U.S. Psychologists Group, Linked to Bush-Era Torture Program, May Prohibit Role in Future Interrogations

Saturday, August 01, 2015
(photo: AP/NDN)

Leaders of the American Psychological Association (APA) intend to ask the organization’s members to adopt an ethics policy that would ban psychologists from participating in national security interrogations.


The proposal comes after the APA was exposed in an independent report for having supported the George W. Bush administration’s detainee interrogation and torture program. The APA’s current ethics policy was shaped to allow psychologists to participate in torture and interrogation sessions. The new policy would make it a violation for members to participate in national security interrogations involving any military or intelligence personnel, even those not involving harsh interrogation techniques.


“It has been very painful and disturbing to receive the results of the report, and now our job is to learn from them, and fix the problem,” Susan McDaniel, APA’s president-elect, said according to The New York Times. “We are engaged in a very important process, to deal with psychologists’ core values and our commitment to human rights.”


The new standard could get in the way of the Obama administration’s interrogations of detainees that still involve the use of psychologists, such as the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which has been sent overseas to interrogate terror suspects or those associated with them. The administration also uses psychologists at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where they oversee voluntary interrogations requested by a detainee.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

U.S. Psychologists Urged to Curb Questioning Terror Suspects (by James Risen, New York Times)

U.S. Torture Report: Psychologists Should no Longer Aid Military, Group Says (by Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian)

All the President’s Psychologists: The American Psychological Association’s Secret Complicity with the White House and US Intelligence Community in Support of the CIA’s “Enhanced” Interrogation Program (by Stephen Soldz, Ph.D., Nathaniel Raymond, Steven Reisner, Ph.D., Scott A. Allen, M.D., Isaac L. Baker, and Allen S. Keller, M.D.) (pdf)

Some American Psychological Association Leaders Guilty of Encouraging Torture (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

CIA Paid $81 Million to Hire Psychologists to Teach Torture Techniques (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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