- Views & Opinions
Three former Central Intelligence Agency prisoners represented by the American Civil Liberties Union suing two psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA’s torture program.
CIA-contracted psychologists James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen helped convince the agency to adopt torture as official policy under George W. Bush administration, making millions of dollars in the process.
The two men, who had previously worked for the U.S. military, designed the torture methods and performed illegal human experimentation on CIA prisoners to test and refine the program. They personally took part in torture sessions and oversaw the program’s implementation for the CIA.
The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of three men — Gul Rahman, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud — who were tortured using methods developed by Mitchell and Jessen, as detailed in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s landmark report on CIA torture.
The United States has never charged or accused the victims of any crime. One of them was tortured to death and the other two are now free.
“Mitchell and Jessen conspired with the CIA to torture these three men and many others,” said Steven Watt, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program. “They claimed that their program was scientifically based, safe and proven, when in fact it was none of those things. The program was unlawful and its methods barbaric. Psychology is a healing profession, but Mitchell and Jessen violated the ethical code of ‘do no harm’ in some of the most abhorrent ways imaginable.”