James Risen and the Hoffman Report indicate my relationship with the CIA involved two issues:
1) That I was involved in torture.
2) That I provided merely my own opinion that sleep deprivation did not constitute torture.
My responses follow:
Issue 1: My university and APA already had responded to this same torture issue when it first arose in a Spokane newspaper in 2009. Two weeks ago, Jeff Manning a reporter for our local newspaper, The Oregonian, published an article reviving these issues. Only the next day, did he ask my university for a response. The following is the July 13, 2015 Oregon Health & Science University and Matarazzo response to his article which he did not publish. Matarazzo statement “During my five-year term on the Knowledge Works board and in my association with Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, I had no knowledge of anyone involved with — or any activities that involved — enhanced interrogation or torture of prisoners or anyone else.” – Joseph Matarazzo, Ph.D., professor emeritus of behavioral neuroscience and past chair of the Department of Medical Psychology (now the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience) at Oregon Health & Science University.
Background: Matarazzo served from 2004 to 2008 as a board member for Knowledge Works, a company that provided continuing education for psychologists who served overseas for the United States military and which was started by Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. Matarazzo attended three to four one-hour board meetings a year and had a 1 percent stake in the continuing education company, which he relinquished when he left the board and the company in 2008. He had no involvement with, and did not have the security clearance required to attend, the board meetings of Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, which took place immediately following the Knowledge Works board meetings. The CIA affirms Matarazzo’s assertions that he has not been involved in developing CIA torture techniques. He “has no connection to the detention and interrogation program,” according to CIA spokesperson Ryan Trapani, as reported in The Oregonian December 16, 2014. In 2002, Matarazzo was asked to respond to a CIA questionnaire about sensory deprivation. Matarazzo consulted with five experts in sensory deprivation who unanimously agreed that sleep deprivation did not constitute torture. He completed and returned the questionnaire based on that input. OHSU statement on torture “OHSU supports and adheres to the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association position statements forbidding participation in torture or interrogation.” I fully agree with these two statements on torture. Upon receipt of the above three-part statement, Mr. Manning asked four follow up questions.
Those questions and the response from Oregon Health and Science University follow: Answers to your questions
1. What is the exact nature of his professional relationship with OHSU at this point? Dr. Matarazzo is a professor emeritus of behavioral neuroscience at OHSU. Emeritus is an honorary title for a retired faculty member that recognizes distinguished past service to the institution. Dr. Matarazzo retired from OHSU in 2007.
2. I got a call that he’s ombudsman of the med school. Is that true? What does that role entail? Dr. Matarazzo is not an OHSU ombudsman in any official capacity.
3. Is he getting paid by OHSU? For what? How much? Dr. Matarazzo does not receive a salary or any pay from OHSU.
4. Given the APA report and its findings about Matarazzo, is OHSU looking at changing its relationship with Matarazzo? Dr. Matarazzo will continue to hold the honorary title of professor emeritus. Mr. Manning did not publish these responses to his article and follow up questions.
Issue 2: Now to my proffered opinion that sleep deprivation does not constitute torture. In 2002 I was sent a 13-item questionnaire from Kirk Hubbard at the CIA asking whether sleep deprivation constituted torture. Not believing I was qualified to answer it alone, I sent the questionnaire to five psychologists in the United States and Canada who were experts in this field. All 6 of us were in agreement that sleep deprivation was not torture, although it sometimes produces temporary confusion. Unfortunately, I could not find the original copies of those responses during Mr. Hoffman’s interview, but did find them several days ago and provided them to my university for its response quoted above.
Now as to my relationship with the Mitchell Jessen & Associates Company Hoffman reports that “In hindsight Matarazzo believes Mitchell Jessen & Associates established Knowledge Works as a facade of legitimacy for their interrogation-related activities” (page 180). What I remember saying is that I had, one week earlier, surmised from my first reading of the 3 years of APA CE applications that Knowledge Works and Mitchell Jessen & Associates had changed from a paper and pencil CE company for the education and training of psychologists serving overseas, to a CIA or DOD company providing 6 weeks of intense military education and training to successive, large groups of men recruited for service in the Middle East wars. In fact, throughout the Hoffman report, there are recurring statements from Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, as well as Kirk Hubbard, that “Matarazzo’s role in the company was highly limited and solely related to the continuing education portion of the company” (page 50). This statement could not be clearer.