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A (nearly) 360° perspective of the interrogation process: Communicating with high-value targets

A (Nearly) 360° Perspective of the Interrogation Process:
Communicating with High-Value Targets
Fadia M. Narchet
University of New Haven
Melissa B. Russano
Roger Williams University
Steven M. Kleinman
Operational Sciences International
Christian A. Meissner
Iowa State University
Until recently, most research on interrogation has focused on the interrogator’s role,
actions and perceptions in the criminal law enforcement setting. However, in the past decade,
due to a resurgence in the role of interrogation as a means of gathering intelligence in the War on
Terror, which regrettably included several high profile cases (e.g., Abu Ghraib) involving the use
of infamous interrogation tactics, an increasing number of researchers have begun empirically
studying intelligence interviewing. The differences between interrogations in law enforcement
and military or intelligence settings have been recently described elsewhere (Evans, Meissner,
Brandon, Russano, & Kleinman, 2010; Hartwig, Meissner, & Semmel, 2014); however, one of
the key differences is that criminal interrogations are focused on obtaining a confession from a
suspect whereas human intelligence (HUMINT) interrogations1 are focused on procuring
reliable, actionable information from the target. In a study conducted by Russano, Narchet,
Kleinman and Meissner (2014), this sentiment was expressed by an interrogator with high-value
target (HVT) experience who stated that the purpose of an interrogation is to “get to the truth of
something. You’re eliciting information. You’re getting information. What you do with that
information may be against the interests of the person you’re interviewing, or it may be on their
behalf. You may be using that information to go arrest somebody, or to disrupt some sort of a
terrorist activity or to arrest them, or to put them under surveillance. You’re not sure. But you’re
gathering information.” Another key distinction between a criminal and HUMINT interrogation
is the frequent and direct involvement of an analyst and an interpreter in the intelligence
1 We recognize that the terms “interview” and “interrogation”, and “interrogators” and “interviewers”
have various connotations depending on agency and/or context. For the purpose of this chapter, we define
the term interrogation to mean "The systematic questioning of an individual who is thought to possess
information of law enforcement or intelligence value. The individual being questioned may not respond
cooperatively during certain phases of the interaction and typically presents some degree of resistance to
answering questions and/or answering questions to the best of their knowledge. In response, specific
methods, strategies, or themes are traditionally employed to foster cooperation."
collection process (although in both cases, the interrogator plays the central role in the interview
process). Interpreters facilitate communication between the interrogator and the target, whereas
analysts support an interrogation through an assortments of tasks, including compiling
background information about the target, and vetting (i.e., fact checking) and corroborating
information elicited from the target (Russano, Narchet, & Kleinman, 2014).
Until recently (Russano, Narchet, & Kleinman, 2014; Russano et al., 2014), the
supporting role of analysts and interpreters as substantial and irreplaceable contributors to the
interrogative process has largely been ignored by the research community. Russano and her
colleagues sought to gain a better understanding of the multi-dimensional interrogative process
by conducting semi-structured interviews with 17 HVT interrogators, 25 highly experienced non-
HVT interrogators, and 12 intelligence analysts to explore broad topic areas such as training,
perceived effectiveness of interrogation techniques, and attributes specific to working with
HVTs. Moreover, 27 interpreters were also asked to respond to a similar series of questions
using a survey format. In this fashion, the researchers sought to explore the interrogative process
from differing perspectives to gain a better understanding of the respective roles, responsibilities,
and perceptions of each member of the interrogation team (Russano et al., 2014; Russano,
Narchet, & Kleinman, 2014).
In this chapter, we explore the communication process with HVTs from the perspective
of the interrogator, the analyst, and the interpreter. Relying primarily on interviews and surveys
conducted by Russano et al. (2014) and Russano, Narchet and Kleinman (2014)2, we present an
exploratory qualitative analysis of issues surrounding the HVT interrogation communication
2 Unless otherwise noted, all quotes presented in this chapter were culled from the data collected
by Russano et al. (2014) and Russano, Narchet and Kleinman (2014).
process. It is our hope that such an exploratory examination will stimulate future research on this
unique and seldom explored topic.
Interrogator Perspective
Definition of an HVT
When asked to define an HVT by Russano et al. (2014), one of the common themes
among interrogators was to conceptualize an HVT as someone who has information that may
threaten national security. One element of the HVT interview widely reported by interview
respondents was the focus not only on past events, but also on collecting information about any
current or possible future acts. Overall, it appears that interrogators converged on the notion that
a high-value target is a term that, while surprisingly not formally defined in U.S. Government
doctrine or legal statute, is commonly used to describe an individual who holds a leadership
position or serves as a technical expert with a terrorist organization. The target refers to the fact
that this individual has been targeted for capture or termination based on the substantial threat
they pose to Western or allied national interests.
Table 1: Exemplar remarks of HVT interrogators’ definitions of an HVT
“High-value target would be somebody who has information of either strategic value, meaning it
would actually shape policy at a very high level. Or as a real critical nature, because there’s going
to be an event that can happen in a very reasonably short period of time that needs to be
prevented. Without this information, the cost of life and property would be high.”
“… a high-value means that this person is intimately involved in some kind of a criminal act or a
terrorism group, or intelligence operation, that we have a degree of confidence that this person is
involved, is somebody we’re interested in, and has information.”
“A high-value detainee for me is someone who has played a significant role in, whether it’s in a
government organization or has extremely valuable information that benefits the U.S.
Government. Someone who has committed an extremely heinous or violent crime, that crime
received a lot of attention and scrutiny and as a result it was viewed as very significant.
Russano et al. (2014) also asked interrogators to compare HVT interrogations to non-
HVT interrogations. Although HVT interrogations were perceived not to differ in terms of the
methodology of the preparation process and the interrogative approaches used, they did differ to
the extent that given the high-stakes nature of the cases, there was heightened scrutiny of the
case and pressure on the interrogator to produce results (Russano et al., 2014). Most HVT
interrogators did not believe that the skills necessary to conduct a successful interrogation of an
HVT were substantially different than those needed to conduct a non-HVT interrogation. One
theme that emerged from the interview responses was that the key to a successful interview
seems to lay in the interrogator’s motivation and/or ability to adequately prepare for the
interrogation. Specifically, the guiding principle of a successful interrogation, according to
interrogators, appears to be that the more information an interrogator has about a target prior to
an interrogation, the more likely it is that the interrogation will be productive and successful, in
that pre-interrogation knowledge about the target directs the line of questioning and informs how
the interrogation is subsequently conducted. Interrogators also suggested that these guiding
tenets do not differ depending upon whether they were interviewing an HVT or a non-HVT.
Table 2: Exemplar responses of HVT interrogators regarding keys to a successful HVT
“I don’t think the keys are [different]...I don’t think at the fundamental level. It’s more how it’s
orchestrated. Just with a high value target, everything is going to take longer and needs to be
developed, and it’s just...nothing is going to be simple.”
“I mean to me, in my experience, the keys to success are … the preparation that goes into the
interrogation. And no, it’s not any different, but with a higher-value person you would tend to put
a lot more in. And I even was guilty of that, and I learned my lesson from that. I was halfway
through my time in Iraq, I did an interrogation of an individual that I took for granted. So I went
into this interrogation with the idea he was going to confess to all of that and of course implicate
others for those atrocities. I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, and I took it for granted… And I
didn’t give it the preparation that I should’ve. Thirty, forty minutes into it, I realized that I was in
way over my head with him…I walked away very disappointed. So [I] went back several weeks
later, because I still needed that information, plus I wanted to correct myself. Same subject, same
approach, same interrogator, same room, same everything else; the preparation though that I went
into it was 100 times different. I knew everything about him by then. I had prepared so much I
had...probably went a little overboard just because my ego needed it and I realized what his
vulnerabilities were…we were only 45 minutes into it, he broke down, and he cried like I had
never seen an adult male cry. And the only difference was the preparation that went into it.”
Training and Necessary Skills for HVT Interrogators
When asked about what type of training HVT interrogators need, most respondents stated
that interrogators needed more subject-matter expertise training (e.g., about the HVTs culture,
religion, region, political viewpoints, etc.). This sentiment seems intertwined with the issue of
preparedness for effective communication; in fact, being prepared was often presented as
synonymous with being or becoming a subject-matter expert. HVT interrogators also suggested
that on-the-job training was an invaluable experience builder; such activities encompassed a
wide variety of experiences, ranging from observing others to allowing others to observe and
provide feedback to an interrogator about his performance (oftentimes in the context of a
mentorship relationship) to spending time in the target’s country to learn about the culture.
Table 3: Exemplar responses of HVT interrogators concerning training to work
with HVTs
“I would say that they should know everything that can be known about the particular target that
they’re focused on, the group that they’re involved in, the level of engagement in that group.
The history of that particular person, and their involvement and what they’ve done…”
“I think probably people interviewing high-value detainees should have done some traveling on
cases, maybe some temporary duty assignments to some of our liaison offices overseas or at
least kind of served on squads that do a lot of extraterritorial type cases, so they’re comfortable
going to a foreign country doing interviews and working with foreign services. And they
understand working with foreign services, kind of the dos and don’ts of that…I mean, it’s a
world unto itself with all sorts of different entities in there. You need to have a general idea of
who does what so, I think on-the-job doing interviews, number one. Number two, having done
some traveling, kind of operationally, to understand the dynamics.”
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out here on a daily basis. I believe that each person is different
so you can't have a cookie-cutter approach for your interrogators. You can't train them all the
same because everybody’s personality is different; what works for me isn’t going to necessarily
work for someone else. So my perception or my thought is providing interrogators kind of that
the broad skill set and then allowing them to fine tune that to fit their individual personalities
and capabilities. And that’s where, by doing it over and over, you develop an individual to
become ready to do a high-value interrogation. So giving them a good baseline of training.”
Interrogators most often cited excellent interpersonal skills, the ability to adapt to
different situations, and maturity as qualities and skills of a “good” interrogator. Overall, HVT
interrogators thought that the skills needed to be a “good” HVT interrogator did not differ
substantially from those needed to be a “good” interrogator, more generally. They primarily
emphasized the need for HVT interrogators to have patience, display a high level of maturity,
and have superior interpersonal skills. Another recurrent theme is the importance of using highly
experienced interrogators for HVT interrogations, which may relate to the observation that a
successful interrogation is dependent on an interrogator’s ability to be flexible in stressful
situations. Ross (2014) reported that experienced interrogators were better able to deal with time
constraints, work with naturalistic elements, work with ambiguous information, and verbalize
more flexibility with their interrogative approach as compared to less experienced interrogators.
Table 4: Exemplar responses of HVT interrogators regarding necessary skills for
conducting HVT interrogations
“I mean, I think you have good knowledge and background, information, cultural sensitivities.
Good rapport-building. Good ability to build a good, solid team, to work with people, work with
other people beside you as well as parlay that team effort…to have an effective communication
back and forth. I mean, this would go for any interview, really, but I think that the stakes are a
little bit higher, so I think you have to be on the tip-top of your game...”
“Those skills that are important to be a good interrogator, they have to be refined as you become
focused on a high-value subject. It’s the experience that develops you to that point. So that’s as
important as evolving those unique skill sets. While you can be the most skilled person, if you
don’t have the experience you’re not, in my opinion, going to have success. So it’s a combination
of the two.”
“Patience, preparation, flexibility, insight, perception, ability to talk about a range of subjects,
sensitivity to the subject and the subject’s condition, curiosity about how they got where they got,
flexibility in terms of understanding the value of taking time to build rapport, and leverage that.
Leverage the things you learn about their personality and values.”
Planning and Preparation
Prior to interviewing the target, the interrogator and his/her team must prepare for the
interrogation. The majority of HVT interrogators stated that although, in theory, the preparation
process for HVT interrogations did not differ from non-HVT interrogations, in practice, there
were higher stakes, increased pressure, and therefore a more through preparation process
associated with interviewing a HVT (Russano et al., 2014). When asked how they prepared for
an interrogation, HVT interrogators emphasized the need to acquire as much information as
possible about the individual prior to starting the interrogation. The concept of preparation also
involved having some basic knowledge of the target’s culture and philosophies. Possessing a
substantial degree of knowledge about the target provides the interrogator with not only insight
into the personality and motivations of the target, but also with the ability to corroborate
information elicited during the interrogation (oftentimes in collaboration with an analyst). In
other words, good preparation serves not only to inform the progress of an interrogation, but it
also allows for some insight into the inner workings of the target.
Table 5: Exemplar remarks from HVT interrogators regarding preparation3
“I would do all of my research on the individual that I’m going to interview. Their background,
any kind of intelligence or law enforcement information that’s out there about them, their family,
their education; anything you can get so you can understand where they’re coming from. If you
3 Please note that these observations are not specific to working with HVTs, but reflect HVT
interrogators preparation process generally.
can, read up what they have said in the past. As well as if they were arrested, try to find out, not
only where and the circumstances of their arrest, but try to get as much as you can about things
that were recovered, phone books, computers, anything like that. Facts that you can have when
you go into the interview, so you can test them throughout the interview to see how honest
they’re being.”
“If you don't know the basic concepts of what makes somebody become a radical terrorist or join
a terrorist organization, you should know some of the tenets of why he joined or what the
philosophy is of whatever terrorist group that person happens to be, so at least when you’re
talking, you can discuss things with that person. If you don't know anything about it, that person
will pick up on it, and he’ll lose interest in you as an interrogator. If you don't know enough about
the subject matter, he can lead you off into tangents that could take months literally, and you will
never hit the crux of what you want to find out, unless you can bring him back on track. So you
have to do your homework and become almost a subject-matter expert in the area of this person.”
“First thing we’re going to do is we’re going to get everything we know about this person, and
figure out what we don’t know. And then, what we don’t know, we’re going to go find out that.
We’re going to nail down an interview plan. Specifically, what do we want from him? What are
we trying to get from him? And we’re going to know everything we need to know about that.
We’re going to get experts, photographs, pictures, imagery, intelligence, anything we can.”
Interrogation Setting
The interrogation setting may provide a supporting backdrop to a successful interrogation
(Goodman-Delahunty, Martschuk, & Dhami, 2014). Russano et al. (2014) reported that
interrogators emphasized placing the target at ease. HVT interrogators generally believed the
interrogation setting should be comfortable and relaxed in nature. For example, many HVT
interrogators noted that the number of individuals in the interrogation room should be kept to a
minimum, and that an environment should be created that mimics a relaxed conversation
between individuals rather than an environment that encourages an adversarial relationship
associated with a stereotypical interrogation (e.g., uncomfortable chairs, target shackled).
Goodman-Delahunty et al. found that a comfortable physical environment was more conducive
to greater cooperation from HVTs, in that an inviting physical environment appeared to
encourage rapport and decrease resistance. When the physical environment of the interrogation
was uncomfortable, interrogators report that HVTs are less likely to provide information or make
incriminating statements (Goodman-Delahunty et al., 2014). This amiable environment is a
preference, although not always possible, according to some of Russano et al.’s HVT
interrogators – interrogators must work within and adapt to the constraints of the situation. Case
in point, one interrogator aptly offered the following in response to the question of about the
ideal interrogative setting: “You don’t have much control over the setting. If you’re in Gitmo,
you’re in Gitmo. You’re going into a box.”
Table 6: Exemplar statements from HVT interrogators regarding their ideal
interrogation setting
“So, setting would be, you don’t want too many people. A lot of these interviews, everybody
wants to participate or sit in the room, and that’s just not very conducive, so I think the least
amount of people that you need in the room. If you need a translator, then hopefully you’ve
worked with one in the past or you have a relationship with [one], or you at least have a clear
understanding of how that should go, so that you’re not in the room with the subject explaining to
a translator who’s supposed to be on your same team kind of how that works. Making sure you
have that good relationship with the translator, obviously is important…Yeah, in terms of a table,
no table. I want as less between us as possible.”
“Setting is so overlooked, I think. The problem with setting in most interrogationsthey’re
driven by security first. Because they’re in a prisoner of war camp or a detention center, that is
designed and managed by people with security interests, not by intelligence interests. And so it’s
not easy to create a positive, compelling rapport with somebody when they’re shackled to the
floor. I can understand the security of it, but a lot of it’s not thought out.”
“So I guess I would say just in general, in a room that’s fairly comfortable. Some chairs that are
fairly comfortable, and just kind of a non-threatening room. Maybe a window...I would say you
want the temperature to be somewhat comfortable, not cold, not hot. So I would say probably a
limited number of people as well, so the person is not overwhelmed. Maybe yourself, a translator
if one is necessary, kind of a backup investigator who is taking notes or switching off with you
taking notes. Maybe that’s it, you know, three people. I would want to provide refreshments,
some water, soda, whatever. A place where you can sit and talk comfortably, and the person is
not incredibly uncomfortable.”
Interrogation Techniques
Kelly, Miller, Redlich, and Kleinman (2013) proposed that interrogation techniques can
be categorized into one of six domains. Rapport and Relationship Building tactics center on
facilitating a respectful relationship between the interrogator and the target (e.g., finding
commonalities; expressing concern for target’s situation), while Context Manipulation, involves
the physical and temporal manipulation of interrogation space for the purpose of influencing
behavior (e.g., conducting the interrogation in a small room; making the interrogation room more
neutral). Emotional Provocation techniques are designed to manipulate a target’s emotions and
perceptions, especially in terms of the outcomes associated with cooperation or resistance (e.g.
exaggerate the fears of the target; compliment the target). Confrontation/Competition techniques
tend to create an adversarial dynamic by setting the interrogator and the target against one
another. Examples include insulting the target, continually asking the target the same question,
and emphasizing the authority the interrogator holds overs the target. Techniques in the
Collaboration domain encourage cooperative interactions between the interrogator and the
target. Offering tangible objects (e.g., cigarettes; candy) and/or psychological feedback (e.g.,
praise in response to providing desired information) are prominent examples. Finally,
Presentation of Evidence techniques involve the use of evidence to convince a target to
cooperate (i.e., confront the target with actual evidence of involvement; confront the target with
unsubstantiated evidence of involvement). In a subsequent project, Redlich, Kelly, and Miller
(2014) examined the frequency and perceived effectiveness of interrogation techniques among
military and federal interrogators. They found that relationship and rapport-building techniques
were the most commonly used tactics, and that these techniques were perceived as the most
effective at eliciting information when compared with techniques from the other domains.
Using the Kelly et al. taxonomy, Russano et al. (2014) reported a significant difference
between the perceived use of and the effectiveness of interrogative techniques used by HVT
interrogators as compared to their non-HVT counterparts. HVT interrogators were more likely to
report most commonly using rapport-based, collaborative, and evidence based approaches than
non-HVT interrogators. HVT interrogators were also more likely than non-HVT interrogators to
cite relationship and rapport-building techniques as being most effective at eliciting information
from a target.
Goodman-Delahunty, Martschuk, and Dhami (2014) examined the perceived use and
effectiveness of interrogative strategies when working with HVTs, and their data is quite
consistent with the responses provided by Russano et al.’s (2014) HVT interrogators.
Specifically, Goodman-Delahunty et al. reported the frequent use of rapport-building techniques
for gathering information from HVTs. They suggest that practitioners should refrain from
employing aggressive and confrontational interrogative tactics because it diminishes cooperation.
Furthermore, their data suggest that evidence should be presented in a respectful and non-
confrontational manner that allows the HVT to recount their recollection of events. They also
contend that accusatorial interrogative strategies were less effective and increased resistance
among HVTs. Goodman-Delahunty and colleagues maintain that to increase HVT cooperation,
interrogators should use non-coercive social influence strategies to secure cooperation and elicit
information, while coercive tactics and physical intimidation was found to result in less reliable
information or increased silence from HVTs.
As noted above, the vast majority of HVT interrogators asserted that relationship and
rapport-building techniques are most effective at eliciting reliable information. Although there
seems to be a lack of consensus regarding the exact definition of rapport—it ranges from
forming a productive working relationship (Russano et al., 2014) to being friendly and treating
targets with respect (Alison, Alison, Noone, Elntib, & Christiansen, 2013)—there is consensus
regarding the importance of rapport as a foundation for the ability to elicit reliable information
from targets. Recently, Abbe and Brandon (2014) posited that rapport is a necessary component
for the exchange of information in any task-oriented interaction. In Russano et al.’s study, one
interrogator simply stated that “Rapport is the lubrication that makes approaches work…rapport
is the lubrication for the exploitation” (p. 5). A number of other studies have found support for
the effectiveness of rapport-based approaches for eliciting information. For instance, Redlich et
al. (2014) reported that rapport and relationship building techniques were perceived to be most
effective at eliciting information from a target. Similarly, Alison et al. (2013) suggested that
treating targets with respect, dignity, and integrity was an effective interrogative strategy, and
Goodman-Delahunty et al. (2014) found that displays of respect and politeness towards targets
were used to successfully garner cooperation from targets.
As stated by most HVT interrogators, no one technique is 100% effective because the
successful approach is dependent on, and tailored to, the target. Although developing rapport has
emerged as an interrogative approach championed by both practitioners and researchers, HVT
interrogators appear mindful that a successful interrogation is a dynamic interaction based on the
tone and focus of the interrogation and the target (Evans et al., 2010; Russano et al., 2014).
Supporting Communication through Interpreters
All of the interrogators in Russano et al.’s (2014) sample worked with interpreters for at
least some of their interrogations. One HVT interrogator stated, “I really like to spend a lot of
time with anybody else that’s going to be in the room. So I really like to know my interpreter.”
According to experienced interrogators, an interpreter can either facilitate communication
between the interrogator and the target or hinder the interaction between the two parties.
Although the critical importance of interpreters has been acknowledged, very little research has
been conducted to examine their role and perceptions of the interrogation process. Russano,
Narchet, and Kleinman (2014) sought to close this knowledge gap by surveying a sample of
highly experienced interpreters with interrogation experience4 about their beliefs about and
experience with the interrogation process. When asked to define their role during an
interrogation, interpreters claimed that their primary function was to facilitate communication
between the interrogator and the target. However, they did not perceive themselves as a simple
mouthpiece or “translation machine”; rather, they also served as a sort of “cultural ambassador”
(see Tribe & Lane, 2009) who could provide knowledge and expertise about the target’s culture
(e.g., re: language, region, religion, etc.). Relatedly, there was a trend that interpreters with HVT
interrogation experience were more likely to believe it was important for interrogators to
understand the target’s culture in order to be an effective interrogator as compared to those
without HVT experience.
Definition of an HVT and Perceived Differences between HVT and non-HVT Interrogations
When asked to define an HVT, the most common response was someone who possessed
information about a potential threat to national security (Russano, Narchet, & Kleinman, 2014).
One interpreter noted that an HVT “possesses or has access to the person/information vital to the
related investigation of high importance…”, while another noted that their “knowledge of attack
plans and methodologies could enable law enforcement authorities to disable or disrupt such
4 All of the interpreters in Russano, Narchet and Kleinman’s (2014) sample were affiliated with
the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fourteen of the 27 respondents had experience with HVT
plans.” Interpreters with HVT experience viewed HVT interrogations as involving higher-stakes
and therefore more pressure on the interrogation team as compared to non-HVT interrogations.
Interrogation Tactics and Successful Interrogations
Consistent with interrogators’ perceptions of the interrogative process (Goodman-
Delahunty et al., 2014; Redlich et al., 2014; Russano et al., 2014), Russano, Narchet, and
Kleinman (2014) reported that interpreters perceive relationship and rapport-building techniques
as the most effective strategies for eliciting accurate, useful information from targets. When
asked to identify those interrogation tactics that were perceived as least effective, the interpreters
reported techniques from the confrontation/competition domain (e.g., threats and intimidation) as
least effective at eliciting reliable information. Furthermore, when asked what distinguishes
successful interrogations from less successful ones, interpreters emphasized having a well-
prepared team, in conjunction with a highly skilled interrogator and a highly skilled interpreter.
Supporting Information Elicitation through Analysis
Russano et al. (2014) found that the majority of interrogators had received analytic
assistance during at least some of their interrogations. According to interrogators, analysts
support the interrogation process by serving as subject-matter experts about the target or group,
providing “big picture” context beyond target-specific information, and providing auxiliary
services such as fact-checking information a target provides. Russano, Narchet, and Kleinman
(2014) found that analysts purport similar beliefs about their role and the services they typically
provide when supporting interrogations – they emphasize their role in preparing the interrogator
for the interrogation by providing him/her with background information about the target/group,
setting intelligence priorities for the interrogation, and corroborating elicited information.
Definition of an HVT and Perceived Differences between HVT and non-HVT Interrogations
In the Russano, Narchet, and Kleinman (2014) study, all but one of the analysts had
experience supporting HVT interrogations. When asked to define an HVT, the most common
response was someone who has valuable information regarding national security, and that
information has the potential to impact strategic decision-making.
Table 7: Exemplar remarks from the analysts regarding their definition of an HVT
“Somebody who has information that will save lives, prevent attacks essentially, or affect
strategic decision-making against groups or nations.”
“I'd define a high-value target as someone that can provide intelligence value that’s substantial
enough to possibly deter a threat or provide information on people that possibly pose a threat to
the U.S. or its allies.”
“They don’t necessarily have to be the person on top, but they might have access to the person on
top or they might have access to the cell leader. Or they might have access to the person who’s
training them. Or they might have access to the financier or they might know about how that gets
done in an organization. They might have access to knowledge about the group overall or
knowledge about the group’s intentions.”
Analysts were asked to provide their opinions on certain aspects of the HVT interrogation
process, including whether HVT interrogations differed from non-HVT interrogations. Like
other interrogation team members, analysts report a difference in the nature of an HVT
interrogation, but not the process. Specifically, analysts report heightened pressure to produce
results during an HVT interrogation due to the high-stakes nature of the case (Russano, Narchet,
& Kleinman, 2014).
Table 8: Exemplar remarks from analysts regarding differences between HVT and
non-HVT interrogations
“Yes and no. When you’re working with high-value people, there’s a whole lot more pressure
on you to get something new, useful, timely, whatever. They’re not different in terms of [much
else], anytime you interrogate somebody for intelligence purposes, you want something useful.”
“The stress level is going to be different. The biggest difference when it's a high-value
individual is the amount of attention that’s going to be paid to it and the number of people that
are going to want their fingers in the pot.”
“Not really. I mean, it was a different flavor of ice cream, if you will. We knew that what we
were doing was a big deal. Because there was no confusing those guys with anything other than
what they are. You know, they’re mass murderers, some of the most dangerous men on the
planet. However, the process was essentially the same.”
Preparation, Planning, and Interrogation Tactics
Analysts were asked to provide their thoughts on the preparation process, as well as the
most and least effective techniques for seeking information. Preparing for a HVT interrogation
was perceived as more intense and stressful when compared to non-HVT interrogation. One
analyst stated, “You want a lot of time to prepare, to digest all the information, and then knowing
the information, to plan for how you're going to conduct that interrogation.”
Like interrogators (Goodman-Delahunty et al., 2014; Redlich et al., 2014; Russano et al.,
2014) and interpreters, analysts perceived relationship and rapport-building techniques as the
most effective way to elicit reliable information from both HVT and non-HVT targets (i.e., being
friendly; treating them with respect). In the words of one analyst, “I think across the board, if we
participate in or have seen the rapport-based approach be successful a lot …whether it's that guy
or this guy [HVT or non-HVT], it hasn’t mattered.”
When asked to provide their opinions on the least effective techniques for eliciting
reliable information, most analysts cited interrogation techniques from the
confrontation/competition domain (e.g., yelling; insulting the target; Russano, Narchet, &
Kleinman, 2014). One analyst noted, “Yeah, well, you can’t scare those guys. You can’t belittle
them. You’re not going be able to guilt them into anything. I mean, these are the best of the best.
And so confrontational stuff is going to be a waste of time. And most of the tricks and lies aren’t
going to work either. You just can’t intimidate or frighten those guys. Because regardless of
what happens in that interrogation room, they’ve seen worse. They’ve done worse, first of all,
and they’ve had worse things done to them. I mean, these are guys that were in jail in Egypt, you
know, in the 80’s, you know? They weren’t gentle with those guys. ‘Oh, are you going to beat
the soles of my feet with a stick for the next six hours? No? All right, well, I guess it’s not
going to be as bad as it’s been.’ So you’re not going to intimidate them or push them around.
And to try to would just be a waste—it would be insulting.”
A (Nearly) 360° Perspective
Capturing the self-reported beliefs and opinions of the interrogators themselves provides
an unprecedented insight into the perspectives that ultimately shape how individuals plan,
conduct, and assess their interrogation efforts. While there is not yet sufficient data to examine
how closely those reports reflect actual performance, it nonetheless offers a uniquely objective
assessment of a fundamentally subjective set of beliefs. This leads to a number of compelling
questions. How, for example, might the perspectives of experienced interrogators differ from
those who only recently completed basic interrogation training? Similarly, how might the
perspectives of experienced interrogators in the field differ from experienced interrogators
serving as instructors at various training centers? Moreover, how do perspectives change over
time and experience? Similar questions might be posed regarding the perspectives reported by
interpreters and analysts.
What is arguably of most value in examining the far-ranging perspectives across a single
discipline (e.g., among interrogators or among interpreters) and across the three separate
disciplines is that a nearly 360° perspective of the interrogation process is available for the first
time. The reports of the interrogators offers data to explore how beliefs, expectations, past
experiences, and even biases can inform how an interrogation might be conducted. Reports from
interpreters not only offer data on the vital communication component—both linguistic and
cultural—that is oftentimes key to a successful interrogation, but also an unrestricted, “frontline”
observation of how interrogators actually go about their work. And the reports from analysts can
provide a strategic perspective on both the competition for information that is an integral part of
any interrogation, as well as the value (i.e. accuracy, comprehensiveness, and timeliness) of the
information gleaned from a subject.
The self-reported reflections of the targets themselves would complete this circle,
providing not only additional data, but also an additional layer or dimension to the phenomenon.
While collecting data about the interrogation experience directly from a subject or detainee
might sound incomprehensible, there are real-world precedents that support the contention that
such an option may, in fact, be possible. In his book, Slow Burn: The Rise and Bitter Fall of
American Intelligence in Vietnam, CIA-contract interrogator Orrin Deforest chronicles the use of
standardized psychological testing of Viet Cong prisoners, the results of which informed the
varied interrogation strategies that were reportedly successful in eliciting valuable intelligence
information (Kleinman, 2006a).
With or without the perspective of the target, the availability of data from the
interrogator, interpreter, and analyst offers the opportunity for a multirater assessment. Although
not currently used as part of the interrogation/interrogator evaluation process employed within
the U.S. military, multirater—or 360°—evaluations are commonplace in a broad cross-section of
other activities in both the public and private sectors. According to Carlson (1998), the potential
value to be derived from a multirater assessment is supported by three key assumptions: 1)
observations from multiple sources offer a more robust portrait of both strengths and
weaknesses; 2) the comparison of self-perception with the perceptions offered by others can
serve to enhance self-awareness; and 3) the most effective performers often possess a self-view
that parallels the views of others.
In the absence of data to assess the differential between self-reporting and actual
performance, there remains the opportunity to compare the self-reported perspectives of
interrogators about an interrogation with the self-reported perspectives of individuals who are
immediately involved in those interrogations (i.e., the interpreter and analyst). Such a
comparison might be viewed as a somewhat unconventional yet nonetheless useful form of
multirater assessment. What we find in this regard is a remarkable symmetry among this triad;
that is, there is a strong consistency found among the “assessments” of all three “raters”
(interrogator, interpreter, and analyst). This is especially true when it comes to the interrogator’s
definition of a high-value target and the central role of rapport and relationship building as a
strategy for eliciting cooperation and reliable information. Similarly, there was broad consensus
that pointed to confrontational or competitive interrogation tactics as least effective at eliciting
reliable information. Whether such information, when revealed to interrogators, would enhance
the self-awareness that Carlson finds of value is yet to be determined.
Towards a Learning Organization
During the course of the War of Terror, the West’s adversaries have shown a remarkable
ability to learn from experiences in a manner that informed the evolution of their tactics. Perhaps
the most notorious example involves the employment of improvised explosive devices that,
according to a Washington Post accounting, have tragically killed more than 2500 U.S.
servicemen and women in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
( Less definitive, yet often
referred to in the media, have been the changes in counter-interrogation strategies employed by
detainees held in U.S. facilities. In response to the former, the U.S. Department of Defense
created the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization in 2006. Yet while there has
been a major emphasis placed on learning lessons from operational experience—as evidenced by
the long-standing Center for Army Lessons Learned managed by the U.S. Army Combined Arms
Center at Fort Leavenworth, KS—there is little to suggest the Army Field Manual that governs
interrogation operations (Field Manual 2.22-3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations) has
been revised based on the field experiences of interrogators and support personnel despite the
years of extensive field experiences. The results of the interviews and surveys designed to
capture the perspectives, beliefs, and reflections of these individuals could be of material value to
a systematic learning effort. This is especially true in an emerging effort known as research to
practice (the adaptation of evidence-based interrogation methods to formal interrogation training
and operations).
Training creates mental models that, ideally, reflect the most effective means of
achieving a specified end (e.g., the successful elicitation of reliable information from a subject).
That mental model will, in turn, be shaped—for better or worse—by a series of experiences as
the interrogator begins to actually operate in the real world as well as by the feedback s/he
receives from supervisors and peers. The prevailing mental model, both the individual and
collective, might be accurately described as the sum total of a series of formal and informal
lessons learned, and both conscious and unconscious responses to experiences. As a result, the
comparison of the mental models—as constructed from the responses to the aforementioned
interviews and surveys—that exist during various points in an interrogator’s development would
offer unparalleled insights into how training, experience, and both formal and informal feedback
will directly inform not only the professional culture and standards of behavior with the larger
cadre of interrogators, but also how formal doctrine is ultimately applied on the action end of the
training pipeline. In essence, it opens a window into the systemic nature of the interrogation
We have previously described the importance of systems thinking in interrogation, one
that recognizes the process of gleaning information from a subject as a complex, dynamic system
with capabilities, potential, and functions that cannot be predicted simply by deconstructing that
process into discrete elements (Kleinman, 2006b). Senge (2006), who has written extensively
about the necessary attributes of a learning organization, offers a resonate view of systems: “You
can only understand the system…by contemplating the whole, not any individual part of the
pattern (p. 34).”
Senge (2006) additionally offers an exceptionally useful systems-based framework that
serves as a vehicle for better understanding the overarching interrogation process and how that
process might be enhanced through organizational learning. Central to this approach is the
requirement that we not “focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system, and wonder why our
deepest problems never seem to get solved (p. 34).” To examine only the perspectives of the
interrogator while the overall process is also materially impacted by the perspectives of the
interpreter and analyst (perspectives that form the basis for decision-making and action taking)
would, in line with this thinking, prevent us from solving the “deepest problems” that undermine
optimal effectiveness in the interrogation room.
It is intriguing to note that each of the five “disciplines” that, together, form Senge’s
(2006) framework for creating a learning organization —systems thinking, personal mastery,
mental models, shared vision, and team learning—are reflected in the responses among
interrogators, analysts, and interpreters. To create a true learning organization, every individual
involved must understand his or her role in a much larger, very complex system. Every
individual must pursue personal mastery in his or her respective niche. Every participant must
gain awareness of his or her personal mental models, as well as understand and appreciate, to the
extent possible, those held by others in the system. And individual mental models should
embrace a vision shared by all in the process. Finally, team learning is an ongoing emergent
property made possible by these other disciplines.
Inherent in each of these disciplines is perspective, and this explains why it is vital to not
only know what an interrogator (or interpreter or analyst) actually does, but also what they think
about what they (and others) do. Perspective is critical to creating a learning organization and the
continued evolution of the practice of interrogation.
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... Although inaccurate beliefs about torture's effectiveness persist among the general public , there is little disagreement among academics that painful torture is generally ineffective for obtaining reliable information (Janoff-Bulman, 2007). Torture's ineffectiveness is underscored by numerous historical case studies (e.g. the North Vietnamese torture of U.S. personnel, Britain's use of torture at the London Cage; for discussion, see Vrij et al., 2017) as well as interviews with trained interrogators who provide first-hand testimony that torture does not promote cooperation and can in fact lead to more resistance (Narchet et al., 2016). In a study of 14 high value target (HVT) interrogators, 57.1% reported risk in using enhanced interrogation techniques such as torture because it could lead to individuals providing false information (Russano et al., 2014). ...
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... 3 Enhancing cooperation and disclosure by manipulating affiliation and developing rapport in investigative interviews There is growing consensus among practitioners and researchers that a rapport-based approach to interviewing is more reliable and productive than a confrontational, accusatorial approach (e.g., Meissner, Kelly, & Woestehoff, 2015;Narchet, Russano, Kleinman, & Meissner, 2016;Redlich, Kelly, & Miller, 2014). Successfully building rapport with an initially reluctant source is thought to overcome their resistance (e.g., Alison, Alison, Noone, Elntib, & Christiansen, 2014), increase the amount of information they provide (e.g., Goodman-Delahunty, Martschuk, & Dhami, 2014;Redlich et al., 2014), and promote the likelihood of eliciting a true confession (Holmberg & Christianson, 2002;Kebbell, Alison, Hurren, & Mazerolle, 2010;Wachi et al., 2014). ...
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... Interpreters are used frequently in many legal contexts, including translating trial proceedings (e.g., Carroll, 1995) and intelligence-gathering interrogations with suspected terrorists and other high-value targets (e.g., Narchet, Russano, Kleinman, & Meissner, 2015;Russano, Narchet, & Kleinman, 2014). In both interview and interrogation settings, investigators depend upon interpreters to accurately translate their questions, and provide accurately translated responses, which are used to formulate subsequent questions and inform the investigation. ...
Interpreters play an important role in the criminal justice system, yet little is known about the way interpreters are used. This survey of U.S. law enforcement (N = 299) assessed practices and perceptions regarding interpreter use during interviews with nonnative English speakers. Investigators reported using colleagues more often than professional interpreters, using interpreters more often with suspects and in certain crimes (e.g., domestic violence), and that interpreters are usually at least partially informed about case facts prior to translating. Investigators responded to experimental vignettes, and results indicated they were more likely to seek and obtain interpreters when an interviewee has lived in the United States for fewer years; however, the language spoken and the interviewee's role (e.g., witness vs. suspect) did not affect decisions to request an interpreter. Several avenues for future experimental research are identified and discussed, including interpreting over the phone and interpreter susceptibility to biases.
... Building was the most frequently endorsed approach to interrogation regardless of context, while Confrontation/Competition was perceived as least effective (and least utilized; Redlich, Kelly, & Miller, 2014). Rapport and Relationship Building was also found to be critical among samples of highly experienced military and intelligence interrogators (including those who conduct "high-value target" interrogations; Narchet, Russano, Kleinman, & Meissner, 2016;Russano, Narchet, Kleinman, & Meissner, 2014), and in cross-national samples of interrogation professionals from Australia and southeast Asia (Goodman-Delahunty, Martschuk, & Dahmi, 2014). ...
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Interrogation practices in the United States have been roundly criticized both for their accusatorial ethos, at times leading to false confessions by the innocent, and for a history of applying physical and psychological coercion in law enforcement, military, and intelligence contexts. Despite decades of psychological research demonstrating the failures of such approaches and despite recent positive advances in countries such as the United Kingdom moving to an information-gathering framework, little change has occurred in the training or practice of U.S. interrogation professionals over the past 50 years. This paper describes recent historical events that have led to the development of the first unclassified, government-funded research program on the science of interviewing and interrogation. Since 2010, the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) Research Program has identified effective approaches for developing cooperation and rapport, eliciting information, challenging inconsistencies by presenting evidence or information strategically, and assessing credibility using cognitive cues and strategic questioning tactics. The program has also examined the influence of culture and language, and has facilitated the translation of research from the laboratory to the field. In this context, we review the significant contributions of psychologists to understanding and developing ethical, legal, and effective interrogation practices, and we describe important future directions for research on investigative interviewing and interrogation.
... Recent systematic interviews with military and intelligence interrogators, including those who interrogated high-value targets, confirm these findingsprofessionals frequently reference the use of torture as the least effective technique for gaining cooperation, with such tactics seen as more often producing resistance (Narchet, Russano, Kleinman, & Meissner, 2016;Russano, Narchet, Kleinman, & Meissner 2014). It is notable that these findings are consistent with the views of Markus Wolf, chief of the East German foreign intelligence service during much of the Cold War, who asserted that "interrogation…should serve to extract useful information from the prisoner…not to exact revenge by means of intimidation and torture" (Wolf & McElvoy, 1997, pp. ...
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Proponents of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ in the United States have claimed that such methods are necessary for obtaining information from uncooperative terrorism subjects. In the present article, we offer an informed, academic perspective on such claims. Psychological theory and research shows that harsh interrogation methods are ineffective. First, they are likely to increase resistance by the subject rather than facilitate cooperation. Second, the threatening and adversarial nature of harsh interrogation is often inimical to the goal of facilitating the retrieval of information from memory, and therefore reduces the likelihood that a subject will provide reports that are extensive, detailed, and accurate. Third, harsh interrogation methods make lie detection difficult. Analyzing speech content and eliciting verifiable details are the most reliable cues to assessing credibility; however, to elicit such cues subjects must be encouraged to provide extensive narratives, something that does not occur in harsh interrogations. Evidence is accumulating for the effectiveness of rapport-based, information-gathering approaches as an alternative to harsh interrogations. Such approaches promote cooperation, enhance recall of relevant and reliable information, and facilitate assessments of credibility. Given the available evidence that torture is ineffective, why might some laypersons, policy makers, and interrogation personnel support the use of torture? We conclude our review by offering a psychological perspective on this important question.
Policy on officer‐involved shootings is critically reviewed and errors in applying scientific knowledge identified. Identifying and evaluating the most relevant science to a field‐based problem is challenging. Law enforcement administrators with a clear understanding of valid science and application are in a better position to utilize scientific knowledge for the benefit of their organizations and officers. A recommended framework is proposed for considering the validity of science and its application. Valid science emerges via hypothesis testing, replication, extension and marked by peer review, known error rates, and general acceptance in its field of origin. Valid application of behavioral science requires an understanding of the methodology employed, measures used, and participants recruited to determine whether the science is ready for application. Fostering a science–practitioner partnership and an organizational culture that embraces quality, empirically based policy, and practices improves science‐to‐practice translation.
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A careful reading of the KUBARK manual is essential for anyone involved in interrogation, if perhaps for no other reason than to uncover a definition of interrogation that accurately captures the fundamental nature of interroga- tion while also concretely establishing what it is not (i.e., a game between two people to be won or lost). A major stumbling block to the study of inter- rogation, and especially to the conduct of interrogation in field operations, has been the all-too-common misunderstanding of the nature and scope of the discipline. Most observers, even those within professional circles, have unfortunately been influenced by the media’s colorful (and artificial) view of interrogation as almost always involving hostility and the employment of force – be it physical or psychological – by the interrogator against the hap- less, often slow-witted subject. This false assumption is belied by historic trends that show the majority of sources (some estimates range as high as 90 percent) have provided meaningful answers to pertinent questions in re- sponse to direct questioning (i.e., questions posed in an essentially adminis- trative manner rather than in concert with an orchestrated approach designed to weaken the source’s resistance).
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The purpose of this chapter is to review the available research on Human Intelligence (HUMINT) interrogations. We will argue that there has been a recent paradigm shift in the approach to HUMINT interrogations. We will describe the conceptual, methodological, and practical implications of this paradigm shift. The chapter will be structured as follows. First, we will describe the defining characteristics of HUMINT interrogations and outline the scope of our discussion. We will describe how the challenges of HUMINT interrogations may be similar as well as different from interrogations in criminal settings. Second, in order to provide a context for our claim of a paradigm shift, we provide a historical overview of practice and research on HUMINT interrogations. Third, we offer a review of the current state of knowledge about the psychology of HUMINT interrogations, with a particular focus on methods that have been shown to be effective. Finally, we will outline several challenges for future research in this domain, and discuss how research on HUMINT may proceed to fill the gap in current knowledge.
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The discovery of many cases of wrongful conviction in the criminal justice system involving admissions from innocent suspects has led psychologists to examine the factors contributing to false confessions. However, little systematic research has assessed the processes underlying Human Intelligence (HUMINT) interrogations relating to military and intelligence operations. The current article examines the similarities and differences between interrogations in criminal and HUMINT settings, and discusses the extent to which the current empirical literature can be applied to criminal and/or HUMINT interrogations. Finally, areas of future research are considered in light of the need for improving HUMINT interrogation.
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Although analysts and interpreters have been recognized as critical members of human intelligence (HUMINT) interrogation teams, their perceptions of the interrogation process have yet to be explored in any systematic way. In a series of two studies, we interviewed a small number of highly experienced HUMINT analysts and surveyed a group of interpreters with experience supporting interrogations, about their experience with and perceptions of the interrogation process. We explored a variety of topics with each group, including training and selection, role and function, how best to utilize an analyst/interpreter, logistics (e.g., analyst models and interpreter placement), third-party observations/feedback, perceived effectiveness of interrogation techniques, and team dynamics. The results of these studies may be used to establish, for the first time, baseline knowledge and reported best practices about the HUMINT interrogation process from the analyst and interpreter perspectives, which may ultimately influence training and practice models. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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The task force that led to the creation of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) recommended that the HIG fund a program of research aimed at establishing scientifically supported interrogative best practices. One of the ways to identify ‘best practices’ is to rely on direct reporting from subject-matter experts. In this study, 42 highly experienced military and intelligence interrogators were interviewed about their interrogation-related practices and beliefs, including such topics as training and selection, the role of rapport, perceptions regarding the techniques employed, lie detection, and the roles of interpreters and analysts. Interrogators indicated that excellent interpersonal skills on the part of an interrogator, an emphasis on rapport and relationship-building techniques, and the assistance of well-prepared interpreters and analysts are key components of a successful interrogation. It is our hope that the results of this study will stimulate research, influence training models, and ultimately contribute toward an interrogative best-practice model. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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With a few notable exceptions, the research on interrogation, suspect interviewing, and intelligence collection has been predominantly focused on either broad categories of their methods (e.g., information gathering vs. accusatorial models) or very specific techniques (e.g., using open-ended questions, appealing to the source's conscience). The broad categories, however, are not meaningful enough to fully describe the dynamic between interrogator and subject, whereas the specific techniques may be too detailed to understand and research the process of interrogation. To remedy this and advance the academic and operational fields, we identified 71 unique techniques and sorted them into six domains: Rapport and Relationship Building, Context Manipulation, Emotion Provocation, Collaboration, Confrontation/Competition, and Presentation of Evidence. The resulting three-level structure consisting of broad categories, the six domains, and specific techniques form a taxonomy of interrogation methods. In addition, we propose a testable model of how the domains may interact in the process of interrogation. The taxonomy and theoretical model offer heuristic devices for both researchers and practitioners searching for a parsimonious and more meaningful way to describe, research, and understand the interviewing and interrogation of those accused of wrong-doing or possessing guilty knowledge. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
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A great deal of research in the past two decades has been devoted to interrogation and interviewing techniques. This study contributes to the existing literature using an online survey to examine the frequency of use and perceived effectiveness of interrogation methods for up to 152 military and federal-level interrogators from the USA. We focus on the who (objective and subjective interrogator characteristics), the what (situational and detainee characteristics), and the why (intended goal of interrogation). Results indicate that rapport and relationship-building techniques were employed most often and perceived as the most effective regardless of context and intended outcome, particularly in comparison to confrontational techniques. In addition, context was found to be important in that depending on the situational and detainee characteristics and goal, interrogation methods were viewed as more or less effective. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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This field observation examines 58 police interrogators’ rapport-based behaviors with terrorist suspects; specifically, whether rapport helps elicit meaningful intelligence and information. The Observing Rapport-Based Interpersonal Techniques (ORBIT; Alison, Alison, Elntib & Noone, 2012) is a coding framework with 3 elements. The first 2 measures are as follows: (i) 5 strategies adopted from the motivational interviewing (Miller & Rollnick, 2009) literature in the counseling domain: autonomy, acceptance, adaptation, empathy, and evocation and (ii) an “Interpersonal Behavior Circle” (adopted from Interpersonal theories, Leary, 1957) for coding interpersonal interactions between interrogator and suspect along 2 orthogonal dimensions (authoritative-passive and challenging-cooperative); where each quadrant has an interpersonally adaptive and maladaptive variant. The third (outcome) measure of ORBIT includes a measure of evidentially useful information (the “interview yield”) and considers the extent to which suspects reveal information pertaining to capability, opportunity and motive as well as evidence relevant to people, actions, locations and times. Data included 418 video interviews (representing 288 hours of footage), with all suspects subsequently convicted for a variety of terrorist offenses. Structural equation modeling revealed that motivational interviewing was positively associated with adaptive interpersonal behavior from the suspect, which, in turn, increased interview yield. Conversely, even minimal expression of maladaptive interpersonal interrogator behavior increased maladaptive interviewee behavior as well as directly reducing yield. The study provides the first well-defined and empirically validated analysis of the benefits of a rapport-based, interpersonally skilled approach to interviewing terrorists in an operational field setting. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
The art of educing information comprises both process and content. De- pending upon the circumstances, the former may unfold as inherently sim- ple or incredibly complex (e.g., the interrogation of a cooperative, reliable source or of a source who is resistant and deceptive), while the latter may be surprisingly easy or agonizingly difficult (e.g., an interrogation that fo- cuses on the location of a terrorist training camp or one that involves the deconstruction of a complex international financial network). Given the broad spectrum of possibilities within just these two variables, the possible permutations in outcome are essentially infinite. As a result, identifying the essential barriers to success can be an exceptionally vexing challenge.