Report: Psychologists helped Bush officials craft harsh interrogations
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The American Psychological Association advised President George W. Bush’s White House in the development of the harsh interrogation methods criticized as “torture,” according to a New York Times analysis of a report by health professionals opposed to the methods.

The report contends that the APA added language approved by a former Bush adviser into its ethics code on interrogations, regularly worked with two CIA contract psychologists, and exchanged hundreds of emails with the White House and CIA officials without bringing up any complaints about the interrogation policies.

The Times says that the Justice Department used the APA in order to justify its interrogation program as legal during secret discussions on the program.


“The APA’s complicity in the CIA torture program, by allowing psychologists to administer and calibrate permitted harm, undermines the fundamental ethical standards of the profession,” the report says.

“If not carefully understood and rejected by the profession, this may portend a fundamental shift in the profession’s relationship with the people it serves.”

Rhea Farberman, a spokeswoman for the American Psychological Association, told the Times there “has never been any coordination between APA and the Bush administration on how APA responded to the controversies about the role of psychologists in the interrogations program.”

The report’s authors are two clinical psychologists — an associate dean at the University of California Riverside School of Medicine and a professor at New York University School of Medicine — and two human rights activists at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

The Bush administration has faced a number of criticisms over its interrogation programs since the Senate Intelligence Committee released the results of its investigation last year, which critics dubbed the “Torture Report.”

That report detailed a number of harsh interrogation techniques, including the use of waterboarding, stress positions, rectal feeding and sleep deprivation.

President Obama signed an executive order ending those interrogation techniques days after he took office. 

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden administration pulls Trump-era approval of water pipeline What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? New variant raises questions about air travel mandates MORE (D-Calif.), who served as chairwoman on the Senate Intelligence Committee when the investigation was released, said in a statement Thursday that she was "troubled" by the new report and looking forward to an independent review commissioned by the APA.

- This story was updated at 5:07 p.m.