA echoed the same sentiment in the congressional hearing. 

However, many assumed the CIA used the weapon in assassinations, but there is no proof.

The End of CIA “Wet Work”

Regardless of how secretive the CIA tried to be, the public was growing more aware of the illegal activities of the United States intelligence agencies. 

Then a New York Times article revealed some illicit operations, and the Senate could wait no longer. So, Senator Frank Church investigated CIA activities despite Nixon’s effort to shut down MKNAOMI in 1970. 

It came out that Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, head of Project MKULTRA, had approximately a third of the shellfish toxin created in the lab and refused to hand it over.

Dr. Sydney Gottlieb

The hearing was meant to calm public fears and show that the CIA would be held accountable for its actions. The heart attack gun was only a tiny part of the overall picture of the CIA’s illegal activities. However, it was one of the most alarming to the public. 

After Mary’s testimony and Colby’s confirmation, officials decided that the CIA would no longer be allowed to conduct any “wet work.” 

So, President Gerald Ford signed an executive order forbidding any government employee to engage or conspire in political assassination. 

During the hearing, the public viewed the weapon and assumed the CIA would hand it over to the military, but many suspect they kept it.

A Concerning Precedent

The heart attack gun is concerning because the CIA actively researched ways to kill people without being detected. 

In addition, they were willing to test these methods on prisoners and animals without consent. 

Thirdly, the heart attack gun was designed to be untraceable, meaning that we would never know if anyone used it in an assassination. 

And finally, the heart attack gun sets a precedent for other governments and organizations to do the same.

The CIA’s illegal assassination methods came under fire, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped. On the contrary, it’s likely that they’ve only become more secretive and have found new ways to kill without being detected. 

What sort of technology have the CIA or other government organizations produced since then; astonishingly, this weapon capability was possible in 1975. 

If they wanted, they could create something more future-related and less detectable. 

The heart attack gun is a scary reminder of what the CIA is capable of, and it’s a sobering thought to know that such a weapon could be out there.

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