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April 30, 2015
APA Public and Member Communications
Statement from APA in response to April 30, 2015 New York Times article
Members have contacted the APA Central Office expressing concerns about this morning’s New York Times article which recirculated allegations about APA support for the CIA’s torture program. We understand those concerns. APA senior governance and staff take the allegations of support for torture and the public misunderstanding they have created very seriously.
When James Risen first made his allegations last October we released a statement refuting them (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/11/risen-allegations.aspx). However, due to the seriousness of the allegations we believed that they required an independent and definitive review. As you know, outside attorney David Hoffman of the law firm Sidley Austin was asked to conduct such a review. Mr. Hoffman has broad experience in conducting independent reviews and an unchallenged reputation for independence and integrity. His work on the review is ongoing.
Mr. Hoffman’s review is fully independent and it is important that it be perceived as such by the public. Toward that end, and while the review is on-going, APA is not making any comment on the merit of the allegations. Mr. Hoffman has full and unfettered access to the people and documents he deems necessary for the review – to the extent APA can control such access. His report will determine the facts. While we are hopeful that the report will clear APA’s name (especially since the allegations are so antithetical to psychology’s mission and APA’s actual work) we believe that it is important that Mr. Hoffman be given as much time as he needs to do a thorough review. Regardless of the outcome, we believe the independent review is critical to the Association being able to move forward.
We tentatively expect the review to be completed later this spring or early this summer but the final completion schedule will be determined by Mr. Hoffman. Once it is completed and the report received and reviewed by the APA Board of Directors (with input from the APA Council of Representatives) it will be made public, in its entirety, along with any initial responsive actions that APA determines are needed. The Council will also have a second opportunity to review the report and take additional actions during its August meeting.
When the report is released, we will undertake a proactive communications program to inform members and the general public of the report findings. That outreach will include contact with national and international media, social media outreach and a same-day communications to all APA members.
In terms of what APA has done today, we have shared a response statement with media and have also posted a response to Facebook and Twitter. More information is also available on the APA website. If you are interested in a full chronology of APA’s action and policies concerning national security interrogations see: