Psychologists and Detainee Interrogations: Key Decisions, Opportunities Lost, and Lessons Learned
Pope, Kenneth S
Annual review of clinical psychology 2011 Apr; 7: 459-81
After the 9-11 terrorist attacks, U.S. psychologists faced hard choices about what roles, if any, were appropriate for psychologists in the detainee interrogations conducted in settings such as the Bagram Airbase, the Abu Ghraib Prison, and the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camps. The American Psychological Association (APA) sparked intense controversy with its policies and public statements. This article reviews APA decisions, documents, and public statements in this area, in the context of major criticisms and responses to those criticisms. The review focuses on key issues: how the APA created and reported policies in the areas of ethics and national security; transparency; psychologists' professional identities; psychologists' qualifications; ethical-legal conflicts; policies opposing torture; interpretations of avoiding harm; and effective interrogations. It suggests lessons learned, missed opportunities, and questions in need of a fresh approach.
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