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August 4, 2010

Roles of CIA Physicians in Enhanced Interrogation and Torture of Detainees

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland (Mr Rubenstein); and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland (Dr Xenakis).

JAMA. 2010;304(5):569-570. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1057

Secrecy has restricted scrutiny of the role of physicians and other medical personnel in the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA’s) “enhanced” interrogation program, begun in 2002. The program, also labeled “physical and psychological pressure,” was designed to “psychologically ‘dislocate’ the detainee, maximize his feelings of vulnerability and helplessness, and reduce or eliminate his will to resist” efforts to obtain intelligence.1-3(appendix F) In 2009, the Obama Administration released guidelines on enhanced interrogation written in 2003 and 2004 by the CIA Office of Medical Services (OMS).1-3(appendix F) The OMS guidelines, even in redacted form, and opinions from the US Department of Justice's (DOJ’s) Office of Legal Counsel show that CIA physicians, psychologists, and other health care personnel had important roles in enhanced interrogation.

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