WASHINGTON — U.S. military and intelligence officers spent as much as $20 million over two decades consulting psychics and others with suspected paranormal powers in an attempt to obtain--on the cheap and in a hurry--information pertinent to national security that was unavailable elsewhere.
As recently as 1993, a military agency asked the psychics to help locate tunnels suspected of being dug by North Korea under a demilitarized zone separating it from South Korea. Another federal agency sought to learn the precise jobs of individuals in various criminal organizations, while a third agency sought to learn the whereabouts of enemy spies.
These and other details about the military's extensive use of the psychics emerged Wednesday in a lengthy study of the government's secret "Stargate" program released by the CIA, one day after its conclusions were reported by several intelligence officials.
One of the salaried, full-time psychics employed by the Pentagon tried to channel the thoughts of others through his fingers in trance-like writings. Another used a combination of relaxation and meditation, while a third used meditation combined with map reading.
The CIA study concludes that the line drawings and other descriptive material produced by the psychics never substantially aided U.S. national security agencies and that the research should no longer be funded by the federal government.
Until now, however, the program's poor showing has not dampened the enthusiasm of various Pentagon officials for the psychics' so-called "remote viewing." It involves concentrating on a "target" picked by an agency or military unit and trying to "visualize" it well enough to describe its features or location.
One intelligence official said a total of around $20 million has been spent on the program over the last two decades, with all but $750,000 coming from the Defense Department. The CIA sponsored the research for a brief period in the 1970s after hearing of similar work in the Soviet Union, but quit because of poor results.