SERE Psychologist Dissented
Today’s hearing introduces us to a young SERE clinical psychologist named Jerald Ogrissig. A retired Air Force major, Ogrissig, who appears before the Senate panel wearing a ponytail and can’t be over 40, is in charge of "safeguarding the integrity of the training" at SERE. In July 2002 he was the psychological-services chief at the Air Force survival school at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington.
At that time, Baumgartner called Ogrissig to solicit information for a memo ultimately issued July 24, 2002. Ogrissig warned him that what Baumgartner was asking for was "more indicative of a practice that produces learned helplessness" than for intelligence gathering. He was asked about the effects of waterboarding. "Wouldn’t that be illegal?" he asked Baumgartner, who recalled the conversation. "Some people were asking from above" at the Pentagon, Baumgartner replied.
Ogrissig nevertheless complied, and gave Baumgarnter his research from SERE about resisting interrogation. He said he "never presumed" it would be used as a template to torture people. "Those techniques," he said, "are derived what has historically happened to our personnel at the hands of the enemy."