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…]