Psychologists Who Designed CIA Torture Methods Sued
ACLU says program was 'unlawful,' 'barbaric'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2015 5:20 AM CDT
Romanian military staff stand at the end of a corridor on the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, the alleged site of a former CIA secret prison.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

(Newser) – The psychologists who were paid $81 million to devise "enhanced interrogation" techniques for the CIA may have to give some of that money to two men who survived the interrogations—and the family of one who didn't. The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of three men who were allegedly tortured, including Gul Rahman, who froze to death chained to a wall in a secret prison in Afghanistan in 2002, CNN reports. The suit accuses retired Air Force psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen of developing a program "intended to inflict physical and mental pain and suffering" with the use of techniques like waterboarding and sleep deprivation on the plaintiffs, who were never charged with any crime, the Guardian reports.

"They claimed that their program was scientifically based, safe, and proven, when in fact it was none of those things. The program was unlawful and its methods barbaric," an ACLU lawyer said in a statement, per the AP, which notes that the CIA reportedly agreed to cover $5 million in legal expenses for the two men. The lawsuit, which cites conclusions from last year's Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture, seeks at least $75,000 in damages. Jessen and Mitchell had never interrogated anybody before they devised the CIA program, the Guardian notes, but they drew upon techniques that they had trained military personnel to resist. (They were also inspired by a famous 1960s experiment on dogs.)