Operational Remote Viewing at Ft. Meade

During the 16 years of its existence, the Ft. Meade RV unit was tasked from at least 18 different agencies with 450 projects, and a total of 2738 operational sessions. (The chart shown below is derived from Ed May’s collection in his The Star Gate Archives books; we are comparing notes with our records and may add additional findings later.)


Client base for the Fort Meade RV-HUMINT program (1979–1995) 

Army – U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, CAJIT – Central America Joint Intelligence Team, CIA – Central Intelligence Agency, Customs – U.S. Customs, DEA – Drug Enforcement Agency, DIA – Defense Intelligence Agency, FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation, JCS – Joint Chiefs of Staff, JIATF – Joint Interagency Task Force, JTF – Joint Task Force, NSA – National Security Agency, NSC – National Security Council, ONI – Office of Naval Intelligence, USAF – U.S. Air Force, USAFCA – United States Army Foreign Counterintelligence Activity, USCG – U.S. Coast Guard, USN – U.S. Navy, USSS – U.S. Secret Service 

(May & Marwaha, 2019b, p. 18).

How is the value of remote viewing information determined?

This is how Star Gate’s clients assessed the value of the information provided through Remote Viewing. Additionally, the diagram above indicates that several tasking agencies continued to return with new projects. They would not have done so if they had found the information to be of no value.

Remote viewing either answered the customer’s question or it didn’t. If the data provided to the customer was accurate, but still contained nothing of intelligence value, the only honest thing to do as far as Fern was concerned was to count it as a miss. On the other hand, though Dale agreed that value to the customer was important, he and Lyn also wanted an evaluation system that would measure viewer accuracy even in details that didn’t matter to an intelligence user. It was a conflict between operational and scientific views. For example, if a viewer was tasked to find a lost dog, even though she described the dog and the bush where it was hiding, yet the owner couldn’t find the correct bush among the hundreds of other similar bushes in the neighborhood, then the data was highly accurate but completely useless. Once, Lyn and Fern had an argument about a report to be sent to a congressional committee. Lyn’s statistically driven figures showed a seventy-to-eighty percent success rate in gathering information. Fern changed it to fifteen percent, based on the actual value of the information to the customer. Lyn was incensed, but Fern maintained that he would feel the fire if he gave a too-glittering report to the committee, and the figures stood.”

Smith, Paul H. Reading the Enemy’s Mind. Tom Doherty Associates.

“For example, if a tasking agency wanted to determine if a certain type of aircraft was located at a designated airfield, we would cue the remote viewer with the geographic coordinates of that airfield. Since the viewer had no overt idea that she was targeted against an airfield, a remote viewing session that described an airfield provided some evidence that the viewer had “connected” with the target area. But if the session provided no information that could confirm or refute the presence of the suspected aircraft, the session would be rated by the tasking agency as having no intelligence value, the viewer not having connected with the information of interest.”

“Let’s look a little more closely at the issue. Imagine that you’re given a camera and a roll of film and told to take pictures of a certain building. You go out to the neighborhood, taking a few snapshots along the way. You find the address, and you begin to photograph the building. The person who told you to take the pictures actually wants to know if there is a red car parked in front of the building but didn’t want you to know this. Not knowing the client’s special interest, you take some nice pictures of the building from as many angles as you think appropriate. After you’re through, you take some more pictures of the neighborhood, including the cars in front of the building.

Now, when you take the pictures back, your client thumbs through them rapidly, tossing most of them aside. Some are good pictures of the building but of no intelligence value. Some are not of the building at all. A few pictures, however, clearly show the red car parked in front of the building and, as luck would have it, one of your extra pictures is of the car itself.

In the same manner, certain remote-viewing missions provided information of intelligence value. Some were quite spectacular, and special military commendations were awarded to the remote viewers. Others were great examples of remote viewing but provided little or no information of direct intelligence value. Still other sessions were complete misses, demonstrating that remote viewing is, among other things, constrained by individual differences. Even the best baseball sluggers only get a hit about thirty percent of the time they are at bat. That’s what “batting 300” means.”

Atwater, Frederick H. Captain of My Ship, Master of My Soul. Center Lane Books, 2024.

Despite remote viewing sessions scoring very well for their value and usefulness compared to other intelligence sources, as evidenced by client feedback and assessments, the 1995 AIR report nonetheless propagated the misconception that remote viewing had been proven to be ineffective. In the following excerpt from Reading the Enemy’s Mind by Paul H. Smith, the actual events leading to this misconception and its inaccuracies are explained.

These graphs show how much of the material from both operational sessions and research projects was reviewed for the AIR report.

Star Gate’s death throes began innocently enough with yet another congressionally-mandated evaluation of the remote viewing program. To do the review, the CIA hired a research firm, the American Institutes of Research, or AIR. The contract was signed in June 1995, but the review itself didn’t begin until July. Two outside experts were brought in to work with the AIR staff: a widely respected statistician, Dr. Jessica Utts of the University of California at Davis, and Dr. Ray Hyman, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon. Utts had spent a year as visiting scientist at the SRI remote viewing lab, so had familiarity with the research. Hyman had been a critic of remote viewing from his first visit to the SRI lab in 1972, reconfirmed by his role in the discredited National Research Council study of 1988.

The reviewers were given less than two months to examine the results of a quarter-century of research. This was an impossible task, so the volume of material was reduced in two ways: Only ten of the hundreds of remote viewing and other psi scientific experiments would be reviewed. And none of the thousands of remote viewing intelligence sessions prior to 1994 were to even be considered.

Utts did most of the work evaluating what research data was allowed to be looked at (fudging the rules a bit to look at legitimate data she had been forbidden to examine), and announced when she was done that “Using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established.” Hyman’s part of the report was largely a repeat of similar essays he had written in the past, and could easily have been composed without even examining the data. Still, he concluded that there was an unmistakable effect which he could not account for. He could find no flaws in the experiments or mistakes in calculating the statistics. Yet, in the end, Hyman rejected the evidence, recommending against remote viewing. The evaluation of the operational side of the program was just as perfunctory. Having already rejected virtually all of the operational military remote viewing data—the three to four thousand sessions or more that had been performed prior to 1994 by two dozen viewers—the AIR based its evaluation on approximately forty sessions conducted in 1994 and 1995 by three demoralized viewers. This means the evaluators used less than two percent of the data to come to the conclusion that “… the remote viewing phenomenon has no real value for intelligence operations …” and “… one must question whether any further applications can be justified … .”

The AIR executive summary states that: “in no case had the information provided ever been used to guide intelligence operations. Thus, remote viewing failed to produce actionable intelligence.” Blatantly false though this was, it was the message the media spread widely a few months later—that remote viewing had “never” been useful for intelligence purposes. After reading what the AIR had to say, I was sure that the CIA intended all along to destroy Star Gate. The flaws in the report were so obvious that it was hard not to believe that the Agency had given the AIR evaluators their marching orders in advance to find remote viewing worthless, and to do it in such a way as to make Congress think the assessment had been fair. There are reasons why this may have been what happened. At least two Directors of Central Intelligence who were familiar with Star Gate during its final days, Robert Gates and John Deutch, were strongly biased against remote viewing. Just two months after the AIR published its report, Gates’s negative attitude about Star Gate would be very evident during a Nightline interview with host Ted Koppel. […]

…, it is clear from the chronology that the decision to terminate was made even before the transfer date: The contract between the CIA and the AIR was signed in June 1995. The review began in July and was wrapped up sometime in September, with the final report published on the twenty-ninth of that month. But three months prior to publication—on the last day of June 1995, before the AIR review had even begun—the CIA ordered Star Gate to cease operations. […] After twenty-three years, literally to the month, the skeptics had won.

[…] It is a great shame that the government has abandoned operational remote viewing. Yet an unexpected blessing came of the CIA’s axing of Star Gate. Declassified, it no longer need be kept secret. Thus, a program of great, if not yet fully-realized promise, was about to be sent sprawling into the full light of the sun.

Smith, Paul H. Reading the Enemy’s Mind. Tom Doherty Associates.