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The Washington Post
December 30, 1996

The Startling Vision of a 'Psychic Spy'

by Jack Anderson and Jan Moller


An Army officer assigned to the Pentagon's super-secret "psychic spy" unit may have "seen" the accidental 1987 bombing of a U.S. Navy frigate in the Persian gulf by an iraqui pilot two days before it actually occurred.

Or so says a log detailing the activities of the spy unit, which spent $20 million in taxpayer money over nearly two decades trying to use "remote viewing" as an intelligence-gathering method. The project was discontinued in 1995.

Most—if not all—of the spy unit's work turned out to be a complete failure. No terrorists were ever caputred, no hostages were rescued and no calamaties avoided as a direct result of the unit's work. But according to the log, the Pentagon's psychics were sometimes eerily accurate in their individual predictions.

This is the story of one such instance:

Agent No. 003 reported to work as usual on the morning of May 15, 1987, to a leaky old building on the grounds of the Fort Meade military reservation in Maryland, which also houses the super-secret National Security Agency. The agent, an Army captain by training, had been assigned to the psychic spy unit by his superiors and had shown a distinct talent for the work.

According to the log, most of the psychic's work involved "viewing" events and locations in real time, as they were occurring someplace else. Only four times before the morning of May 15 had the psychic spy unit tried to predict the future—each time meeting with failure.

At 10:23 a.m., Agent 003 was given an encrypted coordinate—369147/312200—and asked to concentrate. The coordinate was usually a disguised latitude and longitude locator for the object or individual that the agent was supposed to "spy" on. But on that day, unbeknown to agent 003, the coordinates were gibberish. Instead, the tasking officer wanted the agent to pick up on whatever was out there on the "psychic signal line," as one remote viewer describes it.

What followed was a remarkably detailed one-hour session in which Agent 003 began to slowly sketch what he was seeing, and wrote down stream-of-consciousness descriptive words of the impressions he was getting.

The 19-page report was so specific, and so startling in retrospect, that it was quickly sent up the chain of command, possibly as high as then-Vice President George Bush. Our associate Dan Van Atta has obtained the original handwritten report, as well as a typewritten version.

Agent 003 saw an event occurring over land and water, involving a U.S. warship that had a purpose of "waiting, watching." He saw a "bright flash," a "glare," and then heard a rushing "zzzzzttt" sound. The object involved, he wrote, reminded him of an air-dropped French-made Exocet missile.

Occurring at night, this event felt almost "unreal—can't believe this is going on." The agent described a "clang," a "screech," and a metallic squeal that set teeth on edge. He described smoke, and something falling down. People were lying, he wrote, amid metal debris and heat.

Agent 003 said the event appeared to involve two entities—or elements of two different organizations—which could include two different nationalities or races. Overall, there was a "sense of [the] unexpected" about the event—that the "control [was] not as professional or painstaking as [it] should have been." He also thought "possible damage results [were] unintentional."

At 11:36 a.m., the tasking officer called off the session, greatly disappointed. He had been hoping the agent would zero in on a different project that he had been thinking about.

What a difference a weekend can make. The headline in The Washington Post three days later sent chills down the spines of everyone associated with the psychic unit: "Iraqi Missile Sets U.S. Frigate Ablaze, Causing Casualties."

The previous night, an Iraqi fighter plane fired two Exocet missiles at the USS Stark, a guided-missile frigate which was providing protection to Kuwaiti vessels in the Persian Gulf. One struck, marking the first (and only) time in the Iran-Iraq war that an American ship was hit by hostile fire.

Iraq was not considered an enemy at the time—in fact, the United States was secretly helping Iraq in its war against Iran. So the United States accepted the explanation that the bombing was an accidental act by an unprofessional Iraqi pilot.

Did Agent 003 "see" the event two days before it happened? Critis of the unit would charge that the Army officer, who was a highly regarded intelligence analyst, was imaginatively extrapolating an event that might occur during the tense "tanker war" of the Persian Gulf in those days.


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