The Hoffman Report (APA "Independent Review")
For the last decade, the American Psychological Association (APA) has been discussing and promulgating policies related to the work of psychologists engaged in national security activities, particularly those providing support for the interrogation of detainees. The first of those policies, issued as the Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) Report in 2005, provided guidance to psychologists in order to help assure safe, legal, ethical and effective interrogation of detainees. Despite the work of the PENS Task Force (which developed the report), the involvement of psychologists in interrogation activities has remained controversial. Literally from the moment the PENS report was issued, critics who felt that psychologists should not participate in interrogation or other national security related activities began to attack the report and the guidance it provided. Some critics alleged that the work done by the original PENS Task Force represented an inappropriate quid pro quo relationship between the APA and the Bush Administration’s Department of Defense. Initially, the APA leadership strongly denied this allegation and defended the PENS Report and its recommendations to psychologists working in the field. Eventually, however, the APA yielded to the pressure of outside critics and commissioned a post-hoc review of the work of the PENS Task Force and subsequent actions undertaken by APA staff and governance related to the policies that flowed from it. David Hoffman, a lawyer from the Chicago law firm of Sidley and Austin, was hired to conduct the review. As a result of the Hoffman report, the APA Council of Representatives, in August 2015, enacted a policy to prohibit APA member psychologists from practicing in certain interrogation related settings. Although the impact of this report and policy on psychologists who work in areas where interrogations are conducted remains unclear, there are those who believe that not only will the applied work of psychologists in interrogation related settings be negatively affected, but practice in more general applied areas such as police psychology, forensic psychology, operational psychology and even organizational psychology are now threatened as well. Posted on this website are the Hoffman Report, several documents related to it, and materials raising questions and concerns about the review process undertaken by APA which led to the Hoffman report, as well as concerns about how the APA’s “special committee” handled the report and its aftermath.
Psychological Ethics & National Security (PENS) Report
Essays & Commentaries Related to the Hoffman Report (APA "Independent Review")
Report of the APA Independent Review
News & Media Links
APA-Authored Documents Related to the APA Independent Review
NOTE: PsychCoalition believes it is important for its readers to be well-informed and understand all aspects and perspectives of an issue. The purpose of this website is to provide information and perspectives that APA refuses to acknowledge or consider prior to making important decisions that are adversely impacting both members and non-members of APA, their customers, organizations, communities, and our nation. The following links and documents which are authored, funded, sponsored or endorsed by APA are provided here for background and historical context. They are NOT endorsed by PsychCoalition.
The APA Board of Directors engaged attorney David Hoffman of the law firm Sidley Austin in November 2014 to conduct an independent review of whether there was any factual support for the assertion that APA engaged in activity that would constitute collusion with the Bush administration to promote, support or facilitate the use of "enhanced" interrogation techniques by the United States in the war on terror. Below are links to the complete, unedited independent review and supplemental materials, press releases related to the report and documentation of action taken in response to the report by APA's Board of Directors, Council of Representatives and leadership.
Independent Review Report & Supplemental Materials
Actions by APA Board of Directors, Council of Representatives and Leadership
APA Press Releases
Other APA Topics
APA Presidential Election
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