Associated Press, Nov 28, 1995 18:28
CIA confirms U.S. used 'psychic' spies
November 28, 1995
Web posted at: 10:30 p.m. EST
AN FRANCISCO (AP) -- For 20 years, the United States has secretly used
sychics in attempts to hunt down Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, find
lutonium in North Korea and help drug enforcement agencies, the CIA and
thers confirmed Tuesday.
The ESP spying operations -- codenamed "Stargate" -- were unreliable, but
hree psychics continued to work out of Fort Meade, Maryland, at least into
uly, said researchers who evaluated the program for the CIA.
The program has cost the government $20 million, said Ray Hyman, a
sychology professor at the University of Oregon in Eugene, who helped
repare the study.
He said the psychics were used by various agencies for remote viewing -- to
elp provide information from distant sites.
Up to six psychics at any time worked at assignments that included trying
o hunt down Gadhafi before the 1986 U.S. bombing of Libya, find plutonium
n North Korea in 1994, and locate kidnapped Brig. Gen. James L. Dozier in
Gadhafi was not injured in the bombing. Dozier, kidnapped by the Red
rigades in Italy in 1981, was freed by Italian police after 42 days,
pparently without help from the psychics. News reports at the time said
he police were assisted by an undisclosed number of U.S. State and Defense
epartment specialists using sophisticated electronic surveillance
The study reported mixed success with the psychics. Hyman was skeptical,
hile his co-author, said Jessica Utts, a professor of statistics at the
niversity of California- Davis, said some of the results were promising.
"My conclusion was that there's no evidence these people have done anything
elpful for the government," Hyman said.
Utts, however, said the government psychics were accurate about 15 percent
f the time. In some tests, when given a series of four choices, they
icked the right answer a third of the time.
"I think they would be effective if they were used in conjunction with
ther intelligence," she said.
CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield confirmed the existence of Stargate and the
"The CIA is reviewing available programs regarding parapsychological
henomena, mostly remote viewing, to determine their usefulness to the
ntelligence community," he said.
But he noted that when the CIA first sponsored research on the program in
he 1970s, the program was found to be "unpromising" and was later turned
ver to the Defense Department.
The Defense Intelligence Agency made the psychics available to government
epartments that needed information, Hyman said. At one time as many as six
orked for the government.
Mansfield declined to comment on the psychics at Fort Meade or specific
The psychics were regularly tested by the Stanford Research Institute and
ater Science Applications International Corp., both south of San
Utts said that testing consisted of three basic efforts. In one, a "sender"
ould travel to a remote site and view an object, while the "viewer" back
n the laboratory would try to use extrasensory perception to describe and
A particularly talented viewer accurately drew windmills when the sender
as at a windmill farm at Altamont Pass in California, and later a
ootbridge across a marsh when the sender went to a San Francisco Bay area
The government also looked at precognition -- having psychics try to guess
n answer that had not yet been reached. And they looked at clairvoyance --
rying to discover something that has happened but is not yet known.
Both Utts and Hyman said the research was faulty in some respects. The
overnment often used only one "judge" to determine how close the psychics
ad come to the right answer. That should have been duplicated by other
udges, they said.
Both researchers also agreed that the psychics were not reliable enough to
e used alone.
But Utts said the statistical results were promising enough that research
"I would like to see funding in the open science world -- I think we're at
he point that something needs to be explained," she said.