By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON (Reuter) - Some people may have a paranormal ability to visualize hidden or distant objects without actually seeing them, a CIA-commissioned study made public Tuesday [Nov 28] reported.
But both the Central Intelligence Agency and the academic authors of the study said that the possible extrasensory perception, called remote viewing, had not been shown to be useful for intelligence gathering.
The study, by the American Institutes for Research, a private Washington social science research firm, said "statistically significant" results had been observed in laboratory experiments to test remote viewing.
The CIA commissioned the study at the request of the Senate Appropriations Committee, keen to know whether more government research into parapsychology was warranted to give U.S. spy
agencies an extra arrow in their quiver.
But the study, dated Sept. 29 and made public by the CIA after it was cited by ABC News, found that remote viewing had not been shown to help in collecting secrets for national security purposes.
Quoting unidentified "users" of images generated by supposed remote viewers, the study's authors said the material had never provided data "sufficiently valuable or compelling so that action was taken as a result" by U.S. officials.
David Christian, a CIA spokesman, said the spy agency, like the authors of the report, had concluded that no further official U.S. research into remote viewing was warranted.
"We think the intelligence community shouldn't pursue research on this and that it is best left to the private sector," he said.
Christian said the CIA had carried out research into remote viewing in the 1970s but had determined it to be unpromising and dropped the idea.
The CIA program, codenamed "Stargate," was initiated in response to concerns about a "psychic gap" with the old Soviet Union, according to Jessica Utts, a University of California, Davis, statistics professor who worked on the CIA-commissioned study.
ABC News reported [on Nov 28] that the CIA and other U.S. intelligence outfits had hired supposed remote viewers "to spy on hundreds of political and military targets," including the holding of 52 American hostages for 444 days in Iran after the embassy takeover in November, 1979.
ABC said people claiming to be capable of remote viewing also had been hired by U.S. spy agencies to pinpoint downed U.S. and Soviet aircraft, as well as to communicate with submerged submarines.
Christian declined to discuss examples of CIA use of so-called psychic spying, but said most of its research in the 1970s was "experimental." The Defense Intelligence Agency, which coordinates military intelligence, had no comment.
Utts, who specializes in evaluating parapsychology research, said the data she reviewed for the CIA study had produced the most credible evidence to date that humans were capable of paranormal psychic feats. "At this stage, using the standards applied to any other area of science, the case for psychic functioning has been scientifically proven," she said in a telephone interview.
Original file name: CNI - CIA.Remote Viewing 11.30
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