CIA, DoD had doctors torture detainees after 9/11

A new horrifying report shows how doctors abrogated ethical codes to cruelly gain intel

By Natasha Lennard

Published November 4, 2013 2:43PM (EST)

  (Reuters/Shane T. McCoy)
(Reuters/Shane T. McCoy)

In a new report that makes contextualizes the torturous force-feeding of Gitmo hunger strikers, it has been revealed that under CIA and DoD orders, doctors tortured terror suspects to gain intel after 9/11.

The Taskforce on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centers found that, following 9/11, medical professionals working with the military and intelligence services "designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees."

The report, as the Guardian highlighted Monday, points the finger at the CIA and the Defense Department for requiring health professionals in their employ to oversea force-feedings, "enhanced interrogations" (read, always, as "torture"), and to forgo patient-doctor confidentiality. In every of these instances, international medical ethics codes were grossly abrogated. Via the Guardian:

Doctors and nurses were required to participate in the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike, against the rules of the World Medical Association and the American Medical Association. Doctors and psychologists working for the DoD were required to breach patient confidentiality and share what they knew of the prisoner's physical and psychological condition with interrogators and were used as interrogators themselves. They also failed to comply with recommendations from the army surgeon general on reporting abuse of detainees.

The CIA's office of medical services played a critical role in advising the justice department that "enhanced interrogation" methods, such as extended sleep deprivation and waterboarding, which are recognised as forms of torture, were medically acceptable. CIA medical personnel were present when waterboarding was taking place, the taskforce says.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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9/11 Cia Department Of Defense Doctors Dod Enhanced Interrogation Medical Ethics Terror Suspects Torture