A Brief History of the American Psychological Association's Ethics Code,
Standard 1.02
In August 2002, the American Psychological Association (APA) voted to update its Ethics Code for the first time in
over a decade.  Among the changes made to the Code was one that would prove to be of grave significance to the
APA itself as well as to the profession of psychology in the U.S.  This change was to "Standard 1.02," which
governs the resolution of conflicts between the Ethics Code and the law.  In order to understand the full story of this
change, why it was made, why it was so significant, and where this leaves the APA and U.S. psychology, let's first
look at the relevant statements from the
1992 and 2003 versions of the Code.  After this examination, I will present,
in chronological fashion, more articles, documents, and letters that further unravel the story...

First, it may be helpful to readers to know that the APA's Ethics Code includes two overall sections.  The first is
termed
"aspirational," and includes general principles that are meant to underly and to guide psychologists' conduct.  
These principles are deemed "unenforceable" by the Ethics Committee, which means that psychologists cannot face
charges for violating them.  Rather, they are meant to provide general direction for psychologists in their work, and
for the public in the consumption of psychological services.  The second section of the Code includes the
"Ethical
Standards," and in contrast to the aspirational section, is enforceable.  These Standards are enforced by the Ethics
Committee, and individual psychologists can have ethical complaints filed against them for violating these Standards.  
The Standards are meant to spell out a minimum acceptable ethical standard for behavior and conduct by
psychologists.  Below are the relevant portions of the "aspirational" and "enforceable" sections of each Code.  
Portions of the text are placed in boldface, in order to help the reader identify differences between versions.
1992 "Aspirational"
In the process of making decisions regarding their professional behavior, psychologists must consider this Ethics
Code, in addition to applicable laws and psychology board regulations. If the Ethics Code establishes a higher
standard of conduct than is required by law, psychologists must meet the higher ethical standard. If the Ethics Code
standard appears to conflict with the requirements of law, then psychologists make known their commitment to the
Ethics Code and take steps to resolve the conflict in a responsible manner. If neither law nor the Ethics Code
resolves an issue, psychologists should consider other professional materials and the dictates of their own
conscience, as well as seek consultation with others within the field when this is practical.

2003 "Aspirational"
In the process of making decisions regarding their professional behavior, psychologists must consider this Ethics
Code in addition to applicable laws and psychology board regulations.
In applying the Ethics Code to their
professional work, psychologists may consider other materials and guidelines that have been adopted or
endorsed by scientific and professional psychological organizations
and the dictates of their own conscience, as
well as consult with others within the field. If this Ethics Code establishes a higher standard of conduct than is
required by law, psychologists must meet the higher ethical standard. If psychologists' ethical responsibilities conflict
with law,
regulations, or other governing legal authority, psychologists make known their commitment to this
Ethics Code and take steps to resolve the conflict in a responsible manner.
If the conflict is unresolvable via such
means, psychologists may adhere to the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing authority
in keeping with basic principles of human rights.

1992 "Enforceable"
1.02 Relationship of Ethics and Law.

If psychologists' ethical responsibilities conflict with law, psychologists make known their commitment to the Ethics
Code and take steps to resolve the conflict
in a responsible manner.

2003 "Enforceable"
1.02 Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority

If psychologists' ethical responsibilities conflict with law,
regulations, or other governing legal authority,
psychologists make known their commitment to the Ethics Code and take steps to resolve the conflict.
If the
conflict is unresolvable via such means, psychologists may adhere to the requirements of the law,
regulations, or other governing legal authority.
2002

August:      Ethics Committee issues APA's revised Ethics Code.

2003

March 20:  Iraq War begins
June 1:      APA's new Ethics Code goes into effect.
July 17:     APA, with CIA and RAND, holds
Science of Deception Workshop.  Mitchell & Jessen attend.

2004

2005

Jan. 6:     Bloche & Marks write "When Doctors Go To War" in NEJM.
Feb:        APA Establishes its
Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS Task Force)
June:       
PENS Task Force Convenes June 24-26.
July:       APA's Board of Directors adopts PENS Task Force Report as APA Policy
July 5:     
PENS Task Force Report released.
July 7:     Bloche & Marks write
"Doctors and Interrogators at Guantanamo Bay" in NEJM.
Aug:        Michael Wilks, in
The Lancet piece "A Stain on Medical Ethics" calls PENS Report "a disgrace."
Aug. 6:    
APA responds to Micahel Wilks' article in The Lancet
Aug:        APA Council of Representatives (CoR) directs the Ethics Committee (EC) to review the discrepancy
             between the enforceable and the aspirational sections' language regarding conflicts between law
             and ethics, and to make necessary recommendations.

2006

Apr. 4:    APA Monitor publishes PENS Task Force Chair's remarks from Feb '06 CoR meeting
July:       APA Ethics Chair, Steve Behnke, writing in the
APA Monitor, compares stances of American
           Medical, Psychological, and Psychiatric Associations on members' participation in interrogations

2007

Aug. 19:   APA issues resolution "Reaffirmation of the APA Position Against Torture."

2008

Jan. 27:    Jeff Kaye resigns from APA, writes to Pres. Kazdin: "Why Torture Made Me Leave the APA"
Feb. 6:     Ken Pope, former Chair of APA Ethics Committee, sends his letter of resignation to APA
June 25:   Nordic Committee of Psychological Associations issues a letter to the APA
July 1:      Pope & Gutheil: "The APA and Detainee Interrogations: Unanswered Questions" in Psychiatric Times
Aug:        CoR introduces "New Business Item" re: modifying 1.02, and
again requests EC guidance (see Aug. '05)
Aug:        EC creates website:
http://www.apa.org/ethics/standard-102/
Sept. 1:    Behnke responds to Pope & Gutheil: "Detainee Interrogations: APA Counters, but Questions Remain"

2009

March 7:   PEAPA Submits "Memorandum on Revision of Ethics Code 1.02" to APA Ethics Committee
May/June: Pope and Gutheil publish article
"Psychologists Abandon Nuremberg Ethic"
June 22:    APA Board of Directors issues "An Open Letter from the Board of Directors" to APA members
July:         Frank Summers writes
"Open Letter to Council of Representatives and Ethics Committee" on 1.02
July 17:    Mary Pelton-Cooper writes
letter to APA Pres. Bray criticizing EC's failure to act on 1.02
July 20:    Scott Horton writes piece
"The APA's Nuremberg Defense" for Harper's Magazine
July 26:    Stephen Soldz writes piece
"Will APA Renounce Nuremberg?"
Aug. 4:    Capt. Lawrence Rockwood writes to APA Pres. Bray regarding 1.02 on behalf of military officers
Timeline