Earlier, I give a number of examples about skepticism regarding past reportedly independent investigations in the realms of politics and other high-profile organizations. Recently, I’ve come across more relevant examples:
- In the recent FIFA scandal, reports have stated that there had been an independent investigation about allegations of corruption. The organization stated that the investigation cleared them of wrongdoing, but did not publicize the entire report. The investigator stated that the organization’s statement did not correctly characterize the full findings.
- The attorney originally appointed as a special prosecutor in the Nixon Watergate matter, Archibald Cox, was not identified or labeled as “independent,” but he certainly should have approached it as an unbiased authority. He was appointed by Nixon’s Atty. Gen., Elliot Richardson, who was, of course, a Republican. However, Mr. Cox had a background in the Kennedy and Johnson Democratic administrations, and had a prior reputation as vigorously anti-Nixon. It has been reported that, behind-the-scenes, the Democratic Congress indicated to Richardson that they would approve his appointment as Atty. Gen. only if he promised to appoint Cox as a special prosecutor.
- The second special prosecutor in the Watergate matter, Leon Jaworski, in a behind the scenes maneuver, reportedly blocked a Watergate grand jury from indicting Nixon by refusing to sign the indictment. He reportedly believed it would be bad for the country for Nixon to be indicted on a criminal charge.
The relevance of these examples, and ones I described earlier, is that all show the lack of transparency in those investigations contributed to profound skepticism about the integrity of the investigations. Therefore, as I asserted before, APA and the investigator, David Hoffman, need to make public Mr. Hoffman’s record of past investigations, including their contents, processes, findings, and information about payments.
Similarly, we need to know all information about with whom Mr. Hoffman is talking within APA and the contents of those discussions. We need to know about past and ongoing deliberations and discussions within APA about the “enhanced interrogations” matter.
A number of highly respected people have resigned from APA. Recently, Milton Strauss, a 50-year member who had been editor both of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Psychological Assessment, resigned over this issue. For more detail, go to: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dangerous-ideas/201506/where-have-all-the-members-gone
A number of years ago, Ken Pope resigned. For more detail go to: http://kspope.com/interrogation/home.php
However, it may just make it easier for APA when people who are critical of the organization’s functioning just resign. I think it’s better to stay and fight.
In brief, carrying out the steps I describe above is perhaps the best way to support the integrity of APA. Otherwise, there is a great risk that there will be tremendous skepticism about the eventually reported findings of the investigation, and APA will unfortunately be viewed as an organization that includes elements of corruption and too little integrity.
Years ago, the American Psychiatric Association reportedly decided to discontinue all Association with the “enhanced interrogations” matter. In comparison, the APA will look especially bad if the investigation is carried out with questionable integrity
The APA should not be involved in activity that harms people – even APA ethics state that psychologist could do no harm.