Steven Aftergood calls "fairly readable" Paul Smith's Reading the Enemy's Mind, a retired Army intelligence officer's account of U.S. government research into the possibility of using clairvoyance, or "remote viewing," as a tool for collecting intelligence.[1]  --  Aftergood's remarks, with links to's page for the book, are followed by a detailed summary account of the program, which began in earnest in 1970 and was terminated in 1995.[2] ...


By Steven Aftergood

Secrecy News
January 14, 2005

The pursuit of "remote viewing" or clairvoyance as a tool for intelligence collection, often regarded as a minor embarrassment in the modern history of U.S. intelligence, is the subject of a new memoir by one of the participants in the effort.

The author, Paul H. Smith, is a retired Army intelligence officer and practitioner of remote viewing. He does not propose a theory, physical or metaphysical, to explain how the technique might work. But he insists that it does. Most if not all studies by non-believers appear to have found little substance to it.

Smith provides a fairly readable account of the development of the initiative, known as Star Gate and other code names, and its sponsorship as an unacknowledged "black" program by the Army Intelligence and Security Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency through its termination by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1995.

Reading the Enemy's Mind: Inside Star Gate: America's Psychic Espionage Program by Paul H. Smith, January 2005, is available here:

A summary account of Star Gate may be found here: [posted below, #2]


FAS Intelligence Resource Program


STAR GATE was one of a number of "remote viewing programs" conducted under a variety of code names, including SUN STREAK, GRILL FRAME, and CENTER LANE by DIA and INSCOM, and SCANATE by CIA. These efforts were initiated to assess foreign programs in the field; contract for basic research into the the phenomenon; and to evaluate controlled remote viewing as an intelligence tool.

The program consisted of two separate activities. An operational unit employed remote viewers to train and perform remote viewing intelligence-gathering. The research program was maintained separately from the operational unit.

This effort was initiated in response to CIA concerns about reported Soviets investigations of psychic phenomena. Between 1969 and 1971, U.S. intelligence sources concluded that the Soviet Union was engaged in "psychotronic" research. By 1970, it was suggested that the Soviets were spending approximately 60 million rubles per year on it, and over 300 million by 1975. The money and personnel devoted to Soviet psychotronics suggested that they had achieved breakthroughs, even though the matter was considered speculative, controversial and "fringy."

The initial research program, called SCANATE [scan by coordinate] was funded by CIA beginning in 1970. Remote viewing research began in 1972 at the Stanford Research Institute [SRI] in Menlo Park, CA. This work was conducted by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, once with the NSA and at the time a Scientologist. The effort initially focused on a few "gifted individuals" such as New York artist Ingo Swann, an OT Level VII Scientologist. Many of the SRI "empaths" were from the Church of Scientology. Individuals who appeared to show potential were trained and taught to use talents for "psychic warfare." The minimum accuracy needed by the clients was said to be 65%, and proponents claim that in the later stages of the training effort, this accuracy level was "often consistently exceeded."

GONDOLA WISH was a 1977 Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) Systems Exploitation Detachment (SED) effort to evaluate potential adversary applications of remote viewing.

Building on GONDOLA WISH, an operational collection project was formalized under Army intelligence as GRILL FLAME in mid-1978. Located in buildings 2560 and 2561 at Fort Meade, MD, GRILL FLAME, (INSCOM "Detachment G") consisted of soldiers and a few civilians who were believed to possess varying degrees of natural psychic ability. The SRI research program was integrated into GRILL FLAME in early 1979, and hundreds of remote viewing experiments were carried out at SRI through 1986.

In 1983 the program was re-designated the INSCOM CENTER LANE Project (ICLP). Ingo Swann and Harold Puthoff at SRI developed a set of instructions which theoretically allowed anyone to be trained to produce accurate, detailed target data. [?] used this new collection methodology against a wide range of operational and training targets. The existence of this highly classified program was reported by columnist Jack Anderson in April 1984.

In 1984 the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council evaluated the remote viewing program for the Army Research Institute. The results were unfavorable.

When Army funding ended in late 1985, the unit was redesignated SUN STREAK and transferred to DIA's Scientific and Technical Intelligence Directorate, with the office code DT-S.

Under the auspices of the DIA, the program transitioned to Science Applications International Corporation [SAIC] in 1991 and was renamed STAR GATE. The project, changed from a SAP (Special Access Program) to a LIMDIS (limited dissemination) program, continued with the participation of Edwin May, who presided over 70% of the total contractor budget and 85% of the program's data collection.

Over a period of more than two decades some $20 million were spent on STAR GATE and related activities, with $11 million budgeted from the mid-1980's to the early 1990s. Over forty personnel served in the program at various times, including about 23 remote viewers. At its peak during the mid-1980s the program included as many as seven full-time viewers and as many analytical and support personnel. Three psychics were reportedly worked at FT Meade for the CIA from 1990 through July 1995. The psychics were made available to other government agencies which requested their services.

Participants who apparently demonstrated psychic abilities used at least three different techniques [at] various times:

--Coordinate Remote Viewing (CRV) -- the original SRI-developed technique in which viewers were asked what they "saw" at specified geographic coordinates

Extended Remote Viewing (ERV) -- a hybrid relaxation/meditative-based method

Written Remote Viewing (WRV) -- a hybrid of both channeling and automatic writing was introduced in 1988, though it proved controversial and was regarded by some as much less reliable.

By 1995 the program had conducted several hundred intelligence collection projects involving thousands of remote viewing sessions. Notable successes were said to be "eight martini" results, so-called because the remote viewing data were so mind-boggling that everyone has to go out and drink eight martinis to recover. Reported intelligence gathering successes included:

--Joe McMoneagle, a retired Special Project Intelligence Officer for SSPD, SSD, and 902d MI Group, claims to have left Stargate in 1984 with a Legion of Merit Award for providing information on 150 targets that were unavailable from other sources.

--In 1974 one remote viewer appeared to have correctly described an airfield with a large gantry and crane at one end of the field. The airfield at the given map coordinates was the Soviet nuclear testing area at Semipalatinsk -- a possible underground nuclear testing site [PNUTS]. In general, however, most of the receiver's data were incorrect or could not be evaluated.

--A "remote viewer" was tasked to locate a Soviet Tu-95 bomber which had crashed somewhere in Africa, which he allegedly did within several miles of the actual wreckage. In September 1979 the National Security Council staff asked about a Soviet submarine under construction. The remote viewer reported that a very large, new submarine with 18-20 missile launch tubes and a "large flat area" at the aft end would be launched in 100 days. Two subs, one with 24 launch tubes and the other with 20 launch tubes and a large flat aft deck, were reportedly sighted in 120 days.

--One assignment included locating kidnapped BG James L. Dozier, who had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades in Italy in 1981. He was freed by Italian police after 42 days, apparently without help from the psychics. [According to news reports, Italian police were assisted by "US State and Defense Department specialists" using electronic surveillance equipment, an apparent reference to the Special Collection Service]

--Another assignment included trying to hunt down Gadhafi before the 1986 bombing of Libya, but Gadhafi was not injured in the bombing.

--In February 1988 DIA asked where Marine Corps COL William Higgins was being held in Lebanon. A remote viewer stated that Higgins was in a specific building in a specific South Lebanon village, and a released hostage later said to have claimed that Higgins had probably been in that building at that time.

--In January 1989 DOD was said to have asked about Libyan chemical weapons work. A remote viewer reported that ship named either Patua or Potua would sail from Tripoli to transport chemicals to an eastern Libyan port. Reportedly, a ship named Batato loaded an undetermined cargo in Tripoli and brought to an eastern Libyan port.

--Reportedly a remote-viewer "saw" that a KGB colonel caught spying in South Africa had been smuggling information using a pocket calculator containing a communications device. It is said that questioning along these lines by South African intelligence led the spy to cooperate.

--During the Gulf War remote-viewers were reported to have suggested the whereabouts of Iraq's Saddam Hussein, though there was never an independent verification of this finding.

--The unit was tasked to find plutonium in North Korea in 1994, apparently without notable success.

--Remote viewers were also said to have helped find SCUD missiles and secret biological and chemical warfare projects, and to have located and identified the purposes of tunnels and extensive underground facilities.

The US program was sustained through the support of Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., and Rep. Charles Rose, D-N.C., who were convinced of the program's effectiveness. However, by the early 1990s the program was plagued by uneven management, poor unit morale, divisiveness within the organization, poor performance, and few accurate results. The FY 1995 Defense Appropriations bill directed that the program be transferred to CIA, with CIA instructed to conduct a retrospective review of the program. In 1995 the American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by CIA to evaluate the program. Their 29 September 1995 final report was released to the public 28 November 1995. A positive assessment by statistician Jessica Utts, that a statistically significant effect had been demonstrated in the laboratory [the government psychics were said to be accurate about 15 percent of the time], was offset by a negative one by psychologist Ray Hyman [a prominent CSICOP psychic debunker]. The final recommendation by AIR was to terminate the STAR GATE effort. CIA concluded that there was no case in which ESP had provided data used to guide intelligence operations.

RESOURCES [see original for links]

--Reading the Enemy's Mind : Inside Star Gate--America's Psychic Espionage Program, by Paul Smith, January 2005
--Remote Viewing Instructional Services, Inc. Enhancing Human Performance 1988, the National Academy Press
--Cognitive Sciences Laboratory parapsychology research
--Psi Explorer - Project StarGate
--Farsight Institute