The US’s top psychology association colluded with the Pentagon and
the CIA to devise ethical guidelines to support interrogation techniques
used after the September 11 attacks that have since been labelled as
torture, a report says.
The American Psychological Association
sought to “curry favour” with defence officials by issuing an ethics
policy in line with government interrogation techniques post 9/11, such
as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, the report commissioned by the
body’s board found.
The CIA has been heavily criticised for the interrogation techniques it used post-9/11. Photo / File
The association colluded with several
government agencies, including the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence
Agency, to devise ethical guidelines for the interrogation program
under former president George W Bush, according to the 542-page review
released on Friday.
The government agencies “purportedly wanted
permissive ethical guidelines so that their psychologists could continue
to participate in harsh and abusive interrogation techniques being used
by these agencies after the September 11 attacks,” the report said.
“APA’s principal motive in doing so was to align APA and curry
favour with DoD (Department of Defence). There were two other important
motives: to create a good public-relations response, and to keep the
growth of psychology unrestrained in this area.”
come after Democrats on the US Senate Intelligence Committee in December
released a damning report detailing brutal previously unknown
interrogation techniques, including beatings and rectal rehydration,
used by the CIA on Al-Qaeda suspects post 9/11.
Responding to the
findings, the APA said Friday it would review its policies and urge a
ban on its psychologists from participating directly in interrogations.
organisation’s intent was not to enable abusive interrogation
techniques or contribute to violations of human rights, but that may
have been the result,” said Nadine Kaslow, who led an independent review
committee that commissioned the report.
“We profoundly regret, and apologise for, the behaviour and the consequences that ensued.”
independent review led by lawyer David Hoffman of Sidley Austin law
firm, was commissioned by APA’s board of directors and took seven months
The comprehensive report said that in 2005, the APA
created a task force to review the association’s ethical guidelines
that determined when its psychologists could participate in
A subsequent report from the task force found
there were no ethical violations of psychologists’ participation in the
government’s “enhanced interrogation” program – which included
techniques such as waterboarding, forced “stress positions” and sleep