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US Psychologist Blamed for Torture Aid Backed by FBI Chief

A former FBI head has come out in support of the psychologist who helped shape the US military and CIA torture program while blasting the APA as being complicit.

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A former psychologist, known for his prominent role in the US's largest professional psychological association, has received FBI support in a tricky story of covering torture.

Louis J. Freeh, Bill Clinton's FBI director, accused the American Psychological Association (APA) in a smear job, when it reported about a medical professional's lie and cover up of their extensive involvement in post-9/11 torture.

Freeh stressed the report was nothing but "gross mischaracterization" of the "intentions, goals and actions" of former ethics chief Stephen Behnke.

Behnke has allegedly played a critical part in torture conducted by the CIA and US military, claimed a former federal prosecutor David Hoffman, who launched the investigation.

Hoffman outlined that Behnke had intended to involve psychologists in torture — he had close ties to the military and tried to manipulate the APA into softening its traditional rejection of torture and suppressing internal dissent.

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The APA ethics director Behnke was fired on Friday after 15 years.

According to the Guardian, the APA is seeking to end psychological cooperation with US military and CIA detention and interrogation operations by changing its policy, supported by the chair of the special committee Nadine Kaslow.

Behnke has exercised his right to remain silent since the report came out.

However, Freeh didn't make a rebuttal of Hoffmans' report. Rather, the former FBI head described the APA as complicit, self-servingly sacrificing Behnke as a convenient scapegoat, mentioning Kaslow who, with other leaders, conspired to "adopt and implement these policies over a series of years with full knowledge of Dr Behnke's role in the resolution drafting process."

The APA aims to pass the buck to Behnke through Hoffman's reports, concluded Freeh.

"They seek to effect this change by targeting Dr. Behnke for his role in drafting APA policy, by falsely claiming that Dr Behnke conducted ethics workshops for military psychologists unbeknownst to the organization, and by absurdly casting Dr Behnke as the individual responsible for APA's policy development on the issue of interrogations," Freeh said.

Behnke has worked on an FBI child-abduction and serial murder research advisory panel since 2001. He had been reportedly connected with the FBI through his brother, John D. Behnke, a former FBI agent who has recently joined Freeh's risk-management firm.

The Defense Department, FBI and National Security Council have maintained public silence on the Behnke issue.

The 2015 APA Annual Convention takes place in Toronto next month, where the report is expected to be prevalent.

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