The CIA’s real Star Gate Program

A true story

If I told you this true story involved Saddam Hussein and nuclear weapons as just minor pieces to a bigger story you’d probably think this 2 decade long tale had something to do with the Gulf War or the Iraq War….it’s not.

This is about Star Gate, I’m not referring to the TV show ‘Stargate’. Instead, it’s about a little known CIA initiative that was declassified in the 1990’s as a part of Bill Clinton’s Executive Order #12958 April 17 1995 “Classified National Security Information”.

Well, the CIA has at least declassified portions of the project; some 270 pages of reports have been released out of the possible tens of thousands of documents created over the Star Gate project’s life which spanned from its inception in 1972 to 1995 when the program was made public. I should mention that we at least think the project has ended, at least according to the government, it’s over.

So what was ‘Star Gate’?

In essence, Star Gate was just one of the code names the CIA gave to a program that involved the U.S government’s reliance on a form of telekinesis called ‘Remote Viewing’. Other code names associated with off-shoots of the program included Sun Streak, Center Lane, Scan Gate and Grill Frame.

How it all started

Usually, one of the first questions that come to mind when people hear of this program is “Why is the United States even dabbling in the paranormal?” The second question is usually “So, I’m assuming that since it lasted for over two decades they must have some kind of success, right?”

Stargate Chronicles[Note: This CIA program is well documented in "The Stargate Chronicles: Memoirs of a Psychic Spy" by one of the program's participants, click for the Amazon link]

Let’s start with the first question of “Why?” It all started with two separate unrelated investigations on opposite sides of the country.

On the one hand we have the the spooks in the CIA which had learned in the early 1970’s that the Soviet Military was leveraging psychics for intelligence collection efforts. Rumors and intel lead the US spies to believe so called ‘Psi-Techs’ were being used in a variety of roles from telepathy to remote viewing and the cold war enemy was spending millions of dollars a year on their programs. Naturally, the US needed to maintain parity with the Russians in case it turned out there was any substance to this initiative.

On the other hand we had an unrelated initiative being conducted by a university physicist, Harold Puthoff Ph.D. He was starting to dabble in the research of quantum biology and was raising some interesting issues trying to relate physical theory with life processes. The government got wind of some of his research and recognized a possible link into the same psychic phenomena being used by the Soviets. While he hadn’t unearthed anything groundbreaking to get their attention in 1972, his research did make witness to some interesting results.

Swann, a seasoned psychic, had serendipitously seen the proposal, offered his services, and in the first experiment was asked by Puthoff to mentally perturb the quantum particles in this supposedly imperturbable superconductor.

Swann said he’d have to psychically “look” inside the magnetometer to do that, and when he did, the printout needles jumped. A graduate student carrying a clipboard blanched at the sudden peak in the readout and asked them to leave, worried that this $100 million piece of equipment must have malfunctioned. But every time Puthoff and Swann returned to “look” inside the magnetometer, the same thing happened. The particles responded to Swann’s intense psychic probing.

Two weeks later, the CIA showed up on Puthoff’s doorstep.

The spooks take over

The spooks explained that the Soviets were spending millions of dollars on this kind of research. Having been an intelligence officer for the Navy, Puthoff already had a high level security clearance and Swann had a lot of talent. The CIA took a chance and gave them $50,000 to explore what they considered a lark which ultimately led to 13 years of research as a series of top secret projects funded by a string of government agencies that would also include the U.S. Air Force, Army and Defense Intelligence Agency.

In the earliest experiments, Puthoff placed items in boxes or envelopes for Swann to “see” psychically but this was too easy for Swann who wanted to work on objects at vast distances and thus coined the term “remote viewing.” These experiments were very successful. In fact they had such a high success rate that the CIA did not believe the results and sent in an investigator to audit their program to figure out their scam.

Naturally enough, the CIA investigator suspected conspiracy every place he looked, until, finally, Puthoff invited him to be a remote viewer. Sure enough, the man drew and described the target, a bridge over a stream, but claimed that he must have been given subliminal cues in people’s body language and maybe speakers in his seat cushion. Puthoff, now determined, put the man in a room by himself, taped the door shut and went to the site with a camera and data recorder. He returned with the photos and data and showed them to the investigator, who had drawn the very same merry-go-round.
Merry Go Round Drawing Actual Merry Go Round
Finally convinced, the investigator reported his own successful remote viewing to the CIA, which declared that he, too, must be part of the scam.

The CIA’s suspicions deepened when remote viewer Pat Price looked at a cabin in West Virginia, saw the woods and just over the ridge spotted a modern facility. Price “wandered” through the site, reading name tags, and wrote down a list of words. As it turned out, he’d recorded the code name of the site and the titles of top secret projects in this secluded government facility. The CIA thought the information had been leaked to the RV project, said Puthoff, “so we had a five-year investigation on our necks.”

This new group was tasked with real world targets and they did provide useful adjunct intelligence in many life and death crisis situations. They would use “Coordinate Remote Viewing”, a process in which viewers would view a location given nothing but its geographical coordinates.

This involved telepathically detecting or ‘seeing’ in your mind’s eye activities or objects that may be hundreds or thousands of miles away. It would be involved in thousands of these ‘experiments’ like the following:

  • Paranormal analysis
  • Telekinetic studies and quantum biology
  • Penetrating a secret Soviet site located at Semipalatinsk, USSR
  • Locating a crashed Soviet Tu-95 bomber. The remote viewer located it within a few miles of the actual wreckage.
  • Locating enemy nuclear weapons storage facilities
  • Gathering intelligence on Saddam Hussein and SCUD missile locations leading up to the Gulf War of 1991

The success rate of the remote views over those many years is a subject for debate. In fact, some of the sessions were known as ‘eight martini results‘ because they were so eerily accurate that everyone had to go out and drink 8 martinis to recover from the shock.

All good things…

In the 1980’s portions of the program started to leak out to the public and led to a change over of management for the programs. The civilians now in charge of the program were seen as distrusting managers out to prove a hoax and it eventually led to poor unit morale and poor performance which is said to have led to poor results during the end phases of the secret remote viewing programs. In 1995, several of these managers were interviewed by Ted Koppel on ‘Night Line’ where they claimed a success rate of about 15%. However, former project managers from the early to mid-phases of the program’s life claimed about 60% success rate of generating some type of substantial intelligence.

Over a period of more than two decades some $20 million were spent on Star Gate and related activities, with $11 million budgeted from the mid-1980′s to the early 1990’s. Over forty personnel served in the program at various times, including about 23 remote viewers. At its peak during the Reagan administration, the program included as many as seven full-time viewers and as many analytical and support personnel. Three psychics reportedly worked at FT Meade for the CIA from 1990 through July 1995. The psychics were made available to other government agencies which requested their services until the program was finally ‘outed’ to the public and mostly declassified in the mid-1990’s.

Where are they now?

Today, Harold Puthoff owns a company in Austin, TX called “Earthtech International” which according to its site is a “privately funded research organization dedicated to the exploration of new frontiers in physics” .

Since departing Star Gate, Ingo Swann has written several books on remote viewing and shares quite a bit of information on the subject at his web site.

One of the leading remote viewers in the project was Joseph McMoneagle, he’s written a detailed chronicle of the project “The Stargate Chronicles: Memoirs of a Psychic Spy”, here are other books by McMoneagle.

Star Gate project & remote viewing references:

About Andy

I'm an eternal optimist, follow a Buddhist philosophy, geek of many areas, learning the Chinese language, a die-hard sports fan, love politics and nuclear submarines.
History Geek

2 responses to The CIA’s real Star Gate Program


  1. Judy Cherry

    I need to find these people with the stargate program. It is very important. The stargate program is still very much alive I know they are with the military. I know about them because I was a potential stargate but did not make it to them. They wanted me to find them through clairvoyance but I would not go if you know what I mean, I was afraid. Can you help me?

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