World Bulletin / News Desk
The designer of the CIA's “enhanced interrogation” program, which has been the subjet of much scrutiny from the US Senate after a report last week revealed that agents had overstepped their legal boundaries regarding their intel extraction techniques, has broken his silence.
James Mitchell spoke to The Guardian about his alleged involvement in the program, which was approved by the George W. Bush administration after the 9-11 attacks. Dismissing the accusations against the secret services, he said “The people on the ground did the best they could with the way they understood the law at the time.”
“You can't ask someone to put their life on the line and think and make a decision without the benefit of hindsight and then eviscerate them in the press 10 years later,” he added.
Mitchell, a retired air force psychologist, was the mastermind behind the program which used methods amounting to torture to extract information from suspected terrorists, including water-boarding, stress positions and sleep deprivation. He is also believed to have personally water-boarded suspects.
“I’m skeptical about the Senate report, because I do not believe that every analyst whose jobs and promotions depended upon it, who were professional intelligence experts, all them lied to protect a program? All of them were wrong? All of these [CIA] directors were wrong?All of the people who were using the intel to go get people were wrong? And 10 years later a Senate staffer was able to put it together and finally there’s clarity? I am just highly skeptical that that’s the truth,” he told the newspaper.
Defending the torture techniques used, Mitchell said that they were not illegal based on the law at the time.
The Central Intelligence Agency was found to have issued erroneous claims about how many people it subjected to techniques such as simulated drowning, or "water boarding," according to the news service, citing conclusions from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report obtained by McClatchy last week.
The report also concluded that the CIA used interrogation methods that were not approved by its own headquarters or the U.S. Justice Department, impeded White House oversight and actively evaded oversight both by Congress and its own Inspector General.
The CIA also provided false information to the U.S. Justice Department, which used that information to conclude that the methods would not break the law because those applying them did not specifically intend to inflict severe pain or suffering, the report added.
Almost every sentence in the 6,600-page report is attributed to CIA documents, including cables, internal memoranda and e-mails, briefing materials, interview transcripts, classified testimony, financial documents and more.Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2014, 15:06