Report Concludes C.I.A. Torture Program was Bolstered by American Psychological Association

Scott A. Allen is a professor of medicine and associate dean for academic affairs at the UCR School of Medicine.Photo credit: UCR School of Medicine.

Dr. Scott A. Allen, professor of medicine, was a co-author of a report that concluded the American Psychological Association (APA) coordinated with federal officials to create an ethics policy on national security interrogations that aligned with the government’s legal justification for the post-9/11 CIA torture program. Featured in a New York Times story published in April, the study characterized the collaboration between the APA and officials in the CIA, White House and Department of Defense as secretive.

Through an analysis of e-mails of a key CIA contractor, recently released government documents and media reports, the authors established the involvement of health professionals in the federal government’s interrogation program.

“The viability of the health professions depends in large part on the integrity of their professional organizations,” Allen said.  “In this case, it appears that the leadership of the American Psychological Association was willing to subordinate professional autonomy and its own ethical principles in order to accommodate the government’s foray into torture.  Even worse, they did so in secret. As a result, the APA leadership damaged the integrity of the both the organization and the profession.”

In addition to Allen, also associate dean for academic affairs in the SOM, the authors of the report included clinical psychologists, other physicians, and academics involved in humanitarian issues.

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