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American Psychology Association colluded with Pentagon and CIA to protect interrogation program, report finds

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3805 (Published 13 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3805

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  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Officials of the American Psychological Association colluded with the US Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other officials of George W Bush’s administration to permit psychologists to participate in “enhanced interrogations” that used techniques such as waterboarding, widely considered to be torture, a new report has found.1

The 542 page report, released on 10 July, was commissioned by the association and prepared by a team led by David H Hoffman, an attorney in the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm and a former federal prosecutor.

At issue was whether association officials worked with US government officials to formulate ethical guidelines that were aligned with the Bush administration’s policies so that psychologists could participate in the harsh interrogations of detainees held at the US Guantanamo Bay military prison and at secret CIA “black sites” set up around the world after the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. The guidelines were drawn up in 2005 by a specially commissioned association task force, the Presidential Task Force on Ethics and National Security (“PENS”), and adopted shortly thereafter by the association’s board.2

Critics of the guidelines have …

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