A SERE Correction

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 11:55 am

I think I messed up in my piece last night when I wrote:

“Zubaydah will have contact only with a new interrogation specialist, whom he has not met previously, and the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (”SERE”) training psychologist who has been involved with the interrogations since they began,” wrote Jay Bybee, the head of OLC, in an August 1, 2002 memorandum. It is unclear but likely that [SERE psychologist Bruce] Jessen is the psychologist to which Bybee refers.

Jane Mayer atTthe New Yorker has reported in her book The Dark Side that a retired military psychologist affiliated with SERE named James Mitchell took part in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, the al-Qaeda operative captured in early 2002 in Pakistan and eventually waterboarded 83 times. While it’s not totally clear to whom Bybee is referring, the available evidence leans more toward Mitchell than Jessen, and so I should correct and apologize.

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