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Interrogation and TortureIntegrating Efficacy with Law and Morality$
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Steven J. Barela, Mark Fallon, Gloria Gaggioli, and Jens David Ohlin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190097523

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190097523.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 26 January 2022

Beyond Ethics on the Sly

Beyond Ethics on the Sly

The Behavioral Sciences and National-Security Interrogation

Chapter:
(p.279) 10 Beyond Ethics on the Sly
Source:
Interrogation and Torture
Author(s):

M. Gregg Bloche

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190097523.003.0011

When behavioral-science professionals assist national-security interrogators, they enter upon an ethical “no man’s land.” The Hippocratic ideal of commitment to individuals’ well-being fits uneasily with pursuit of national purposes at individuals’ expense. Outrage over psychologists’ and physicians’ central role in America’s post-9/11 torture program both underscores this tension and stands as a warning against disregarding it. Disregard it, many did—including CIA, Pentagon, and professional leaders—as psychologists and physicians helped to design, conduct, and legally “justify” torture. Drawing in part upon previously unreported documents, this chapter shows how the CIA, Pentagon, and professional bodies evaded ethical objections and hid their own rationalizations so as to permit psychologists and physicians to play these roles. This history of subterfuge—and the distrust it has inspired—poses a large obstacle to these professionals’ assistance in lawful interrogation. Yet their science-based expertise can enhance the effectiveness of investigative interviewing that respects international human rights and the law of armed conflict. There is, moreover, no principled basis for drawing a sharp ethical distinction between national security and the myriad other non-therapeutic purposes that these professionals serve. But if behavioral-science professionals are to offer their expertise on behalf of national security without venturing into ethical peril, the bounds of this role must be openly negotiated, not set in secret. To this end, I propose some ethical guidelines as a starting point.

Keywords:   behavioral science, CIA, ethics, human right, medicine, Pentagon, physicians, psychiatry, psychology, torture

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