January 27, 2017

APA Warns Against Reinstituting 'Enhanced' Interrogation

Urges President Trump not to sign executive order

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association called on President Trump to refrain from issuing an executive order that could possibly restart the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation program.

“APA has expressed its forceful opposition to the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that were authorized under President George W. Bush and halted by President Obama,” said APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD. “We are concerned that, if signed by President Trump, this order could open the door to interrogation practices that are now illegal and have been deemed cruel, inhuman and degrading to detainees.”

APA’s fundamental mission includes protecting and promoting human welfare based on what we know from psychological science. The association has a policy that prohibits psychologists from engaging in torture or working in violation of the U.S. Constitution or international law (as deemed by U.N. authorities).

APA also took issue with President Trump’s latest statement asserting that torture is an effective means of soliciting information. “Contrary to the president’s statement, there is no credible scientific evidence that torture works,” Puente said. “But there is evidence that rapport-building interrogation techniques are effective.”

APA has had a policy condemning torture since 1985, which has been reaffirmed and expanded several times since. Psychologists are bound by ethical principles that call for them to “respect the dignity and worth of the individual and strive for the preservation and protection of fundamental human rights.”