A new video has been published showing the depositions of two contract psychologists who worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in a lawsuit brought on behalf of several former detainees.
Their out of court testimony revealed by the New York Times outlines the questioning techniques used by agents.
James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who are known by CIA officials as the architects of the program, although they both refute this, said they were reluctant participants in the interrogations.
But the men did say they believed the practices were effective in making resistant detainees cooperate.
“I think any normal, conscionable man would have to consider carefully doing something like this,” Jessen said in the video obtained by the New York Times.
“I deliberated with great, soulful torment about this, and obviously I concluded that it could be done safely or I wouldn’t have done it.”
Jessen and Mitchell are defendants in a federal lawsuit in Spokane, Washington, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three former prisoners, in order to hold participants accountable for inflicting the techniques.
In 2002, CIA officials in 2002 asked the two psychologists, who had trained U.S. troops to resist abuse in case of capture, to take part in the “enhanced interrogation” techniques.
These techniques, including waterboarding, were first used on Abu Zubaydah, who was taken into custody in 2002.
The CIA alleged that Zubaydah was the third-highest ranking member of al-Qaida, but it later abandoned that claim.
“They shackle me completely, even my head; I can’t do anything,” Zubaydah said in declassified transcripts obtained by the New York Times last year.
“Like this, and they put one cloth in my mouth and they put water, water, water.”
At the “last point before I die,” Zubaydah continued, interrogators stood the board back up and “make like this” — he made breathing noises — “again and again they make it with me, and I tell him, ‘If you want to kill me, kill me.’ ”
Zubaydah underwent waterboarding 83 times in August 2003.
At one point he was completely unresponsive and medical personnel had to revive him, according to a Senate report in 2014.
Two former prisoners who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit also described their interrogations in their depositions.
Mohamed Ben Soud, a Libyan held by the CIA in Afghanistan, said he was locked in small boxes, slammed against a wall and doused with buckets of ice water while naked and shackled.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama banned the CIA's techniques via executive order in 2009.
The Senate also concluded in its 2014 report that the program’s defenders had exaggerated its value in providing useful intelligence and condemned the interrogation process as torture.
The advocacy campaigners Physicians for Human Rights are calling for a criminal investigation in a new report released this week.
“In this uncertain political climate, it is even more crucial to shine a light on this disturbing chapter and act now to prevent such crimes from being repeated,” the group said.