CIA torture architect: ‘I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country’

Jason Leopold reports: Dr James Elmer Mitchell has been called a war criminal and a torturer. He has been the subject of an ethics complaint, and his methods have been criticized in reports by two congressional committees and by the CIA’s internal watchdog.

But the retired air force psychologist insists he is not the monster many have portrayed him to be.

“The narrative that’s out there is, I walked up to the gate of the CIA, knocked on the door and said: ‘Let me in, I want to torture people, and I can show you how to do it.’ Or someone put out an ad on Craigslist that said, ‘Wanted: psychologist who is willing to design torture program.’ It’s a lot more complicated than that,” Mitchell told the Guardian in his first public comments since he was linked to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program seven years ago.

“I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country by people at the highest level of government, and I did the best that I could.”

Mitchell is featured prominently in a new report prepared by the Senate select committee on intelligence, which spent five years and more than $40m studying the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

The findings, according to a summary leaked to McClatchy, are damning: that the agency misled the White House, Congress and the American people; that unauthorised interrogation methods were used; that the legal opinions stating the techniques did not break US torture laws were flawed; and perhaps most significant, that the torture yielded no useful intelligence. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “CIA torture architect: ‘I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country’

  1. Norman

    A retired air force psychologist, that should know better. The fact that he participated in this, especially being who he is, well, you are no patriot, but you fell into the crapper because you sat on the wrong outhouse hole, when you should have known better. I wonder, just how many other air force personnel he had contact with/influenced over his career? Like all the people who are guilty of committing a crime against fellow human beings, today trying revisionism to justify their acts, just doesn’t wash. Unfortunately, he wont pay the price that others do, he’ll just go on denying any wrong pointing in his direction. Another Nuremberg defense, “They made me do it”. Bah Humbug.

  2. rust. h

    The much maligned Dr Mengele surely also did his best for his nation. If he had ended
    up on the side of the victors, who would know about him? That’s how history is made.

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