RALEIGH — A North Carolina’s man’s quest to learn how the military had experimented on him in the 1960s has turned into a class-action lawsuit for as many as 100,000 veterans the government used to test hundreds of different drugs, chemicals and biological agents over more than 50 years.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in the Northern District of California last week said the case could go ahead on behalf of any current or former service members who were subjected to chemical or biological testing without their informed consent. The government has said as many as 100,000 people were used for such testing between 1922 and 1975, when the military says it halted human experimentation.
The suit seeks to lift the oath of secrecy soldiers say they swore about what they went through, and asks the court to compel the government to provide the health care it promised subjects when they participated in the tests. It does not ask for monetary damages because the government is immune from most damage claims brought by military personnel.
Defendants in the case are the Department of Defense, the Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the CIA, which worked together to plan and conduct the tests. Representative of the VA and the Defense Department each said they could not comment on ongoing litigation.