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Psychologists Who Designed Bush Torture Program Outed By ABC News

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    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2009
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      By Brian Ross, Matthew Cole, and Joseph Rhee
      ABC News
      April 30, 2009


      As the secrets about the CIA's interrogation techniques continue to come
      out, there's new information about the frequency and severity of their use,
      contradicting an 2007 ABC News report, and a new focus on two private
      contractors who were apparently directing the brutal sessions that President
      Obama calls torture.

      According to current and former government officials, the CIA's secret
      waterboarding program was designed and assured to be safe by two well-paid
      psychologists now working out of an unmarked office building in Spokane,

      Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, former military officers, together founded
      Mitchell Jessen and Associates.

      Both men declined to speak to ABC News citing non-disclosure agreements with
      the CIA. But sources say Jessen and Mitchell together designed and
      implemented the CIA's interrogation program.

      Click here to see Jessen refusing to talk to ABC News.

      "It's clear that these psychologists had an important role in developing
      what became the CIA's torture program," said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with
      the American Civil Liberties Union.

      Click here to see Mitchell refusing to talk to ABC News.

      Former U.S. officials say the two men were essentially the architects of the
      CIA's 10-step interrogation plan that culminated in waterboarding.

      Associates say the two made good money doing it, boasting of being paid a
      $1,000 a day by the CIA to oversee the use of the techniques on top al Qaeda
      suspects at CIA secret sites.

      "The whole intense interrogation concept that we hear about, is essentially
      their concepts," according to Col. Steven Kleinman, an Air Force

      Both Mitchell and Jessen were previously involved in the U.S. military
      program to train pilots how to survive behind enemy lines and resist brutal
      tactics if captured.

      Mitchell and Jessen Lacked Experience in Actual Interrogations

      But it turns out neither Mitchell nor Jessen had any experience in
      conducting actual interrogations before the CIA hired them.

      "They went to two individuals who had no interrogation experience," said
      Col. Kleinman. "They are not interrogators."

      The new documents show the CIA later came to learn that the two
      psychologists' waterboarding "expertise" was probably "misrepresented" and
      thus, there was no reason to believe it was "medically safe" or effective.
      The waterboarding used on al Qaeda detainees was far more intense than the
      brief sessions used on U.S. military personnel in the training classes.

      "The use of these tactics tends to increase resistance on the part of the
      detainee to cooperating with us. So they have the exact opposite effect of
      what you want," said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich).

      The new memos also show waterboarding was used "with far greater frequency
      than initially indicated" to even those in the CIA.

      Abu Zubaydah was water boarded at least 83 times and Khalid Sheikh Mohamed
      at least 183 times.

      Former CIA Officer John Kiriakou Says Waterboarding is Torture

      That contradicts what former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who led the Zubaydah
      capture team, told ABC News in 2007 when he first revealed publicly that
      waterboarding had been used.

      He said then, based on top secret reports he had access to, that Zubaydah
      had only been water boarded once and then freely talked.

      Kiriakou now says he too was stunned to learn how often Zubaydah was
      waterboarded, in what Kiriakou says was clearly torture.

      "When I spoke to ABC News in December 2007 I was aware of Abu Zubaydah being
      waterboarded on one occasion," said Kiriakou. "It was after this one
      occasion that he revealed information related to a planned terrorist attack.
      As I said in the original interview, my information was second-hand. I never
      participated in the use of enhanced techniques on Abu Zubaydah or on any
      other prisoner, nor did I witness the use of such techniques."

      A federal judge in New York is currently considering whether or not to make
      public the written logs of the interrogation sessions.

      The tapes were destroyed by the CIA, but the written logs still exist,
      although the CIA is fighting their release.

      A CIA spokesperson declined to comment for this report, except to note that
      the agency's terrorist interrogation program was guided by legal opinions
      from the Department of Justice.


      Matthew Cole is a freelance national security reporter. His book, about the
      CIA rendition program, will be published later this year by Simon &


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