Writing this story was a fascinating challenge because I am not an aviation historian and have never flown any kind of aircraft. Accordingly, I have tried to make the narrative informative to lay readers like myself, while retaining enough technical detail to satisfy those more knowledgeable about aeronautics and engineering. I have drawn on the sources listed in the bibliography and the extensive files on the A-12 program in CIA Archives. Hundreds of those documents will be declassified and released to the public in conjunction with the dedication of Article 128 in September 2007 as part of the Agency’s 60th anniversary commemoration. I have limited citations to specific documentary references and direct quotes from published works. When discrepancies arose among the sources regarding dates and other details, I have relied on the official records.
For their contributions to the substance and production of this work and to the documentary release, I would like to thank my colleagues on the CIA History Staff and at the Center for the Study of Intelligence, the information review officers in the Directorate of Science and Technology, designers and cartographers in the Directorate of Intelligence, and publication personnel at Imaging and Publishing Support. I also am grateful for historical material provided by the Lockheed Martin Corporation and the A-12 program veterans, the Roadrunners.
CIA Chief Historian
In 1979, the Peoples’ Republic of China publicly reported that several thousand of its children aged 8-14 were capable of telepathy, clairvoyance, X-ray vision, or psychokinesis. Having already heard about this program, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, and the US Army were simultaneously pouring billions of dollars into their own similar research.
The Army program was headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, and was part of the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). Leaders included Generals Edmund Thompson and Albert Stubblebine, and Colonel John Alexander.
Officers assigned to the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania contributed research to the project, and "The First Earth Battalion" is essentially a textual copy of one group's unclassified briefing slides.
Although decidedly New Age, the War College project was not entirely theoretical. Colonel Alexander, for example, went on to become a leader in the Los Alamos National Lab's non-lethal weapons program. Likewise, during the early 1980s Special Forces hired Richard Strozzi Heckler and other outside contractors to provide two A-teams, a total of 25 men, with training in biofeedback, aikido, and "mind-body psychology." In the latter program, a typical training day included running, swimming, "industrial-strength" calisthenics, and 1-1/2 hours of aikido practice. After six months, the soldiers were not aikido masters but they were quantifiably 75% more physically fit than when they started.
During correspondence with the editor in January 2000, author Channon had this to say:
And if nothing else, the following paper does suggest why drug testing became common for all ranks during the mid-1980s.
One 1955 MKULTRA document gives an indication of the size and range of the effort; this document refers to the study of an assortment of mind-altering substances described as follows:
- Substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public.
- Substances which increase the efficiency of mentation and perception.
- Materials which will prevent or counteract the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
- Materials which will promote the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
- Materials which will produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so that they may be used for malingering, etc.
- Materials which will render the induction of hypnosis easier or otherwise enhance its usefulness.
- Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture and coercion during interrogation and so-called "brain-washing".
- Materials and physical methods which will produce amnesia for events preceding and during their use.
- Physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use.
- Substances which produce physical disablement such as paralysis of the legs, acute anemia, etc.
- Substances which will produce "pure" euphoria with no subsequent let-down.
- Substances which alter personality structure in such a way that the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced.
- A material which will cause mental confusion of such a type that the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning.
- Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.
- Substances which promote weakness or distortion of the eyesight or hearing faculties, preferably without permanent effects.
- A knockout pill which can surreptitiously be administered in drinks, food, cigarettes, as an aerosol, etc., which will be safe to use, provide a maximum of amnesia, and be suitable for use by agent types on an ad hoc basis.
- A material which can be surreptitiously administered by the above routes and which in very small amounts will make it impossible for a person to perform physical activity.
Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now...