Two psychologists who helped the CIA develop and execute its now-defunct “enhanced interrogation” program partially admitted for the first time to roles in what is broadly acknowledged to have been torture.
In a 30-page court filing posted Tuesday evening, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen responded to nearly 200 allegations and legal justifications put forth by the American Civil Liberties Union in a complaint filed in October. The psychologists broadly denied allegations that “they committed torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, non-consensual human experimentation and/or war crimes” — but admitted to a series of actions that can only be described as such.
“Defendants admit that over a period of time, they administered to [Abu] Zubaydah walling, facial and abdominal slaps, facial holds, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding, and placed Zubaydah in cramped confinement,” the filing says.
The American Psychological Association issued a lengthy report last year acknowledging members of the profession collaborated with the CIA and Pentagon on the torture program, and apologized. But until now, no psychologist has ever been called to account in court.