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Psychologists Group Apologizes For Backing Post-Sept. 11 Interrogation Tactics

The American Psychological Association has apologized for actions that may have enabled brutal interrogation techniques used by the U.S. government after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

NPR's Jon Hamilton, who is reporting on the story for our Newscast unit, says the apology comes in response to an independent report commissioned by the APA itself. He says:

"The 542-page report by former federal prosecutor David Hoffman found evidence that top officials of the association had colluded with government officials. The goal of the collusion was to ensure that APA ethics policies were consistent with Bush administration policies on interrogation techniques.

"Those policies allowed waterboarding, sleep deprivation and sexual humiliation, practices the APA now specifically condemns."

The APA called the report's findings "deeply disturbing" and promised measures to prevent future mistakes, but the group did not say it planned to punish APA officials involved in the collusion.

The New York Times, which first reported Friday on the independent report by the firm Sidley Austin, noted that the CIA's own health professionals criticized the interrogation practices, but they were rebuffed by the outside psychologists.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.