Dr. Leso co-authored, implemented, and monitored abusive interrogation techniques at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. His techniques incorporated illegal methods of torture which the Chinese and North Korean governments had used against U.S. prisoners of war.
New York Psychologist, U.S. Army Officer
John Francis Leso graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1988. While at Johns Hopkins, he entered ROTC and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant from that program. Dr. Leso received a Ph.D. in psychology from SUNY Albany in 1995. He completed his doctoral training with a residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.
Dr. Leso entered the military after completing his doctoral training and was subsequently promoted to the rank of major. He was then assigned to the Department of Psychology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. where he served as chief of the clinical psychology service. In anticipation of his tour at Guantánamo, Dr. Leso was promoted to director of training for the Department of Psychology at Walter Reed in June 2002, a position he would fill upon his return.
A Program of Torture at Guantánamo
Dr. Leso led the first Behavioral Science Consultation Team (BSCT) at the United States Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (Guantánamo) from June 2002 to January 2003. While at Guantánamo, Dr. Leso co-authored an interrogation policy memorandum that incorporated illegal techniques adapted from methods used by the Chinese and North Korean governments against U.S. prisoners of war. He recommended a series of increasingly psychologically and physically abusive interrogation techniques to be applied against detainees held by the United States. Many of the techniques and conditions that Dr. Leso helped put in place were applied to suspected al-Qaeda member Mohammed al Qahtani under Dr. Leso’s direct supervision, as well as to other men and boys held at Guantánamo. Eventually, similar techniques were also used on prisoners held in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dr. John Francis Leso is a licensed psychologist practicing under the authority of the State of New York, License number 013492. Issued in 1998, his license is valid through the last day of July 2012. He is also a member of the American Psychological Association.
To date, Dr. Leso has not been reprimanded for his conduct at Guantánamo by the military, the American Psychological Association, or the state of New York.