Remote viewing is a form of “psychoenergetic perception” (i.e. clairvoyance) developed as part of a long-term $20 million research program initiated by U.S. intelligence agencies in the early 1970s. Now known by the codename Stargate, the program was initiated largely in response to the belief that the Soviets were spending large amounts of money on psychic research.
Research into remote viewing began in 1972 at the Stanford Research Institute, “an independent non-profit research institute that conducts contract research and development for government agencies” (actually, a think tank that has nothing to do with Stanford university).
Led by Harold Puthoff, who had worked for the National Security Agency and was at the time a Scientologist, the research involved training people who were believed to be gifted psychics to use their alleged abilities for psychic warfare. Among these individuals were the New York artist Ingo Swann, who claimed to have remotely viewed the planet Mercury, and Uri Geller, the psychic spoon-bending fraudster.
In 1974, Puthoff and his colleague Russel Targ published the results of the experiments they had performed with Geller, in Nature, the most prestigious of scientific journals.The paper was accompanied by an editorial disclaimer, but nevertheless provided impetus for further research and funding (and gave Geller an air of authenticity that undoubtedly helped propel him to international stardom).
By 1985, the Stargate program was in full swing, and there were up to 7 full-time remote viewers, as well as support personnel, in the employ of the CIA. In that year, Puthoff and Swann published the remote viewing manual which was used to train the psychics to produced detailed information about enemy sites at specified geographical co-ordinates.
Hundreds of intelligence gathering “missions” have been conducted within the Stargate Program, including determining the whereabouts of Muammar Gaddafi, marines kidnapped in Lebanon, and North Korean plutonium. The U.S. military continues to employ psychics: it is reported that psychics were employed to help find Saddam hussein, and that the Department of Homeland Security hopes to adopt Russian “mind-reading” technology to identify terrorists.
Similarly, a classified report released recently under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the British Ministry of Defence contracted commercial researchers to investigate psychic ability, perhaps so that they could use remote viewing to find Osama bin Laden and locate Iraqi weapons caches.
Targ, R. & Puthoff, H. (1974). Information transmission under conditions of sensory shielding. Nature 251: 602-607.