Last September  the CIA confirmed the existence of a 20-year, $20 million research program in “remote viewing,” a subvariety of extrasensory
perception. On October 29, a Jack Anderson column added more details, and Ted Koppel of ABC’s Nightline weighed in with a program on November 28, by
which time many newspapers and wire services had picked up the story. By December, a number of pundits began lamenting this additional evidence of the
CIA’s protean power to waste taxpayers’ money.
Curiously, “remote viewing” was an old story, first reported by Anderson himself on 23 April 1984. Other Anderson columns of U.S. and Soviet interest
in psychic research date back to 1981. Anderson’s October 29 update reported that this project, which for a time was contracted out to the Stanford
Research Institute (SRI), had been scaled back and put under Pentagon sponsorship, but nevertheless continued. Although the results of these
experiments were reportedly mixed, the project retains its defenders in Congress: Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) and Rep. Charlie Rose (D-NC). By 1995,
Anderson didn’t have an opinion on the merits of this research, but his 1984 column was supportive. On Nightline, former CIA director Robert Gates
implied that pressure from members of Congress drove the CIA’s original involvement.
Another of Ted Koppel’s CIA guests, identified only as “Norm,” was a technical advisor for CIA deputy director John McMahon and, until 1984, a
coordinator for the SRI tests. “Norm” did mention the “eight-martini” results from some experiments; this was an in-house term for remote-viewing
results so uncannily successful that observers needed eight martinis to recover. Still, the general impression from Koppel’s show was dismissive. Only
about “fifteen percent” of the experiments, panelists repeated, produced accurate results. Gates argued that such research, if undertaken at all,
belongs in the academy.
Not for the first time, however, there’s more to this story than Ted Koppel acknowledges.
Ingo Swann, who was involved in the SRI project from 1972-1988, is upset with the media’s droll treatment of this revived story. Swann points out that
the original motivation behind the “remote viewing” project was the fear that the Soviets were investing significant resources in applied psychic
research, and might be making advances. At the time, at least, such a rationale would have been considered a plausible one to justify such a small
expenditure of intelligence money. Nevertheless, almost all mention of this element of the story, which had figured prominently in the first wave of
stories on “remote viewing,” was dropped in 1995.
Furthermore, Swann claims, the “fifteen percent” figure, established early in the SRI project, represented the baseline accuracy for non-gifted and
untrained persons. U.S. intelligence wanted sixty-five percent accuracy, and in the later stages of the project, Swann claims, “this accuracy level
was achieved and often consistently exceeded.” According to Swann, the key players in the project, and the documentation supporting the real story,
remain under the strictest security constraints.
Rest of that REALLY interesting article:
[Edited on 15-7-2003 by CoLD aNGeR]