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Fact 7

Last updated: July 19, 2023

The CIA torture program was unprofessional and inept.

The torture program was built largely by two contracts psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, neither of whom had any experience as an interrogator, any knowledge of al Qaeda, any relevant regional or cultural experience, or any science to justify their methods. They were allowed both to conduct interrogations and to evaluate the efficacy of their own torture tactics. This obvious conflict of interest was raised repeatedly by CIA personnel:

According to senior operators of the torture program, the CIA’s own officers were similarly unqualified and unprepared for the mission with which they were tasked. For example:

The chief of the CIA’s Rendition Detention and Interrogation Group told the CIA’s office of the inspector general:

A senior interrogator expressed similar concerns to the inspector general’s office:

With respect to personnel at one of the CIA’s black site prisons—“DETENTION SITE BLACK”—the chief of base there wrote:

Management and oversight of the torture program were so deficient that at one point, almost two years after the CIA took custody of its first detainee, a CIA officer overseeing a black site in one country informed CIA headquarters: