American Psychological Association
December 9, 2014
Says transparency will help protect human rights in the future
WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association welcomed the release today of the Executive Summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program during the George W. Bush administration. The document’s release recognizes American citizens’ right to know about the prior action of their government and is the best way to ensure that, going forward, the United States engages in national security programs that safeguard human rights and comply with international law.
The new details provided by the report regarding the extent and barbarity of torture techniques used by the CIA are sickening and morally reprehensible.
Two psychologists mentioned prominently in the report under pseudonyms, but identified in media reports as James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, are not members of the American Psychological Association. Jessen was never a member; Mitchell resigned in 2006. Therefore, they are outside the reach of the association’s ethics adjudication process. Regardless of their membership status with APA, if the descriptions of their actions are accurate, they should be held fully accountable for violations of human rights and U.S. and international law.
Last month, the APA announced an independent review of the allegation by New York Times reporter and author James Risen that the association colluded with the Bush administration to support enhanced interrogation techniques that constituted torture. The review is being conducted by attorney David Hoffman of the law office Sidley Austin. Hoffman will be reviewing the released Senate Intelligence Committee report as a part of his APA review. Anyone with relevant information they wish to share with Hoffman is encouraged to communicate with him directly by email or phone at (312) 456-8468.
The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes nearly 130,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.