CIA Tactics Can Cause Mental Harm: Doctors

Bush-era interrogation memos understated long-term effects
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2009 10:29 AM CDT
Using threats of fearsome animals doesn't actually hurt prisoners, officials contend. But the mental damage done by "enhanced interrogation techniques" can be permanent.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Experts disagree with Bush-era rulings, made public in memos released last week, that interrogation techniques the CIA used on terror suspects don’t cause lasting psychological damage, the Los Angeles Times reports. “There’s absolutely no question they are going to lead to permanent mental harm,” one psychology professor says, triggering anxiety, paranoia, and “the destruction of people’s personalities.”

Prolonged stress can kill off neurons in the brain and contribute to physical problems like heart disease and diabetes. But a former Department of Justice employee defends interrogation practices as “enormously restrained—they’re not relying on brute force, they’re not relying on infliction of pain.” Experts say any torturous technique is likely to elicit false information.