Letter to Chairman and Ranking Member of House Judiciary Subcommittee

November 6, 2007

The Honorable Jerrold Nadler
House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
B-353 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Trent Franks
Ranking Member
House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
B-351 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Franks:

I am writing on behalf of the 148,000 members and affiliates of the American Psychological Association (APA) to commend you both on your attention to the serious matter of the treatment of foreign detainees in the custody of the U.S. government. In this regard, we were pleased to see the notice of your upcoming November 8th Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Torture and the Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Detainees: The Effectiveness and Consequences of 'Enhanced' Interrogation.”

APA unequivocally condemns the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment under any and all conditions, including the detention and interrogation of both lawful and unlawful “enemy combatants,” as defined by the U.S. Military Commissions Act of 2006. We are hopeful that this upcoming hearing will shed further light on the use of so-called “enhanced” interrogation techniques, which are of grave concern to our association. They have the potential of inflicting serious harm to the physical and psychological welfare and human rights of detainees and as such are in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the U. N. Convention Against Torture, and our association's own resolutions in this area.

For your information, we are providing you with a letter that was recently sent by our APA President and Chief Executive Officer, calling upon President Bush to expand his July 2007 Executive Order to clarify that “enhanced” interrogation techniques, such as forced nudity, waterboarding, and mock executions shall not be used or condoned by the U.S. government and that testimony resulting from the use of these techniques shall be disallowed. A similar letter was sent to CIA Director Michael Hayden and to the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, relative to their consideration of the confirmation of Attorney General nominee Michael B. Mukasey.

In closing, APA looks forward to working with your Subcommittee to develop policies on interrogation that provide for ethical means to elicit information to prevent acts of violence. If you have any questions or are in need of additional information, please contact APA's Director of Ethics, Stephen Behnke, J.D., Ph.D., at (202) 336-6006, or e-mail, or our Senior Policy Advisor, Ellen Garrison, Ph.D., at (202) 336-6066, or e-mail.


L. Michael Honaker, Ph.D.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer

cc: Members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties