The following is a proposed letter to be sent to various Senators.
The subject is a discontinued psychic espionage program funded by Congress.
In November of 1995, it was officially revealed that the U.S. Government had, for at least two decades, been funding a secret program for research and application of parapsychological techniques for intelligence gathering purposes.
This revelation has raised many questions. In particular, one might wonder whether it is appropriate for a modern government to engage in practices that are reminiscent of pre-modern times.
The question of the appropriateness of the unconventional collection of intelligence has not been addressed. The official position is that appropriateness is a moot point, since it has been determined that the techniques employed are simply ineffective for normal operational needs.
Such is the official story. But this matter is not so easily put to rest. Naturally there is public interest in tales of the occult, particularly where official secrecy is involved. There has been a stream of publications reporting on various aspects of this secret program. Only a few of the relevant documents have so far been declassified, but several of the participants have granted detailed interviews or published books. The result has been a confusion of charges and counter-charges, of sensationalism and skepticism.
A general overview of the program can be pieced together. Over its twenty some years, upwards of $100 million was spent mainly to research and apply remote viewing techniques to intelligence gathering. In its early stages the program came under the CIA and Army INSCOM, but control was later transferred to the DIA. In this later phase there was increasing involvement from the Congressional side.
As for results, on the operational side there were evidently several tantalizing near misses, along with some possible successes. So far there is no quantitative estimate of actual, overall benefits. As for the research results, the picture is even murkier. No reports on the tens of millions of dollars spent on the research have been located. The reason for this very serious discrepancy has not been established.
Among the charges are several directed at the Congressional members and staff responsible for funding this program. Along with undue meddling in the program, it is alleged that Congressional members and their staff used black funding under this project to secure illicit favors from recruited psychics, and for other inappropriate purposes. The public deserves to know the truth behind these allegations of misappropriation, mismanagement and missing records. Every year more than $30 billion is being spent on black projects such as this project was. This is the first such project to receive such detailed public scrutiny.
In light of the above situation, the following actions are recommended:
1. Expedite the release of the remaining available documents relevant to this program.
2. Commission a public review of all of the available information.
3. Hold Congressional hearings to review the past record and to consider various recommendations for the future.
Beyond the specific questions of ethics and legality being raised here, there is a much broader concern. There is a wide-spread and often intense interest in phenomena of a psychic or occult nature. This public concern is heightened whenever there appears to be government involvement. This program of psychic espionage is the only such instance that has been officially acknowledged. For Congress to attempt to ignore the aftermath of this program and its alleged mishandling would increase the publicís fear that the institutions of government might veer out of control and be subverted for darker purposes.
On the other hand, it has not been adequately determined that the techniques employed in this program are of no future value, or could pose no future threat to this country or its citizens if employed by others. An appropriate defensive posture might include a continuing low level of open research into remote viewing and other related techniques.
encl: a copy of Remote Viewers: The Secret History of Americaís Psychic Spies by Jim Schnable. New York: Dell Publishers.
P.S. Copies of this letter are being delivered to the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the following Senate Committees: Ethics, Intelligence, Armed Services and Appropriations.