After Camelot, Hugo Nutini, the consultant whose lie exposed Camelot in the first place, was banned from returning to Chile.
The scandal's impact, however, extended well beyond his case. Many foreign governments devised restrictions to prevent U.S. meddling and, in a few cases, even slammed the door shut entirely on U.S. researchers. U.S. academics worried that "it doesn't make any difference whether you are a Ford fellow or an NSF fellow ... the natives will all say you're working for the CIA," regardless of what the facts of research sponsorship and design actually were.
Still, remarkably little about behavioral science funding or design changed after Camelot was canceled. A similar project was uncovered in Brazil less than two weeks later and others were launched in Colombia (Project Simpatico) and Peru (Operation Task), sponsored by SORO and funded by the DOD, exactly as Camelot had been. Project Agile, a study of National Liberation Front (NLF) members' motivation, the attitudes of villagers, and communication patterns among South Vietnamese troops, was carried out in the years after Camelot's demise, as were studies of the "Potential for Internal Conflict in Latin America." Whatever objections existed to such activities were clearly ineffective and did not interfere with the completion of the research. A confidential DOD memo written five weeks after Camelot's cancellation simply stated that counterinsurgency research involving foreign areas was "highly sensitive" and "must be treated in such a way that offense to foreign governments and propaganda advantage to the communist apparatus are avoided." Four years later, the DOD admitted that not a single one of its social or behavioral science projects, or for that matter anything at all involving foreign area work, had been terminated in the years after Camelot's exposure.
Two years after Camelot was canceled, the officers of most major behavioral science organizations gave their blessings to defense research in a congressional heating on that topic. Arthur Brayfield, the director of the American Psychological Association, had this to say: "I think the military should be free to use all reasonable, ethical, and competent tools at its command to help carry out its mission, and I would say strongly that the use of behavioral science and behavioral scientists is one of those useful tools." Such endorsements were qualified by warnings that it would be wise to pay closer attention to appearances in the future since it was inevitable that someone, somewhere, would always label behavioral research sensitive and accuse behavioral experts of being surreptitious manipulators.
Some visionary advocates tried to turn Camelot's negative public relations impact into a plus by arguing that the behavioral sciences deserved a federal foundation of their very own and should no longer have
to rely on the largesse of the military because of their secondary status in the NSF. "Senator for Science" Fred Harris (D-Okla.) led a movement in Congress in 1967 to establish a National Social Science Foundation. He agreed with Dante Fascell that foreign area research, in particular, needed to be "civilianized." Harris pointed to Camelot (and his subsequent membership on the Kerner Commission) as a turning point in his own thinking on the matter, but he often employed the shining example of World War II behavioral experts to make his case for the importance of social research in government.
Although Harris's battle for a separate foundation was ultimately lost, it is arguable that the social sciences won their war with the federal government during the 1960s. In 1968 President Johnson signed a bill amending the NSF's founding legislation and granting social science the formal status it initially lacked as part of the NSF mandate. Throughout the 1960s the NSF steadily increased the proportion of its budget devoted to social science and tilted its priorities toward the applied research with which social science was commonly associated.
Barely affected by Camelot's immediate fallout, the DOD nevertheless took a number of steps to shine up its tarnished image in the academic world after Camelot, and by the end of the decade such efforts were calculated as much to counteract storms of student antiwar protest as to dispel the doubts of hesitant faculty members. For example, in 1967 the DOD launched Project Themis, a program designed to encourage increasingly skeptical universities to consider the advantages of putting social and behavioral scientists to work for the DOD, and improving the caliber of those who did. In its first year alone, Themis doled out $20.5 million worth of support; the budget for its third year was projected at almost twice that.
The Defense Science Board, the DOD's highest-ranking advisory group, also convened in the wake of Camelot to mend the tattered relationship between the Defense Department and academic experts. Its members, eager to bury for good the uncomfortable questions that Camelot had raised, issued a report that took as axiomatic a view that would unravel for many before the end of the war in Vietnam: that intellectuals' obligation to serve their society and work for federal government agencies were one and the same. The report did not even consider the consequences, ethical or otherwise, of the specific military requirements and purposes of DOD behavioral science research. Instead, it concluded,
The DoD mission now embraces problems and responsibilities which have not previously been assigned to a military establishment. It has been properly stated that the DoD must now wage not only warfare but "peacefare" as well. Pacification assistance and the battle of ideas are major segments of the DoD responsibility. The social and behavioral sciences constitute the unique resource for support of these new requirements and must be vigorously pursued if our operations are to be effective.
Over the next decade, the Vietnam War put great pressure on the military to wage "peacefare." Behavioral research and its operational, "psywar" counterpart were in high demand partly because that war illustrated so dramatically the failure of great military might in the absence of basic cultural and political comprehension. Vietnam "sykewarriors" simply replicated, on a grander scale, many of the techniques used during World War II. In a typical month in 1969, 713 million leaflets were dropped from the air and two thousand hours of propaganda were broadcast—all to encourage NLF defections.
Other Vietnam-era studies reflected the evolution of psychological expertise since 1945. General Westmoreland demanded repeated studies of NLF psychology. He got them, pronounced them invaluable, and made them required reading for his staff. The most renowned of the Vietnam motivation and morale studies, and surely among the most elaborate field studies on revolutionaries and the revolutionary process, were those conducted by the RAND Corporation between 1964 and 1969. Apparently not at all affected by the Camelot scandal, the Viet-Cong Motivation and Morale Project (VC M&M) outlasted its original conception as a six-month pilot study in 1964 and became more secure and ambitious as the 1960s wore on. A classified project that studied prisoners, defectors, and refugees, sixty-two thousand pages of interviews were finally made public in 1972.
VC M&M was a classic example, during the Vietnam era, of the basic axiom about bureaucratic survival and expertise that policy-makers had learned during World War II: government uses social science the way a drunk uses a lamp post, for support rather than light. Its authors' conclusions—that the enemy was near the breaking point and that heavy bombing would quickly end the conflict—told the policy-makers exactly what they wanted to hear in 1965, the precise moment of military escalation. And there is quite a bit of evidence that policy-makers were paying close attention to the findings of VC M&M, rewarding the project's researchers for their good efforts with a 100 percent increase in funding in 1966.
The light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel mentality would, of course, appear tragically misguided later on. One of the project's own staff members would go so far as to call it "a whitewash of genocide." In the aftermath of Camelot, however, the RAND studies illustrated, once again, how politically useful psychological intelligence was to the policy-making process, even when it was entirely wrong.