America’s Misadventure in Torture: New Revelations & Hard Lessons

February 27, 2020

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, March 5, at Georgetown Law, leading experts on torture and interrogation programs will unpack new revelations about U.S. actions after 9/11 and discuss ongoing efforts to ensure ethical approaches to securing critical national security information.


Widely overshadowed by the 2020 primary season and impeachment news, January hearings at Guantanamo Bay revealed new clues about the U.S. approach to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods after 9/11. Testimony from CIA psychologist James Mitchell not only offers new details on the design of the “enhanced interrogation” program he led, it suggests the CIA employed rival programs that may have been even more brutal. Other recent disclosures illuminate the role of physicians and how U.S. officials subverted medical and psychological ethics. Leading experts will review these revelations with an eye toward lessons learned for the prevention of torture and the conduct of ethical, evidence-based national security interrogation methods.

Short film excerpts to be shown include The Report, which dramatizes the role of featured speaker Daniel J. Jones in the U.S. Senate investigation into CIA interrogation methods. Former U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez will also speak, followed by an expert panel including contributors to a new book, Interrogation & Torture.

The event is cosponsored by Georgetown Law, its O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, its Center on National Security and the Law, and the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University’s Washington College of Law.


Daniel J. Jones, lead author of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Report on the CIA’s Detention & Interrogation Program; founder, The Penn Quarter Group & Advance Democracy

Juan Mendez, former U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture; Professor of Human Rights in Residence, American University; contributor to Interrogation & Torture

Alka Pradhan, Human Rights Counsel, Guantanamo Military Commissions

Mark Fallon, former Military Commissions chief investigator; co-editor, Interrogation & Torture; author, Unjustifiable Means; Director of ClubFed, LLC

Susan E. Brandon, former Research Director, High-Value Detainee Interrogation

M. Gregg Bloche, Professor, Georgetown Law; author, The Hippocratic Myth contributor to Interrogation & Torture

David Luban, Professor, Georgetown Law; author, Torture, Power, & Law; contributor to Interrogation & Torture

Steven Barela, lead editor, Interrogation & Torture; Senior Research Fellow, University of Geneva


Thursday, March 5, 2020
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Reception to follow.


Georgetown Law
Hart Auditorium
600 New Jersey Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001


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