Addendums and Corrections
"AN EVALUATION OF REMOTE VIEWING: RESEARCH
A Review of the A.I.R. Report - 4 of 4
Paul H. Smith
This document is the fourth of a four-part review of the CIA- sponsored report by the American Institutes
of Research (AIR) of its evaluation of the U.S. government's twenty-four
year long remote viewing program. Part One, Bologna
on Wry Bread, covers the operational intelligence portion of the
program. Part Two, A Second Helping,
points out that the research reviewed by the AIR was inadequate as a basis
for a fair assessment of remote viewing. Part Three, Scraps
and Crumbs, examines the AIR's faulty evaluation of that research.
Part Four, has additional notes and corrections.
Since publishing the three installments
of my review of the CIA/AIR report on remote viewing, I have received a
number of comments concerning how I described Ed May's research in Part
2. My evaluation concluded that the research selected for evaluation�while
interesting from a parapsychological standpoint�was of limited value in
(a) establishing the reality of remote viewing, and (b) developing new
techniques to improve the efficiency of the operational effort. These two
goals were among the three originally mandated for the program by Congress
during the GRILL FLAME era, and never officially rescinded.
Based on what is evident in the AIR report,
and on peripheral material and knowledgeable sources to which I had access,
my assessment of the research program seemed accurate. The experiments
evaluated by the AIR at the behest of the CIA were the ten most recently
done by May at SAIC, and were arbitrarily chosen by Ray Hyman and his colleagues
at AIR to represent the research done on remote viewing. I still maintain
that those ten experiments were inadequate in achieving goals (a) and (b)
above. However, this assessment�admittedly based on incomplete, if nonetheless
extensive data�may reflect unfairly on Ed May's efforts and intentions
in the pursuit of remote viewing and psi research. It is, of course, not
Ed May's fault that Hyman and his associates refused to examine other of
the program's research that might have more strongly supported the remote
Comments from Joe McMoneagle shed further
interesting light on Ray Hyman's actions in the course of the AIR survey.
According to Joe, "Hyman sat down with two other members of the AIR staff
and two reps from the agency [CIA]," and sorted through "about sixty papers"
reporting on experiments done at SRI-I and SAIC. They then "'decided' which
ones they would accept for review..."
* * *
This November I had a conversation with
Dale Graff, who during his career was one of the primary DIA points-of-contact
for the program, and was also branch chief and project manager for the
operational unit at Ft. Meade in the early '90s. Dale told me he felt that
I had erred in my comments on the research program, and that I had based
my analysis on inadequate knowledge of the circumstances under which the
research program was conducted.
According to Dale (and he speaks with some
authority, since he was often intimately involved in the contracting process
throughout much of the program's history until his retirement in 1993),
there were many bureaucratic and political factors that went beyond operational
considerations in guiding the course the research took. Often, May was
forced by agencies and influential individuals with other agendas to pursue
specific experimental directions that went beyond supporting the operational
remote viewing effort. Neither May, nor Graff and his DIA associates were
fully able to dictate the route experiments were to take. Though I discussed
this problem in Part 2 of the review, I did not sufficiently recognize
the impact it had on the research program.
Dale made a further point in the course
of our conversation. He suggested that even if parapsychology research
unrelated to remote viewing per se did not directly affect remote viewing
as an intelligence collection tool, nonetheless successful research could
still help improve the program's prospects. Strong evidence of any psi
effect would undercut the objections of the critics and bolster support
for all aspects of the RV program�including the operational unit.
While I myself believe that a research
program that more fully concentrated on the remote viewing phenomenon itself
could have served much the same purpose, still Dale's point is certainly
* * *
Other information I received recently also
shows May in a more favorable light. According to Joe McMoneagle, "on two
occasions, Ed (with myself and others) did the two week circuit in DC,
convincing the folks in Congress that the program shouldn't be shut down
and it should be funded" (this refers to funding for the operational program;
research funding, Joe explains, was a separate issue).
Part 2 of the review also contained some
misinformation that I must here clear up. My evaluation of the support
received from Ed May and the research program was based on mine and others'
perceptions at the "operator level" in the Ft. Meade unit. We saw little
or no input from the research folks to show that they even cared that we
existed, and concluded they were ignoring us and going off on their own
Thanks to McMoneagle, I now know that perception
to be erroneous. He mentioned in his communications with me that along
with the boxes of research passed to the AIR evaluators (and, as I reported,
not subsequently "evaluated") were another "nineteen packages of reports,
recommendations, and materials from SRI-I and SAIC, [including] collection
methodologies," which had been passed to the managers of the operational
program over the period 1988 to 1994 and NEVER OPENED. In other words,
the research program was indeed attempting to fulfill its obligation to
support the operational unit, but was apparently short-stopped by the very
people who should have been integrating any promising new techniques or
methods developed by the research.
As an operational viewer, I find it outrageous
that this material was not at least evaluated, and passed on if it looked
useful. Whether or not it could ultimately have been integrated with the
other successful methods we used (and I suspect that much, if not all might
have been), I think most of us would have welcomed the opportunity to at
least entertain responsible new ideas and approaches�particularly if they
shed light on some of the thornier problems with which we often had to
deal. I owe Ed May and his team an apology on this one.
Finally, I must reiterate a point I made
in Part One of the Mr. "X" review, which McMoneagle has reminded me of.
One should have no illusions about the last days of STAR
GATE. In its final years, the program suffered from major problems
and deficiencies, and provided no little ammunition of its own to be used
against it. Uneven and at times outright bad management, poor performance
and few accurate results in the latter years, ill-will from upper-echelon
bosses, poor unit morale, and divisiveness within the organization tolled
STAR GATE's death knell. Nevertheless, had the program's
high-level management (i.e., from the director and deputy director level
on down), (1) wanted the program to succeed, and (2) been doing their jobs
properly, the deplorable conditions at the Ft. Meade unit would never have
This is part 4 in a series of 4.
© 1996 Leonard Buchanan on behalf of Paul Smith aka "Mr. X"