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The Man Who Designed The CIA Interrogation Program Defends It

Mitchell, who is identified in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report by a pseudonym, Grayson Swigert, declined to be specific about what he considered inaccurate.
The Man Who Designed The CIA Interrogation Program Defends It
Image from: VICE News

According to news reports, James Mitchell personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He seems to think it really isn't such a big deal:

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of the two psychologists paid millions for designing the CIA's post-Sept. 11 program of brutal interrogations defends the treatment of al-Qaida detainees and disputes a critical Senate report.

"What I would love the American people to know is that the way the Senate Democrats on that committee described the credentials and background of the two psychologists is just factually, demonstrably incorrect," James E. Mitchell told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday from his Florida home.

Mitchell, who is identified in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report by a pseudonym, Grayson Swigert, declined to be specific about what he considered inaccurate.

He said a secrecy agreement prevented him from confirming his involvement in the CIA program or fully defending himself.

A U.S. official with knowledge of the program confirms that Mitchell is Swigert. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss information that has not been publicly released.

Mitchell's former business partner, Bruce Jessen, is identified in the report as Hammond Dunbar, the official said.

The report said they "devised the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management" of the program. The two were said to be involved in some of the most brutal interrogations, including waterboarding applied to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed that went beyond what the Justice Department had approved.

The CIA contracted out much of the interrogation program to the two men, the report said, and ultimately paid their company $81 million.

In the AP interview, Mitchell said the committee's report cherry-picked evidence to present a false narrative about the CIA program.

"It's flat wrong," he said, to suggest that he had no experience as an interrogator and no understanding of al-Qaida, as the report says of the psychologists.

But Mitchell declined to detail his experience, other than to point out he spent 30 years with the Air Force and other government organizations.

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