A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against two psychologists who designed the CIA's harsh interrogation methods for the war on terror.

U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush in Spokane on Friday declined a request by James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen to dismiss the federal court lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the psychologists on behalf of Gul Rahman, who died in custody, and Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud. They claim they were tortured in CIA prisons.

The lawsuit says interrogation methods such as waterboarding were developed by a Spokane, Washington, company owned by the two defendants that contracted with the CIA.

Quackenbush rejected arguments that Mitchell and Jessen acted as agents of the federal government, making them immune from lawsuits.