In a 1987 report for the Army Research Institute on how to enhance military performance, the National Research Council rejected the use of parapsychological phenomena as "scientifically unsupported."
Retired Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. of the Air Force, the DIA director until August, said yesterday that he and his three predecessors had all tried to kill the program.
"It just didn't feel appropriate for DIA to be doing anything like that," he said. "It was just too far out at the leading edge of technology to maintain very well as an ongoing intelligence activity. But we got directions [from Congress] every year in our appropriation and specific language to sustain the operation."
Lt. Col. Stephanie Hoehne, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said all the records of the DIA research program had been transferred to the CIA. At the CIA, a spokesman, Dave Christian, said the agency would recommend ending the research.
The critical AIR report on the program reflected the views of two experts on psychic phenomena, one a skeptic, the other a believer.
The skeptic is Ray Hyman, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oregon in Eugene and a former magician who co-wrote the AIR report. He has been studying psychic phenomena for 25 years.
The believer is Jessica Utts, a statistician at the University of California at Davis, who bases her convictions on psychic phenomena that she says occur more frequently than should happen by accident or chance.
They agreed that while there was "no compelling explanation" for some of the results of the military experiments, the tests did not provide compelling evidence for the existence of remote viewing as a psychic phenomenon.
Mr. Hyman said yesterday that some of the results from the psychic experiments were "better than chance," but he said he remained doubtful about the program because the tests were done in secret with no strict scientific methodology.
Ms. Utts, in an interview yesterday, said: "Some of the evidence from single trials is very convincing." She cited an experiment in which a remote viewer at a lab in Menlo Park, Calif., drew the exact surroundings through which a psychic sender was driving in the Altamont Pass, miles away.
"He actually drew a picture of rolling hills with a whole bunch of windmills," she said, noting that the pass is the site of a mass of wind generators. She said the person could accurately depict remote scenes about 50 percent of the time -- at least double the frequency of success likely to be achieved by simply guessing.