Bioethics News

Psychologists Open a Window on Brutal C.I.A. Interrogations

June 21, 2017

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Fifteen years after he helped devise the brutal interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects in secret C.I.A. prisons, John Bruce Jessen, a former military psychologist, expressed ambivalence about the program.

He described himself and a fellow military psychologist, James Mitchell, as reluctant participants in using the techniques, some of which are widely viewed as torture, but also justified the practices as effective in getting resistant detainees to cooperate.

“I think any normal, conscionable man would have to consider carefully doing something like this,” Dr. Jessen said in a newly disclosed deposition. “I deliberated with great, soulful torment about this, and obviously I concluded that it could be done safely or I wouldn’t have done it.”

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Image: By Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy – (copied from so that the image can be used on Wikinews.), Public Domain,

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The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.