Jimmy Carter's Psychics

Remember the grief that Nancy Reagan got for using a psychic? Where is the outrage here:

Even with all of the press coverage of Jimmy Carter's latest book, "White House Diary," a strange and interesting nugget of history went ignored: Carter, as president, was enthralled by and impressed with the Central Intelligence Agency's use of parapsychology in intelligence gathering (the field and practice of parapsychology explores various psychic abilities).

Consider this entry in Carter's diary, from April 11, 1979:

"CIA briefing on unhappiness of King Hussein of Jordan [about agreements between Israel and Egypt], Idi Amin's government about to fall, and that a plane had crashed in Zambia. An American parapsychologist had been able to pinpoint the site of the crash. We've had several reports of this parapsychology working; one discovered the map coordinates of a site and accurately described a camouflaged missile test site. Both we and the Soviets use these parapsychologists on occasion to help us with sensitive intelligence matters, and the results are unbelievable."

(Carter alluded to another discussion about parapsychology in the White House situation room on May 8, 1980).

Writing in the present day, the former president reflected back on that entry in the book.

"The proven results of these exchanges between our intelligence services and parapsychologists raise some of the most intriguing and unanswerable questions of my presidency,” Carter notes in “Diary.” “They defy logic, but the facts are undeniable."

Mind-reading as intelligence-gathering? Sure, it was the 70s. Yet parapsychology's new-age reputation doesn't quite square with the historical and enduring stereotype of the CIA as filled with tight-lipped men-in-black. And when reached for comment by POLITICO, the CIA made it abundantly clear that they don't do that anymore. . . .

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