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November 4, 2016
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December 4, 1998
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PDF icon CIA-RDP96-00787R000200020038-9.pdf144.41 KB
Approved For Rele,s 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00787R00Q0020038-9 POLICY FOR SRI'S ESP RESEARCH PROGRAM SRI International believes it is appropriate and natural to be involved in research activities which can be categorized as controversial, provided the organization can conduct such research in an environment of objectivity and disciplined protocol. SRI, with its reputation for high quality multidisciplinary research, is as well suited as any organization to serve the good of mankind by providing the means to conduct research that is of a controversial nature. There have been many occasions where SRI has performed this service in the past and there undoubtedly will be many controversial research tasks undertaken by SRI in the future. A presently ongoing "controversial" SRI research activity is the ESP (extrasensory perception) work headed by Dr. Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ, which started in the ISE Division about five years ago and is now being conducted in the ERS Division. ESP research is by many standards qualified to have the title "controversial" as it deals with a concept which many find difficult to believe or impossible to quantify in terms of physics and hence it is hard to understand as credible. Some individuals involved in psychology and magic feel that the apparent ESP phenomena under study are the result of improperly designed experimental protocol or outright trickery or fraud. Yet, there are documented experimental manifestations of possible ESP phenomena which SRI management believes are not experimental artifacts, fraud, Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200020038-9 Approved For Releg 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00787R00 2( 0020038-9 or trickery and thus warrant careful and ongoing research provided that the way in which the studies are conducted is above reasonable reproach. Thus it is the purpose of this policy to define the framework for conducting ESP research at SRI. First, SRI will rely heavily upon its line organization to manage the ESP research activities, as it does for any other research project. Project leaders and project supervisors will be assigned the responsibility for individual projects and these, in turn, will report to their appropriate line management. Recognizing the potential sensationalism that ESP activities sometimes generate, it is particularly important that all levels of the management team, from project leader up thru all levels of research management, be particularly careful in following established SRI research management procedures. SRI's management team must keep the client organizations completely informed of SRI's policy toward this research activity and the detailed research plans that are developed and carried out by the ESP research staff, and our plans to provide periodic internal comprehensive review of the work. In this regard, in order to safeguard that all important nuances of proper research protocol will always stand up to peer scrutiny from both within and outside SRI, a special ESP program oversight committee will be 'established. This committee will be chaired by the President of SRI and have four members from SRI's senior scientific or management staff, and two appropriate outsiders. To insure that the possible occurrence of trickery is detected, Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200020038-9 Approved For Relea 2003/09/10: CIA-RDP96-00787ROOW020038-9 SRI will try to retain a professional magician as a consultant to serve on the oversight committee. Ex officio members of the committee will consist of the line management responsible for the work: Sr. Vice President for Research Operations Group Vice President Division Director Laboratory Director This committee will review the research program in depth each quarter, paying particular attention to the client support base, the detailed objectives of the projects, the quality of the research protocols being used by the ESP research staff and the way SRI's research management is conducting the program for SRI and its clients. Regarding publicity, it is SRI's intent to provide minimal exposure of this ESP research activity outside SRI. SRI will keep confidential, as a matter of policy, the nature of the client support SRI has for ESP research. In addition, both the ESP research staff and management are directed to not grant interviews or release statements for publication about the research. This tight control is believed vital to insure that a proper objective and disciplined (not sensational) environment is maintained for the conduct of ESP research at SRI. However, it is believed that the SRI ESP research activity must have critical peer review in order to be credible. For this reason the ESP research staff will (as approved by clients) be permitted to seek to publish their results in appropriate professional journals or to offer to present their Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200020038-9 Approved For Rele, 2003/09/10: CIA-RDP96-00787ROOQ 0020038-9 research results at professional society symposia and meetings. From time to time it is expected that they will present their results at internal SRI functions. In addition, their research results will be published in the form of reports which are carefully reviewed by the appropriate SRI research management and issued as required by the clients. It is expected that SRI resources may be allocated to this work much as is now done with other SRI research programs. Depending upon priority and plans of the organization and the needs of this activity, such resources as O.H. Travel,-Bid and Proposal Funds, and Capital Equipment Funds may be applied to this area of research. Because of the potentially sensational nature of the work, it is important that all levels of the SRI organization treat the research staff in an equitable fashion as possible concerning their research program needs and their individual evaluation and personal remuneration. The more normal that SRI can make the environment in which the ESP research projects are carried out, the more likely that SRI can provide the disciplined and objective environment that is essential for conducting quality research in this controversial arena. There is nothing in this policy to restrict its distribution, in fact its distribution in response to official public enquiries is encouraged. Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200020038-9