James Elmer Mitchell (born 1952) is an American psychologist and former member of the United States Air Force. From 2002, after his retirement from the military, to 2009, his company Mitchell Jessen and Associates received $81 million on contract from the CIA to carry out the torture of detainees, referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques" that resulted in little credible information.
Mitchell joined the Air Force in 1975 and was first stationed in Alaska, learning to disarm unexploded ordnance. He was also a hostage negotiator at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
He left the military in the early 1980s to earn a master's degree in psychology at the University of Alaska. He then received a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of South Florida in 1986. His dissertation compared diet and exercise in controlling hypertension.
Mitchell returned to the Air Force and in 1988 became the chief of psychology at the Air F