December 12, 2014
According to Canada’s National Post, two U.S. psychologists were paid about $81-million to consult with the CIA on its brutal interrogation program.
The two psychologists had no prior experience with Al Qaeda, counterterrorism or interrogation techniques, according to the U.S. Senate report on torture.
They were working with the Air Force on its “Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape” (SERE) program prior to the 9/11 attacks. That program has been reported to have evolved into the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which included “rectal feeding” and waterboarding.
One of the psychologists, James Mitchell, is now retired to a life of leisure in Florida. He sat down for an interview with Vice News on his role.
“The whole point of the (SERE) program is so that the men and women who in high-risk of capture can serve with honor whether in captivity and then return with their honor intact. The training is really focused on helping them avoid providing actionable intelligence to the bad guys,” James Mitchell told Vice reporter Kaj Larsen.
Jose Rodriguez, former Director of the National Clandestine Service in the CIA, claimed in his 2012 book, Hard Measures, that the SERE program was reverse-engineered for “enhanced interrogation.”
“I don’t recall exactly, but that’s the myth anyway,” Mitchell told Vice of that assertion.
The Senate report states that the two psychologists’ firm outsourced the contract for most of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program from 2005 to 2008.
The firm was paid $81-million of the $181-million consulting contract before it was terminated in 2009.
Majority Report video.