James Mitchell speaks out on Senate report on torture program - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

James Mitchell speaks out on Senate report on torture program

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James Mitchell, one of two Spokane psychologists contracted by the CIA to develop enhanced interrogation techniques, is speaking out for the first time after the Senate’s report on those techniques was released. (PHOTO/VIDEO: Courtesy VICE NEWS) James Mitchell, one of two Spokane psychologists contracted by the CIA to develop enhanced interrogation techniques, is speaking out for the first time after the Senate’s report on those techniques was released. (PHOTO/VIDEO: Courtesy VICE NEWS)
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James Mitchell, one of two Spokane psychologists contracted by the CIA to develop enhanced interrogation techniques, is speaking out for the first time after the Senate's report on those techniques was released.

Both Mitchell and Bruce Jessen worked with the SERE program in Spokane.

It's a program that teaches military personnel how to react to being interrogated.

The CIA's report includes details about their involvement in an interrogation that left a prisoner dead and in the waterboarding of one of the 9/11 masterminds.

When Vice News sat down with Mitchell near his home in suburban Florida, Mitchell says he and Jessen spent most of his Airforce career trying to get the Navy to stop waterboarding because they thought it brought them down to the enemy's level.

But he also says a person can take any technique and turn it into torture

"I don't think it's the right thing to do I don't think it's the wrong thing to do. I think you can do it in a way that constitutes torture, I think you can do it in a way that it constitutes training. I think you can do it in a way that helps a person shift their priorities so that they experience less abuse later on. It's like every tool in the tool bag. You can under use it, you can over use it,” said Mitchell.

In response to the Senate report coming out, Mitchell and Jessen issued a joint statement.

Both defended their work saying it was ethical and that they '”resolutely oppose torture.”

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