Mitchell & Jessen - The Guys Who Came Up With The Torture Program: The Young Turks

Surprise! Behind the torture program, a shocking story of profit and scandal.

How about this for a rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags story? Dr. Jessen and Dr. Mitchell: two military retirees and psychology professors, have been revealed to be the architects behind the Bush-era torture programming.  Though apparently under-qualified for the job, (their Ph.D. dissertations were on high blood pressure and family therapy) what Mitchell & Jessen lacked in experience they made up for in moxie, gusto and sadistic desire for money by any means necessary.

From The New York Times:

Dr. Mitchell, colleagues said, believed that producing learned helplessness in a Qaeda interrogation subject might ensure that he would comply with his captor’s demands. Many experienced interrogators disagreed, asserting that a prisoner so demoralized would say whatever he thought the interrogator expected.

By the start of 2002, Dr. Mitchell was consulting with the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorist Center, whose director, Cofer Black, and chief operating officer, Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., were impressed by his combination of visceral toughness and psychological jargon. One person who heard some discussions said Dr. Mitchell gave the C.I.A. officials what they wanted to hear. In this person’s words, Dr. Mitchell suggested that interrogations required “a comparable level of fear and brutality to flying planes into buildings.”

At the C.I.A. in December 2001, Dr. Mitchell’s theories were attracting high-level attention. Agency officials asked him to review a Qaeda manual, seized in England, that coached terrorist operatives to resist interrogations. He contacted Dr. Jessen, and the two men wrote the first proposal to turn the enemy’s brutal techniques — slaps, stress positions, sleep deprivation, wall-slamming and waterboarding — into an American interrogation program.

Are you queasy yet? No? Let's add some mind-alteringly high government salaries to the mix...

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