The Informed Interrogation Approach

(Ex:FBI Agent- Waterboarding Produced No Actionable Intel. 13 May 2009. Youtube. Web. 3 Dec 2013.)

In a meeting with a Judiciary Subcommittee in regards to the Bush Administration Detainee Interrogations, former FBI Supervisory Ali Soufan denounces enhanced interrogation techniques.  He has been involved with many top government investigations, including the events after 9/11.  He and an interrogation team obtained detailed information about Al Qaida without using EITs, but rather using the traditional approach.

In this video, Soufan explains more traditional routes for interrogation. This method uses psychological techniques such as emotional, interpersonal, and cognitive strategies to extract the information that is needed.  Not only is this safer, it outsmarts the prisoner and manipulates them to the point where the interrogators can get him or her to comply with the investigation.  Finally, more traditional, psychological approaches are much more quicker; once the detainee is manipulated, they are willing to give any information to interrogators.

The Informed Interrogation Approach is based on leveraging  knowledge of the detainee’s background and mindset, together with using information the interrogators already know about the prisoner. There are three main pillars of influence on the person being interrogated.

The detainee already feels fear due to the fact that he has been captured. The interrogator turns this fear into an advantage by becoming someone who can talk to the detainee and  listen to what he has to say. By presenting themselves to be trustworthy, the interrogator encourages the prisoner to open up. In addition, if the interrogator talks in a conversational way rather than defensively, there is a better chance to get on a somewhat good side with the detainee.

Second, the detainee has to have a sense of respect and power whilst being interrogated; they won’t give up any information if they are treated like garbage. The interrogator is the only one talking to and listening to the prisoner; therefore, a sort of relationship is created. Obviously, the interrogator does not want to ruin it, so he or she capitalizes on this and motivates the detainee to open up more.

Along with fear, the interrogator has to make the prisoner believe that he or she has information against him.The person doing the interrogation absolutely has to know everything and anything that has to do with the detainee. This way, the interrogator can use knowledge about the detainee’s personal, criminal, or early life against him.


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