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Interrogation is a methodology employed during the interview of a person, referred to as a "source", to obtain information that the source would not otherwise willingly disclose.
A typical purpose is not necessarily to force a confession, but rather to develop, playing on the source's character, sufficient rapport as to prompt the source to disclose information valuable to the interrogator.
A well-conducted interrogation will not usually involve torture, which in practice is widely acknowledged to be ineffective at producing true, accurate, correct and reliable information.
Interrogation techniques[edit | edit source]
- See also: Enhanced interrogation techniques
There are multiple techniques employed in interrogation including deception, torture, increasing suggestibility, and the use of mind-altering drugs.
Suggestibility[edit | edit source]
A person's suggestibility is how willing they are to accept and act on suggestions by others. Interrogators seek to increase a subject's suggestibility. Methods used to increase suggestibility may include moderate sleep deprivation, exposure to constant white noise, and using GABAergic drugs such as sodium amytal or sodium thiopental. It should be noted that attempting to increase a subject's suggestibility through these methods may violate local and national laws concerning the treatment of detainees, and in some areas may be considered torture. Sleep deprivation, exposure to white noise, and the use of drugs may greatly inhibit a detainee's ability to provide truthful and accurate information.
Deception[edit | edit source]
Deception can form an important part of effective interrogation. In the United States, there is no law or regulation that forbids the interrogator from lying about the strength of their case, from making misleading statements or from implying that the interviewee has already been implicated in the crime by someone else. See case law on trickery and deception (Frazier v. Cupp).
As noted above, traditionally the issue of deception is considered from the perspective of the interrogator engaging in deception towards the individual being interrogated. Recently, work completed regarding effective interview methods used to gather information from individuals who score in the medium to high range on measures of psychopathology and are engaged in deception directed towards the interrogator have appeared in the literature   The importance of allowing the psychopathic interviewee to tell one lie after another and not confront until all of the lies have been presented is essential when the goal is to use the interview to expose the improbable statements made during the interview in future court proceedings.
Good cop/bad cop[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Good cop/bad cop
Good cop/bad cop is an interrogation technique in which the officers take different sides. The 'bad cop' takes a negative stance on the subject. This allows for the 'good cop' to sympathize with and defend the subject. The idea is to get the subject to trust the 'good cop' and provide him with the information they're seeking.
Pride-and-ego down[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Pride-and-ego down
Pride-and-ego down is a US Army term that refers to techniques used by captors in interrogating prisoners to encourage cooperation, usually consisting of "attacking the source's sense of personal worth" and in an "attempt to redeem his pride, the source will usually involuntarily provide pertinent information in attempting to vindicate himself."
Reid technique[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Reid technique
The Reid technique is a trademarked interrogation technique widely used by law enforcement agencies in North America. The technique (which requires interrogators to watch the body language of suspects to detect deceit) has been criticized for being difficult to apply across cultures and eliciting false confessions from innocent people.
Torture[edit | edit source]
The history of the state use of torture in interrogations extends over more than 2,000 years in Europe—though it was recognized early on as the Roman imperial jurist Ulpian in the third century A.D. cautioned, that information extracted under duress was deceptive and untrustworthy. There is "no means of obtaining the truth" from those who have the strength to resist says Ulpian, while others are unable to withstand the pain and "will tell any lie rather than suffer it."
The use of torture as an investigative technique waned with the rise of Christianity since it was considered "antithetical to Christ's teachings," and in 866 Pope Nicholas I banned the practice. But after the 13th Century many European states such as Germany, Italy, and Spain began to return to physical abuse for religious inquisition, and for secular investigations. By the 18th Century the spreading influence of the Enlightenment led European nations to abandon officially state-sanctioned interrogation by torture. By 1874 Victor Hugo could plausibly claim that "torture has ceased to exist." Yet in the 20th Century authoritarian states such as Mussolini's Fascist Italy, Hitler's Third Reich, and Lenin's and Stalin's Soviet Union once again resumed the practice, and on a massive scale.
The most recent and most prominent instance of the use of torture in interrogation is that of the American CIA. After the defeat of the Fascists in World War II the CIA became both student and teacher of torture, propagating torture techniques worldwide to support anti-Communist regimes during the Cold War. The CIA adopted some Gestapo and KGB methods such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and the use of electric shock, and researched new ideas: so-called 'no-touch' torture involving sensory deprivation, self-inflicted pain, and psychological stress. The CIA taught its refined techniques of torture through police and military training to American-supported regimes in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia during the bloody Phoenix program, and throughout Latin America during Operation Condor. Torture also became widespread in some Asian nations and South Pacific nations, in Malasia, the Philippines and elsewhere, both for interrogation and to terrorize opponents of the regime. "In its pursuit of torturers across the globe for the past forty years," writer Alfred McCoy notes, "Amnesty International has been, in a certain sense, following the trail of CIA programs."
After the revelation of CIA sponsored torture in the 1970s and the subsequent outcry, the CIA largely stopped its own interrogations under torture and throughout the 1980s and 1990s "outsourced" such interrogation through renditions of prisoners to third world allies, often called torture-by-proxy. But in the furor over the attacks on 9/11 American authorities cast aside scruples, legally authorizing some forms of interrogation by torture under euphemisms such as "enhanced interrogation" or "interrogation in depth" to collect intelligence on Al Quaeda, starting in 2002. Ultimately the CIA, the US military, and their contract employees tortured untold thousands at Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and secret black site prisons scatttered around the globe, according to a bipartisan U.S.Senate Armed Services Committee report. Whether these interrogations under torture produced useful information is hotly debated.
The administration of President Obama in 2009 prohibited so-called enhanced interrogation, and as of this writing (March 2012) there is no longer a nation which openly admits to deliberate abuse of prisoners for purposes of interrogation.
Coercive interrogation[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Coercive interrogation
Movement for increased recording of interrogations in the US[edit | edit source]
Currently, there is a movement for mandatory electronic recording of all custodial interrogations in the United States.  "Electronic Recording" describes the process of recording interrogations from start to finish. This is in contrast to a "taped" or "recorded confession," which typically only includes the final statement of the suspect. "Taped interrogation" is the traditional term for this process; however, as analog is becoming less and less common, statutes and scholars are referring to the process as "electronically recording" interviews or interrogations. Alaska,  Illinois,  Maine, , Minnesota,  and Wisconsin  are the only states to require taped interrogation. New Jersey’s taping requirement started on January 1, 2006.   Massachusetts allows jury instructions that state that the courts prefer taped interrogations. See Commonwealth v. DiGiambattista, 813 N.E.2d 516, 533-34 (Mass. 2004). Commander Neil Nelson of the St. Paul Police Department, an expert in taped interrogation,  has described taped interrogation in Minnesota as the "best thing ever rammed down our throats." 
See also[edit | edit source]
- Guilty Knowledge Test
- Legal interrogation
- Pride-and-ego down
- R2I (Resistance to Interrogation)
- Reid technique
- SERE - a US military training program that simulates abusive interrogation techniques.
[edit | edit source]
- Interrogation techniques from GlobalSecurity.org
- Taped and Electronically Recorded Interrogation Resources and Training
- Limits to Interrogation - The Man In The Snow White Cell
- How Nguyen Tai resisted interrogation and torture for years.
- Excerpts from Harper's of CIA's Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual--1983
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- Perri, Frank S. and Lichtenwald, Terrance G. (2008). The Arrogant Chameleons: Exposing Fraud Detection Homicide Forensic Examiner, 26–33.
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- (1999). 'I'm Innocent!': Effects of Training on Judgments of Truth and Deception in the Interrogation room. Law and Human Behavior 23: 499–516.
- McCoy, Alfred (2007). A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror, 16–17, Henry Holt & Co..
- (McCoy, a Question of Torture 2007, p. 16)
- (McCoy, a Question of Torture 2007, p. 17)
- (McCoy, a Question of Torture 2007, p. 11; 59)
- (McCoy, a Question of Torture 2007, p. 59)
- (McCoy, a Question of Torture 2007, pp. 18; 60–107)
- (McCoy, a Question of Torture 2007, p. 11)
- (McCoy, a Question of Torture 2007, pp. 99, 109–110)
- Cheney's Dark Side is Showing. Washington Post. URL accessed on 29 March 2012.
- Transcript of interview with CIA director Panetta. MSNBC. URL accessed on 2011-08-21.
- (McCoy, a Question of Torture 2007, p. 152)
- (McCoy, a Question of Torture 2007, pp. 108, 117, 120–123, 143–144)
- Knowlton, Brian.Report Gives New Detail on Approval of Brutal Techniques New York Times, April 21, 2009 (report linked to article)
- Facing up to what we did in interrogations. Washington Post. URL accessed on 12 January 2013.
- MSNBC Report of Obama speech describing techniques used at Guantanamo as torture MSNBC 1/9/2009; Stout, David, Holder Tells Senators Waterboarding is Torture New York Times January 15, 2009.