|James Mitchell (left), Bruce Jessen (right) independent.ie|
Despite having no experience or training in actual interrogation, Mitchell and Jessen personally interrogated many of the CIA's most significant detainees. To the degree there was any effort to assess the effectiveness of the interrogation program, Mitchell and Jessen graded their own work. By 2009, the psychologists had collected $81 million on the contract when the Obama Administration abruptly terminated it.
The Senate report also notes that in 2007, Mitchell, Jessen & Associates received a multi-year indemnification agreement from the CIA to shield the company and its employees from legal liability arising out of the program. So far the CIA has paid out more than $1 million pursuant to the agreement.”
— Ryan Casey, Huffington Post
“[FBI agent] Ali Soufan, in his early 30s at the time, was an advocate of the traditional FBI strategy known as 'rapport building,' which is based on the notion that an interrogation can only produce the desired results once a rapport has been developed with the prisoner. Soufan dressed the fresh gunshot wounds Zubaydah had received during the arrest. He told Zubaydah that he even knew the nickname he had been given by his mother. […]
Soufan showed Zubaydah photos of al-Qaida members. When he saw a photo of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the prisoner identified him as the man who had planned and organized the Sept. 11 attacks. Later the Bush administration -- with no justification whatsoever -- would celebrate this piece of information from the FBI interrogation as a significant breakthrough and evidence of the effectiveness of its new interrogation techniques.
A few days later, CIA agents arrived in Thailand. They had brought along James Mitchell, the architect of the new interrogation methods. Suddenly the tone changed dramatically. Mitchell gave orders to intensify Zubaydah's treatment if he did not respond to questions.
One day Soufan, seeing that the prisoner was naked, threw him a towel. Later on, he and Mitchell argued heatedly over the prisoner's treatment. 'We're the United States of America, and we don't do that kind of thing,' Soufan recalls shouting at Mitchell. He also asked Mitchell who had authorized him to use the aggressive methods. Mitchell responded that he had received approval from the 'highest levels' in Washington.
All this happened in April 2002, four months before the Bush administration issued its first torture memorandum to legally justify the interrogation techniques.”
— John Goetz and Britta Sandberg, Spiegel Online