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'Flat Wrong': Big-Bucks Torture Teacher Slams CIA Report

Psychologist James Mitchell and a partner were paid $81 million by the CIA to develop and operate an interrogation program.
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One of two psychologists whose firm was paid $81 million to design the CIA's interrogation techniques for terror suspects is blasting a Senate report that criticized the program's brutality and effectiveness.

"I always sleep comfortably at night," James Mitchell told NBC News on Wednesday.

"I think the American people ought to know the men and women of the CIA and the armed services have given up their lives and their security to protect them. It’s not always pretty," he added. "I wish this report had come out in a bipartisan way."

In an earlier interview with the Associated Press, Mitchell said Senate report's accusation that he and his partner did not have experience as interrogators or an understanding of Al Qaeda is "flat wrong." He said he understood the shocked reaction to the report's claims. "I would be upset by it too, if it were true," he said.

"What they are asking you to believe is that multiple directors of the CIA and analysts who made their living for years doing this lied to the federal government, or were too stupid to know that the intelligence they were getting wasn't useful," Mitchell told the AP.

Mitchell, who spent 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, is identified by the alias Grayson Swigert in the report. His former business partner, John "Bruce" Jessen, is identifed as Hammond Dunbar. The report says that their firm had a $180 million contract but collected just $81 million before the contract was terminated in 2009.

James E. Mitchell
James E. MitchellDon Wood / NBC News


— Don Wood and Tracy Connor, with The Associated Press