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Get the Truth: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Persuade Anyone to Tell All Paperback – Import, 21 April 2016
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About the Author
- Publisher : Icon Books Ltd (21 April 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1785780298
- ISBN-13 : 978-1785780295
- Item Weight : 213 g
- Dimensions : 12.95 x 1.65 x 19.81 cm
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Only rank amateurs, the authors claim, would ever try to extract confessions and information by upping the voltage or giving the thumbscrews another turn. The only approach that has any chance of success is exactly the opposite.
Those who really know what they’re doing try to take all traces of violence or confrontation out of an interrogation, turning it instead into an interview based on chummy sympathy and understanding. Good interrogators will lower their voice, talk slowly, claim empathy with their suspects and then — well, and then just keep on talking lowly and slowly seems to be the gist. Because what appears to work best is an interrogator who chats on and on, quietly, reassuringly, understandingly, often repetitively.
‘We all make mistakes, Brian. Nobody’s saying we don’t make mistakes because, you know, Brian, we all make mistakes,’ and so on and on and on.
The comforting drone of the interrogator’s monologue may sound mindless, but it is carefully created and should contain five key features. These are:
1. rationalising the action (you needed the money);
2. projecting the blame (it was their fault for not paying you enough);
3. minimising the seriousness (we’ve all nicked Post-it notes);
4. socialising the situation (this kind of thing happens a lot, it’s nothing we haven’t seen a million times);
5. and emphasising the truth (if you could explain what happened when you took the money, that would be great and would help us all move on).
The skilled interrogator will mimic thorough understanding of the worst crimes to keep up the pretence of being on the suspect’s side, even when dealing with acts of terrible violence, gross betrayals, fraud, theft, murder. At the same time, the interrogator will be intent on keeping that suspect locked into a mode of short-term thinking — keeping the focus on particulars and specifics, trying like crazy to stop the suspect considering the long-term consequences of telling an implicating truth and being found guilty.
The appendix of the book includes a commentary that touches on the applicability of this approach to jurisprudence, selling and negotiation.
Particularly valuable is the discussion of the extent to which the interrogator should lie to build rapport with their subject. Less good are allusions to the schlock psychology of mirroring, touching elbows and so forth. Simple tips like bringing donuts and sandwiches to the meeting are enough.
All of this coincides with my experience and that of my father (a successful counter-terrorist). The book declares that it is not a position paper on the CIA’s so-called “advanced interrogation techniques”. Nevertheless, it is an overdue counterweight to the US’s unfortunate reputation for brutality.