A five-year report on CIA torture released by the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday revealed that two psychologists signed a contract worth $180 million with the Bush administration to come up with torture tactics.
However, the psychologists were only paid $81 million after their contract was canceled by the Obama administration in 2009.
RT.com notes that the 525-page CIA torture report says the psychologists were supposed "to develop, operate, and assess its interrogation operations" even though "neither psychologist had any experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qaida, a background in counterterrorism, or any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise."
The psychologists, James Elmer Mitchell and Dr. John "Bruce" Jessen, used to run a company called Mitchell, Jessen & Associates in Spokane, Washington, noted NBC News.
However, Mitchell refuted the CIA report.
"I completely understand why the human rights organizations in the United States are upset by the Senate report," Mitchell told the Associated Press. "I would be upset by it too, if it were true."
"What they are asking you to believe is that multiple directors of the CIA and analysts who made their living for years doing this lied to the federal government, or were too stupid to know that the intelligence they were getting wasn't useful," claimed Mitchell.
However, Naomi Klein wrote in The Nation in 2002 that the main purpose of torture was to induce terror in individuals and groups.
The National Journal noted that Sen. Mark Udall (R-Colo.) said today on the Senate floor, "The refusal to provide the full Panetta Review and the refusal to acknowledge facts detailed in both the committee study and the Panetta Review lead to one disturbing finding: Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture. In other words: The CIA is lying."
Mitchell signed a non-disclosure agreement with the CIA and wouldn't talk about his specific role, but appeared to offer some excuses to VICE reporter Kaj Larsen for foreign and domestic torture (video below).
According to RawStory.com, Mitchell said, “To me, it seems completely insensible that slapping [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] is bad, but sending a Hellfire missile into a family’s picnic and killing and the children, you know, and killing granny [is acceptable]. You know, if you kill them, you can’t question them.”
Of course, the CIA actually did far more to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed than slapping or questioning him. He was waterboarded 183 times, noted USA Today, which provided no important intel.
“This suggestion that no coercion is ever used by our law enforcement and the FBI is just silly," added Mitchell. "So the first piece of the debate should be, ‘Why don’t we have an interrogation program at some level? Why are we treating it like a law enforcement matter?’”