Open Letter to Obama: Reject John Brennan as Director of the CIA

For Immediate Release

Psychologists and Allies
Contact: 

Stephen Soldz

ssoldz@bgsp.edu

(617) 935-4246

Open Letter to Obama: Reject John Brennan as Director of the CIA

WASHINGTON -

Dear
President-Elect Obama,

We are
writing to urge you not to
select John Brennan as Director of the CIA. We are psychologists and allies who
have long opposed the abuses of detainees under the Bush administration.  We are just concluding a successful
several-year struggle to remove psychologists from their roles in aiding or
abetting these abuses. It has been a distressing fact that, while the Bush
administration resorted to abuse and torture of those in our custody, often
psychologists have been put in positions to use their psychological expertise to
guide these unconscionable practices.

We look
forward to your administration as an opportunity for genuine change - in this
case for our country to take a new direction in its treatment of
prisoners.  We applaud your commitment to closing Guantanamo and are encouraged by your clear statement from
your 60
Minutes
interview
last
Sunday, "America doesn't torture, and I'm
gonna make sure that we don't torture." This fuels our hope for a decisive
repudiation of the "dark side" - the willingness to use or abet illegal and
unethical coercive interrogation tactics that sometimes amount to torture and
often constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment.

We are
concerned, however, by reports that you may appoint John Brennan as Director of
the CIA.  Mr. Brennan served as a
high official in George Tenet's CIA and supported Tenet's policies, including
"enhanced interrogations" as well as "renditions" to torturing countries.
According to his own statements, Mr. Brennan was a supporter of the "dark side"
policies, wishing only to have some legal justification supplied in order to
protect CIA operatives. In describing Director Tenet's views he stated during a
March 8,
2006 Frontline
interview
:

I think
George [Tenet] had two concerns. One is to make sure that there was that legal
justification, as well as protection for CIA officers who are going to be
engaged in some of these things, so that they would not be then prosecuted or
held liable for actions that were being directed by the administration. So we
want to make sure the findings and other things were done probably with the
appropriate Department of Justice review.

We know, of
course, that "the appropriate Department of Justice review" means that torture
was authorized and conducted by our government.

The use of
these tactics goes against the moral fiber of our country and is never
justified. This is true whether these "enhanced interrogation" techniques are
used directly by U.S. forces, as in the CIA's "black sites," or by other
countries acting as our surrogates, as in the "renditions" program where
individuals are taken to countries practicing torture, resulting in suffering
inflicted by that country's forces.

We are well
aware that these techniques are ineffective as well as immoral. There is
extensive evidence that abused detainees are likely to say anything, true or
false, to make the pain stop, leading to faulty intelligence. Furthermore, use
of torture and other coercive techniques alienates our allies, strengthens the
commitment of our enemies, and puts our own captured soldiers at risk.

Earlier
this year Mr. Brennan argued in a National Journal interview that a new
administration will have great continuity with the Bush-Cheney administration in
its intelligence policies:

Even though
people may criticize what has happened during the two Bush administrations,
there has been a fair amount of continuity. A new administration, be it
Republican or Democrat -- you're going to have a fairly significant change of
people involved at the senior-most levels. And I would argue for continuity in
those early stages. You don't want to whipsaw the [intelligence] community. You
don't want to presume knowledge about how things fit together and why things are
being done the way they are being done. And you have to understand the
implication, then, of making any major changes or redirecting things. I'm hoping
there will be a number of professionals coming in who have an understanding of
the evolution of the capabilities in the community over the past six years,
because there is a method to how things have changed and
adapted.

In order to
restore American credibility and the rule of law, our country needs a clear and
decisive repudiation of the "dark side" at this crucial turning point in our
history. We need officials to clearly and without ambivalence assert the rule of
law. Mr. Brennan is not an appropriate choice to lead us in this direction. The
country cannot afford to have him as director of our most important intelligence
agencies.

As
psychologists and other concerned Americans, we ask you to reject Mr. Brennan as
Director of the CIA. His appointment would dishearten and alienate those who
opposed torture under the Bush administration. We ask you to appoint a Director
who will truly represent "the change we need."

We eagerly
await your administration and the new spirit it represents.

Best wishes
for a successful administration,

 

Sincerely,

Affiliations for identification purposes
only
 
*

 

Stephen
Soldz, Ph.D., Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis & Coalition
for an Ethical Psychology

Lorri
Greene, Ph.D., Psychologist, San
Diego, CA

Frank
Summers, Ph.D., ABPP, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
Northwestern University Medical School

Ruth
Fallenbaum, Ph.D., Berkeley,
CA

Neil
Altman, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis,
New York
University

Dan Aalbers

Martha
Davis, Ph.D., John
Jay College of Criminal Justice,
NYC

Robert
Parker, Ph.D., Member American Psychological Association since
1985
Member Washington State Psychological Association since
1991

Jancis
Long, Ph.D., President, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Member, APA
Division 39 Section 9 Psychoanalysts for Social Responsibility, Berkeley, CA 

Jean Maria
Arrigo, Ph.D., Project on Ethics and Art in
Testimony

Steven
Reisner, Ph.D., NYU Medical
School & Coalition for
an Ethical Psychology

Brad Olson,
Ph.D., Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Ellen G.
Levine, Ph.D., M.P.H., San Francisco
State University, Hayward, CA

David
Sloan-Rossiter, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis & Boston
Institute of Psychotherapy

David
Ramirez, Ph.D., Swarthmore College

John M.
Stewart, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Northland College, Washburn, WI

Susan
Herman, Ph.D., ABPP, New
York University Postdoctoral Program, Little
Falls, NJ

Susan
Phipps-Yonas, Ph.D., L.P., Minneapolis, MN

Coalition
for an Ethical Psychology

Muriel Dimen, Ph.D., NYU Postdoctoral Program in
Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

Joe
Gorin, Ph.D., Washington,
DC

Leigh
Messinides, Ph.D., Long
Beach, CA

Alice
Lowe Shaw, Ph.D., San
Francisco, CA

Laura
L. Doty, Ph.D., Santa Rosa,
CA

Susan
Rosbrow-Reich, Ph.D., Psychoanalyst and Psychologist, Faculty
Psychoanalytic Institute of
New England East, Mass Institute
for Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Couple and Family Institute of New England, and Member, Coalition for an Ethical
Psychology

Judie
Alpert, Ph.D., Faculty and Supervisor, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy
and Psychoanalysis, and Professor of Applied
Psychology
Department of Applied Psychology, New York University

Donnel B.
Stern, Ph.D., William Alanson White Institute

Johanna
Tiemann, Ph.D., NYU Postdoctoral Program

Julie
Gerhardt, Ph.D., Palo Alto,
CA

Ronna
Friend, M.A., Eugene,
OR

Susan
Reese, Ph.D., Arizona Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, Tucson, AZ

Larry
Welkowitz, Ph.D., Prof. of Psychology, Keene
State College, Keene,
NH

James
Hopper, Ph.D., Arlington,
MA

Philip V. Hull, Ph.D., Psychologist (HI, CA,
New Zealand), Faleola Pacific Island Mental Health Services, Otahuhu, Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Nancy
Hollander, Ph.D., Psychologist & Professor Emeritus of
Latin
American
history at
California
State University

John P.
Neafsey, Psy.D., Chicago,
IL

Ronnie C.
Lesser, Ph.D., Dartmouth Medical
College, Hanover,
NH

Stephen
Sideroff, Ph.D.

Kathleen Malley-Morrison, Ed.D., Boston University, Boston, MA

Irwin Z.
Hoffman, Ph.D., Lecturer in Psychiatry, University of Illinois College of
Medicine, Chicago, IL    

David G.
Byrom, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Co-Director, Family Therapy Institute of
Suffolk, Smithtown, NY

Claudia
Luiz, M.Ed., Cert. Psya.

Milton
Strauss, Research Psychologist, Corrales, NM

David
DeBatto, Author/Speaker, U.S.
Army Counterintelligence Special Agent (ret.), Tampa, FL

Katie
Gentile, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Counseling and Gender Studies, Women's
Center Director, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York,
NY

Laurel Bass Wagner, Ph.D.,
Dallas, TX

Abram
Trosky, B.A., MALA., Ph.D. candidate, Boston University, Presidential Teaching Fellow,
Political Science Department, Boston, MA

Cynthia Colvin, Ph.D., Oakland, CA

Kathy
French, Ed.D., Professor, Behavior Science Department; Coordinator, UVU Martin
Luther King, Jr. Commemoration; Utah Valley
University

Stefan R.
Zicht, Psy.D., Co-Director, Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis and
President, NY State Psychological Assn Division of
Psychoanalysis

Thomas Rosbrow, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., San Francisco, CA

Norbert A. Wetzel, Th.D., Licensed Psychologist and
Marriage and Family Therapist, Director, Princeton Family Institute, and
Director of Training, Center for Family, Community, and Social Justice, Inc.,
Princeton, NJ

Rachael Peltz Ph.D., Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern
California, Berkeley, CA

Lawrence O. Brown, Ph.D.,
Fellow, Teaching Faculty and Supervisor of Psychotherapy, William Alanson White
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology, New York, NY

Drew
Tillotson, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist, San Francisco, CA 

Lynn
Perlman, Ph.D., Newton,
MA

Luisa
M. Saffiotti, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Chevy Chase, MD

Barbara Eisold, Ph.D., New York, NY

Sharon
Gadberry, Ph.D., San
Francisco, CA

Anne
M. Downes, Ph.D., Hampshire
College, Amherst, MA

Arthur J.
Eccleston, Psy.D., Chapel
Hill, NC 

Mark S. Kane, Ph.D., Big Rapids,
MI

Cornelia St. John, M.A., MFT, Psychoanalytic
Institute of Northern California, Oakland, CA

Kristi Schermerhorn, Ph.D., Redmond, WA

Amal
Sedky Winter, Ph.D., American
University in Cairo

Sarah R.
Kamens, M.A., European Graduate
School, New York,
NY

Sonia
Orenstein, Ph.D., New York,
NY 

Samantha Hoyt, Boston, MA

Melanie
Suchet, Ph.D., Executive Editor, Psychoanalytic
Dialogues

Dr.
Trudy Bond, Private Practice, Toledo, OH

Mary
Pelton-Cooper, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist, Associate Professor, Northern Michigan
University

Peter Gumpert,
Ph.D., Brookline, MA

Michael O'Loughlin, Ph.D., Adelphi University, NY

Thomas S. Greenspon,
Ph.D., LP, LMFT, Minneapolis, MN

Rivkah
Lapidus, Ph.D., Somerville,
MA

Lynne
Layton, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, Brookline, MA

Patricia Sherman, Ph.D., LCSW, Long Valley, NJ

Elizabeth
Hegeman, Ph.D., John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, and William Alanson
White Institute, New York, NY

Kathleen H.
Dockett, Ed.D., Psychologists for Social
Responsibility

Herb
Gingold, Ph.D., Psychologist, New
York, NY

Wes
Alwan, Somerville,
MA

Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., Past President (2007-2008),
Psychologists for Social Responsibility (Washington, DC),
Alpharetta, GA

Leila F.
Dane, Ph.D., Executive Director, Institute for Victims of Trauma,
McLean, VA

Elaine
Gould, Ph.D., Member, APA

Marc
Pilisuk, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, The University of California and Professor,
Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, Berkeley,
CA

Dori Smith,
Producer, Talk Nation Radio in CT

Ann
D'Ercole, Ph.D., ABPP, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and
Psychoanalysis

Andrea
Cousins, Ph.D., Psy.D., Pioneer Valley Coalition Against Secrecy & Torture,
Western Massachusetts & Albany Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology
(Local Chapter, Division 39, APA)

Carolyn
Hicks, Ed.D.

Frank
Marotta, Ph.D.

Thomas
Greening, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Saybrook Graduate School and Clinical Professor, UCLA,
Private Practice

Barbara
Pearson, Ph.D., Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and
Psychotherapy

Barbara C.
Greenspon, M.A., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Minneapolis, MN 

Virginia S.
Elliott, Cert. PsyA, Brighton MA 

Milton Schwebel, Ph.D., Rutgers University

David
Lotto, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Pittsfield, MA

Colleen
Cordes, Executive Director, Psychologists for Social
Responsibility

Martha A.
Nathan, M.D., Baystate Brightwood Medical Center, Springfield, MA

Nina K.
Thomas, Ph.D., ABPP, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and
Psychoanalysis

Stuart A. Pizer, Ph.D., ABPP, Cambridge, MA

M.
Brinton Lykes, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Associate Director, Center for
Human Rights & International Justice, Boston College

Gemma
Marangoni Ainslie, Ph.D., ABPP, Austin, TX

Elaine Gifford, LICSW, Sudbury MA

Virginia
Goldner, Ph.D., Adjunct Clinical Professor, Faculty of Arts and Sciences,  New York University, New York,
NY

Lisa
Sutton, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Training, Boston Institute for
Psychotherapy, Brookline,
MA

Polly
Scarvalone, Ph.D., New York,
NY

Jay
Frankel, Ph.D., Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, New York University

Sue A Shapiro, Ph.D., NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis,
New York,
NY

Caryn
Gorden, Psy.D., New York, NY

Nancy
Atlas, Ph.D., New York,
NY

Helaine
Gold, Ph.D.

Bruce
Berman, Ph.D., New York,
NY 

Andrea
Remez, Ph.D., New York,
NY

Steven Botticelli, Ph.D., New York, NY

Adrienne E Harris, Ph.D., New York, NY

Lisa Lyons,
Ph.D., Teaneck, NJ

Susan
Parlow, Ph.D., New York,
NY

Jill
Salberg, Ph.D., New York University
Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York, NY

Mary
Pike, B.A. Art Institute, ESL Resource Room Supervisor for Highland Park High
School, Highland
Park, IL

Zeese
Papanikolas, M.A., Retired Professor of
Humanities

Stephanie Noland, Ph.D., New York, NY

Helaine Gold, Ph.D., NYU Postdoctoral Program in
Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis New York, NY

Steven
Cooper, Ph.D., Joint Chief Editor, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Cambridge, MA

Laurel E.
Phoenix, Ph.D., Public and Environmental Affairs, UWGB, Green Bay, WI

Elizabeth Kandall, Ph.D., New York, NY

Anita
R. Herron, Ph.D., New York University
Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York, NY

Lynne
Kwalwasser, Ph.D., Supervisor, NYU Postdoctoral Program, New York, NY

Lynn
Leibowitz, Ph.D., New York,
NY

Latika Mangrulkar, MSW, ACSW, Steering Committee,
Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Santa Rosa, CA

Mary
Libbey, Ph.D., New York,
NY

Andrew
Tatarsky, Ph.D., Founding Executive board member, Division on Addiction and
Co-directer, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy and Training Associates 

Roanne Barnett, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, New York, NY

Margaret
White, Ph.D., Upper
Montclair, NJ

Candy
Siegel, Ph.D., Tucson,
AZ

Zeborah Schachtel, Ph.D., NYU Postdoctoral Program in
Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, New
York, NY

Elizabeth Wolfe, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist,
Westport, CT

Judith
Merbaum, Ph.D., Great Neck, NY

Amy
Schwartz, Ph.D., NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy,
New York, NY

Cathy
S Nelson, MSW, LISW, Ames,
IA

Martin
Devine, Psy.D., New York
University

Amy Schaffer, Ph.D., New York, NY

Nancy Caro
Hollander, Ph.D., Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic
Studies

Michèle
Bartnett

Kate
Dunn, Psy. D., Brooklyn,
NY

Nancy
Freeman-Carroll, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist-Psychoanalyst, William Alanson
White Institute, NYSPA, APA, New
York, NY

A. Raja
Hornstein, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist, San Rafael, CA

Catherine M. Rossiter, LMT, Sayre, PA

Meg
Sandow, Psy.D., CA

David
Lichtenstein, Ph.D., New
York, NY

Richard
Reichbart, Ph.D., Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research
(IPTAR)

Ann Marie
Truppi, Ph.D.

Evelyn Pye,
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, American Psychological
Association

Carol
Wachs, Psy.D., New York, NY

Katharine
G. Baker, Ph.D., Northampton, MA

Judith G. Pott, Ph.D., New York, NY

Glenys Lobban, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, New York, NY

Lisa
Fliegel, ATR-BC, LMHC, Boston Institute for Psychotherapy School-based
program

Helen
Brackett, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, New York, NY

Dara Lyn
Petersen, Psychology Student, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 

Christine Girard, Ph.D., New York, NY

Andrew Phelps, Ph.D. (mathematics), San Jose City College

Jane
Brodwyn, Psy.D., Northampton, MA

Jeanne
Wolff Bernstein, Ph.D., PINC

Stephen Benson, Ph.D., Blue Hill, ME 

Kirsten Lentz, Ph.D., Candidate, NYU Postdoctoral Program
in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York, NY

Francia
White, Doctoral Candidate, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, and Center for
Modern Psychoanalytic Studies

Neville D. Frankel, Newton, MA

Arthur J. Lebow, Ph.D., St. Paul, MN

Luise
Eichenbaum, LCSW, The Women's Therapy Centre
Institute

William Auerbach, Ph.D.,
Psychologist

Ken
Corbett, Ph.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, The New York University Program in Psychotherapy and
Psychoanalysis

Carol
Smaldino, LCSW, Port
Washington, NY 

Angelo Smaldino, LCSW, Senior Member of National
Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, Port Washington, NY

Susan
Gutwill, MS, LCSW

Brigitte
Ladisch, Ph.D.

Connie Evert, Ph.D., Philadelphia, PA

Diane
Perlman, Ph.D., Co-Chair, Psychologists for Social Responsibility Initiative on
Global Violence, Terrorism and Nuclear Disarmament, Transcend and Abolition,
2000

Quotation
Sources:

60 Minutes (November 16, 2003). Obama On Economic Crisis, Transition.
Downloaded November 23, 2008 from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/16/60minutes/printable4607893.shtml

 

Frontline. (March 8, 2006). The Dark Side. Downloaded
November 23, 2008 from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/darkside/interviews/brennan.html

 

National Journal (March 7, 2008). Q&A with John
Brennan: The Counterterror Campaign. Downloaded November 23, 2008 from
http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/080307nj1.htm

 

 

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