Tags: Al-Qaida | CIA Torture Report | War on Terrorism | waterboarding | khalid sheikh mohammed

Psychologist Admits to Waterboarding 9/11 Mastermind

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 10:36 PM

James Mitchell, one of the two psychologists identified in the Senate Intelligence Committee report on enhanced interrogation techniques, broke his silence Monday, admitting he personally waterboarded 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others.

Mitchell talked to Vice News and Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File" on Monday.

"Yes, I waterboarded KSM. I was part of a larger team that waterboarded a small number of detainees," the former Air Force psychologist told Vice News. He told Fox News he also personally waterboarded terrorist Abu Zubaydah.

Mitchell took issue with the report because he and others who participated were never interviewed and he was painted to look like a bad person.

"No one from the Senate committee has ever asked me a single thing. If they think I've abused somebody, they should ask me about it," he told Fox's Megyn Kelly. "Kalid Sheikh Mohammed has the opportunity to address the charges against him, but I don't."

The Senate report cherry-picks information and "reads like a prosecutorial brief rather than an effort to get to the truth," he said.

Mitchell said the report names him he is involved in activity the writers of the report don't approve of, but when they cite instances of people raising concerns they don't say who did so.

In reading the report, Mitchell said, "I realized I'm the person raising the concerns. But they're not identifying me when the concerns get raised. They're identifying me when there's something going on that they think will bring some sort of ill-will towards me in the presentation of their argument."

He said both he and his business partner Dr. Bruce Jessen reported abuses when they saw them.

Mitchell and Jessen were paid for their work, but Mitchell told Vice News it was nowhere near the $81 million reported by the Senate committee. Most was used for overhead and paying employees, he said.

Mitchell told Fox News that he wanted to ensure no harm was done to the detainees, and he even lessened the amount of time water was poured after he saw the approved amount of 20-40 seconds was too much. He ended up pouring for shorter sessions of 10 seconds more times, he said.

He also said he they always tried to use normal conversations to see if the suspects would give up information before resorting to harsher methods.

Mitchell initially told Kelly it was "just a job," but later in the interview admitted it was tough on him and others involved.

"Those techniques are so harsh that it's emotionally distressing to the people who are administering them," he said. But even though you don't want to do it, you're doing it in order to save lives in the country. We would just have to man-up … and carry forward."

Mitchell said he initially resisted when asked to develop the enhanced interrogation methods, but after seeing intelligence on a planned second wave of attacks after 9/11, he said he couldn't say no.

Mitchell initially turned down interview requests after the report was released, citing a confidentiality agreement. Fox News reported that it was lifted over the weekend.

But Mitchell also said he wanted to talk because he is angry at Senate Democrats, whom he says have essentially put a fatwa on him.

He said they think he and others are guilty of something horrible, but they can't be prosecuted because multiple investigations have found what they did was legal.

"Then they issue this report that essentially stirs up all of the crazies and all the jihadists. So now we're getting death threats," he said.

"I don't mind giving my life for my country, but I do mind giving my life for a food fight for political reasons between two groups of people who should be able to work it out like adults," he said.

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James Mitchell, one of the two psychologists identified in the Senate Intelligence Committee report on enhanced interrogation techniques, broke his silence Monday, admitting he personally waterboarded 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others.
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Monday, 15 Dec 2014 10:36 PM
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