An independent report commissioned by the American Psychological Association (APA) was made public on Friday, and points to substantiated evidence that APA worked in secret with the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to support the government’s CIA torture policies.
The investigation and subsequent “review” was conducted by a corporate law firm in Chicago, and took seven months to complete.
Specifically, investigators found that two ex-APA presidents were on a CIA advisory committee, one of whom claimed that sleep deprivation wasn’t torture, while sharing a stake in a consulting firm whose founders provided ‘oversight’ of the agency’s interrogation program.
The report also states that APA molded its public stance on the ethics of torture with the help of a prominent military psychologist, while then APA director Stephen Burke received a government contract to train Pentagon interrogators. Mr. Burke also failed to disclose this relationship with APA’s board.
The investigation hypothesizes that top brass at APA “colluded” with Defense Department officials so psychologists could continue participating in the military’s interrogation practices.
“The evidence supports the conclusion that A.P.A. officials colluded with D.O.D. officials to . . . adopt and maintain A.P.A. ethics policies that were not more restrictive than the guidelines that key D.O.D. officials wanted,” the report said.
“A.P.A. chose its ethics policy based on its goals of helping D.O.D., managing its PR, and maximizing the growth of the profession,” and “prioritized the protection of psychologists . . . above the protection of the public.”
Following the release of the report, APA’s board issued a statement of apology for its “deeply disturbing findings and organizational failures,” and announced it has already recommended barring psychologists from working with the government’s interrogation program.
The CIA had no comment as of Friday, as officials there said they had not yet read the report.
[New York Times]