The Stargate Project was the code name for a U.S. Army unit established in 1978 at Fort Meade, Maryland, by the Defense Intelligence Agency and SRI International (a California contractor) to investigate the potential for psychic phenomena in military and domestic applications. This primarily involved remote viewing, the purported ability to psychically “see” events, sites, or information from a great distance. The project was overseen until 1987 by Lt. Frederick Holmes “Skip” Atwater, an aide and “psychic headhunter” to Maj. Gen. Albert Stubblebine, and later president of the Monroe Institute. The unit was small-scale, comprising about 15 to 20 individuals, and was run out of “an old, leaky wooden barracks”.
The Stargate Project was terminated in 1995 after a CIA report concluded that it was never useful in any intelligence operation. Information provided by the program was vague, included irrelevant and erroneous data, and there was reason to suspect that its project managers had changed the reports so they would fit background cues. The program was featured in the 2004 book and 2009 film entitled The Men Who Stare at Goats, although neither mentions it by name.
In 1970, United States intelligence sources believed that the Soviet Union was spending 60 million rubles annually on “psychotronic” research. In response to claims that the Soviet program had produced results, the CIA initiated funding for a new program SCANATE (“scan by coordinate”) in 1970. Remote viewing research began in 1972 at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. Proponents of the research said that a minimum accuracy rate of 65% required by the clients was consistently exceeded in the later experiments.
In 1977, the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) Systems Exploitation Detachment (SED) started the GONDOLA WISH program to “evaluate potential adversary applications of remote viewing.” Army Intelligence then formalized this in mid-1978 as an operational program GRILL FLAME, based in buildings 2560 and 2561 at Fort Meade, MD (INSCOM “Detachment G”). In early 1979 the research at SRI was integrated into GRILL FLAME, which was redesignated INSCOM CENTER LANE Project (ICLP) in 1983.
In 1984 the existence of the program was reported by Jack Anderson, and in that year it was unfavorably received by the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council. In late 1985 the Army funding was terminated, but the program was redesignated SUN STREAK and funded by the Defense Intelligence Agency Scientific and Technical Intelligence Directorate (office code DT-S).
In 1991 most of the contracting for the program was transferred from SRI to SAIC, with Edwin May controlling 70% of the contractor funds and 85% of the data. Its security was altered from Special Access Program (SAP) to Limited Dissemination (LIMDIS), and it was given the name STAR GATE.
In 1995, the defense appropriations bill directed that the program be transferred from DIA to CIA oversight. The CIA commissioned a report by American Institutes for Research that found that remote viewing had not been proved to work by a psychic mechanism, and said it had not been used operationally. The CIA subsequently cancelled and declassified the program.
The Stargate Project created a set of protocols designed to make the research of clairvoyance and out-of-body experiences more scientific, and to minimize as much as possible session noise and inaccuracy. The term “remote viewing” emerged as shorthand to describe this more structured approach to clairvoyance. Stargate only received a mission after all other intelligence attempts, methods, or approaches had already been exhausted.