Psychologists Who Devised US Torture Program Had No Interrogation Experience, Were Paid $1000/Day by CIA

Psychologists Bruce Jessen, left, and Jim Mitchell shaped the CIA's interrogation program of al Qaeda detainees, including Abu Zubaydah. Both refused to speak to ABC News citing confidentiality agreements with the U.S. government. (ABC News)ABC News reports that psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were paid $1000/day to design and implement the US torture program.

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, Washington.Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, former military officers, together founded Mitchell Jessen and Associates….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 interrogator….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."

Mitchell and Jessen were first exposed in July 2007 as the CIA psychologists who reversed engineered US military SERE training methods for the Bush administration's torture program.SERE stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape; it is a training program for US military personnel at risk of capture. As part of the program, trainees are subjected to harsh and abusive psychological interrogation methods—largely derived from Cold War techniques employed by Soviet and Chinese interrogators to extract false confessions.

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