In his first televised interview since a non-disclosure agreement was loosened, Dr. James Mitchell, an Air Force psychologist who was an integral part of the controversial CIA enhanced interrogation program, lashed out at the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Monday’s Kelly File. Mitchell, who gave very specific details about the interrogations of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah, who was at the time a suspect in the attacks, told Kelly that he’s angry about the report and feels that the disclosure of his identity has put him in danger. Mitchell said, “They had a foregone conclusion.” He believes the CIA put his life and the lives of other CIA officials and their families in danger. “For some sort of moral high ground?” he asked.
He said the CIA report has accused him and fellow interrogators of “some horrible things” but they can’t be prosecuted because what they did was legal at the time. “They didn’t give us the chance to explain anything. They didn’t bother talking to the people at the CIA or the people who were no longer at the CIA who were involved, like the past directors.” He said the report has stirred up “all of the crazies and all the jihadists and so now we’re getting death threats and we’re getting all kinds of things. ”
“I do not mind giving my life for my country, but I do mind giving my life for a food fight for political reasons between two groups of people who should be able to work it out like adults,” Mitchell told Kelly when asked if his life was in danger.
“No one from the Senate committee has ever asked me a single thing. If they think I’ve abused somebody they should ask me about it. They should point at the piece of the paper, let me review the documents, and let me at least try to explain my…ourselves. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has the opportunity to address the charges against him but I don’t,” Mitchell complained.
Mitchell said he is proud of the work the interrogators did. “We saved lives. I don’t care what the Senate said. The presidents, the past three CIA directors — I got an award for the work that we did. They told us we did a good job. They told us we saved lives. And I believe that we did.”
But then the Senate report was released and Mitchell said he had no opportunity to defend himself. “And I feel horrible for the nation. I feel horrible, in part, because this puts everyone at risk, and worse yet, it shows al Qaeda and the al Qaeda 2.0 folks — ISIL — that we’re divided and that we’re easy targets. That we don’t have the will to defeat them. Because that’s what they know.”
“Well I don’t feel that I’ve been abandoned by the CIA,” Mitchell said. “They didn’t throw me under the bus.” He said the majority of people he talks to support what was done and thank him for it.
“It’s just for me — you can probably tell that I’m a little agitated about this,” Mitchell told Kelly, “I don’t want to die because the Democrats in the Senate don’t have the courtesy to ask the CIA to explain what they view as abuses that occurred when there’s other evidence — 6 million documents — and they cherry-picked what makes their point out of it and it puts us in danger.
Watch more of the interview on the next page: