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Thread: One stop interrogation & interviewing resource

  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Interrogation Meets T.E. Lawrence

    Moderator's Note

    Five threads have been merged here, some are quite old. The title is unchanged. There are a number of threads on the related debate on the use of torture (un-merged as yet).

    In 2016 three small threads were merged in, notably one with 5k views on intelligence interviewing. A separate, closed thread remains on The USA and interrogation, with 162 posts and 151k views :http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=3041(Ends).


    At the Westhawk blog - Interrogation Meets T.E. Lawrence.

    ... All in all, a good day’s work. Much of the success of this episode can be traced to the rapid delivery of Mr. Jassam’s confession. American interrogators, using the non-coercive techniques in the U.S. Army’s new field manual for interrogations, might eventually deliver equivalent results, but only after a long, drawn-out, and methodical process. The Americans’ conscience will be clean, but the information rendered by this technique will in many cases be unusable for follow-up action or moot (the bombs have already exploded). Perhaps the “ticking bomb” scenario as it relates to the justification of torture is not just hypothetical after all.

    The incident described in this article is one more indicator of how the U.S. military needs to rethink how it approaches low intensity conflict. Instead of an American war in Iraq, this should have been an Iraqi war, with some American advisors assisting Iraqi allies. The deployment of American armored and mechanized infantry brigades is not sustainable in Iraq and will be a non-starter for the next low-intensity conflict the U.S. finds itself in. Conventional American ground combat formations have been culturally unsuited for the task they face in Iraq. And the legal, ethical, and moral constraints on American tactics, techniques, and procedures have resulted in the war dragging on one inconclusive month after another...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-12-2016 at 08:23 AM. Reason: Add Mods Note Feb 19 2015 and Aug 2016.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    If we're going to embrace such practices, I'd like to stop hearing the bleating about we're defending civilization in Iraq. There's little worse than a torturer, but a sanctimonious torturer is a true perversion.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    The new manual sounds like (I haven't seen it, yet) a solution looking for a problem. The old manual forbid torture or coercion; but I understand the Army is dealing with perceptions, not reality, here.

    When commentators like Westhawk, who I now know is completely ignorant of Army Interrogation Doctrine, start treating this as news, instead of explaining that the new manual is eye-wash, and a publicity stunt, I just have to roll my eyes.

    I was an Army Interrogator from 1993 to 1996. I know what the manuals said. I went through the training. An Army Interrogator who resorted to torture would be nailed for a LOLW violation.

    A good interrogation is similar to a job interview, except the guy being interrogated should feel less threatened than your typical job-seeker. In fact a good interrogator should build a rapport with the guy, if he wants to get any good information.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Westhawk, I think, is not encouraging the Army to junk its own standards, but rather embrace torture by our Iraqi allies as a new and welcome form of Iraqization - look, they are so independent, they can even torture suspects on their own - and get more information than Americans as well! He goes on to speculate that if we had only withdrawn most American forces at the beginning of the war and embraced an advisory role, with the Shia Iraqis doing the torturing while the Americans looked on approvingly, then the war would have either (1) ended quickly (2) been able to continue on indefinitely under the media radar.

    What bunk. Iraqi army and police units have been torturing their prisoners since the start of the war - let's not pretend. Ever since the Shia death squads began using power tools in new and interesting ways, violence has only gotten worse, not better. Westhawk is indulging in some cathartic fantasy, perhaps after viewing the latest episode of 24, not serious analysis.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    That's the spirit Westhawk!

    Always make sure tactical expediency trumps strategic disaster. It is always better to feel good while you are losing. (We won't even mention questions of right and wrong. Those are for girly-men.)

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    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Westhawk needs to be slapped. He's been watching '24', and thinks that is training. Let's look at this; if the source had scammed an Iraqi soldier's brother in a some commercial venture, the source is obviously AQ... The small time scam artist gets picked up and tortured into turning over the landlord, who charges a draconian rent. The Westhawk says we should believe this without question and go blow up the usurous landlord's place.

    And this is supposed to improve things in Iraq? Thank you very much, I'll stick with the authorized techniques.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Westhawk has been pushing the whole we should just withdraw and let the Shia cleanse the Sunnis for some time now. Of course, it is shortsighted and unworkable, not to mention morally wrong but what the heck, it gets us out, right?

    Brett

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    It's heartening to see what's been said in this thread, especially by those who are active duty and reservists. I thought this interview with Colonel Stuart Herrington was the best thing I have read on the subject of torture:

    http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/Trans...5-a93127f6eed7

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Also instructive is The Man in the Snow White Cell, by Merle Pribbenow.

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    Maybe it's easier to run a clean show when most of the assets don't have a whole lot to give up. Who trumps who with high value targets? Does the military keep high value grabs? Does the Iraqi government have final disposition over anyone captured? If so, it's out of sight and out of mind and the clean slate marches on and the manual isn't ruptured. I think the line gets blurred with considerations of terrorism and insurgency.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default The Slippery Cliff

    My experience in Lebanon and later in Rwanda just hammered home everything I had been taught as an intelligence officer. There is no "slippery slope" when it comes to torture. There is simply a cliff. Those who discuss "grey areas" are simply lost in the fog of poor judgement that screens the edge of the cliff. "They" torture, maim, and rape; we don't. That difference is central to our beliefs and is the core element of our strategic message in a war over ideas. Dressing anything less up as a necessary tactic in a war against terror only corrupts the message and the messengers.

    If that sounds like I am being overly moral on this issue, you are hearing me loud and clear.

    Tom

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    Council Member Dr Jack's Avatar
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    Default Torture

    Fortunately, the new COIN manual (FM 3-24) is very explicit in stating that torture and tolerating these types of "interrogation techniques" are unlawful and self-defeating:

    1-132. Illegitimate actions are those involving the use of power without authority—whether committed by government officials, security forces, or counterinsurgents. Such actions include unjustified or excessive use of force, unlawful detention, torture, and punishment without trial. Efforts to build a legitimate government though illegitimate actions are self-defeating, even against insurgents who conceal themselves amid noncombatants and flout the law. Moreover, participation in COIN operations by U.S. forces must follow United States law, including domestic laws, treaties to which the United States is party, and certain HN laws. (See appendix D.) Any human rights abuses or legal violations committed by U.S. forces quickly become known throughout the local populace and eventually around the world. Illegitimate actions undermine both long- and short-term COIN efforts.
    A great article that illustrates the ill effects of torture is in the Summer 2006 edition of Parameters by Lou DiMarco entitled Losing the Moral Compass: Torture and Guerre Revolutionnaire in the Algerian War:

    http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/p...er/dimarco.pdf

    The official condoning of torture by French Army leaders had numerous negative effects that were not envisioned because of the army leadership’s intensive focus on tactical success. The negative results of torture included decreasing France’s ability to affect the conflict’s strategic center of gravity; internal fragmentation of the French Army officer corps; decreased moral authority of the army; setting the conditions for even greater violations of moral and legal authority; and providing a major information operations opportunity to the insurgency.

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    The subject has been discussed before on SWC, in a slightly different context, here and here. Although this is a subject very close to me, there is nothing I feel like adding at this time that goes beyond what I stated in those two threads. Essentially, I am of the same mind as Tom on the issue.

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    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Tom,
    "Overly moral"... Moral is an absolute, one is moral or one is not, just like integrity. The war on terror is so emotionally loaded that it is easy for us to forget what is absolute and what has degrees. If I haven't made myself clear, I agree with you, and we cannot afford to fall of that cliff.

    "'It's not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray. . . .'
    'There's no greys, only white that's got grubby.'" Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    In the April 25 issue of New Yorker magazine there is a long article in which the executive producer of "24" trots out all the "you would do it too" arguments.

    It is very interesting that all the real soldiers and agents quoted in the article condemn torture while the suits eagerly throw themselves off the cliff Tom talks about; throw themselves off while vigorously waving the flag.

    I would put in a link to the article but I don't know how.

  16. #16
    Council Member Dr Jack's Avatar
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    Default Producer of "24" New Yorker article

    Here's the link:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...9fa_fact_mayer

    Each season of “24,” which has been airing on Fox since 2001, depicts a single, panic-laced day in which Jack Bauer—a heroic C.T.U. agent, played by Kiefer Sutherland—must unravel and undermine a conspiracy that imperils the nation. Terrorists are poised to set off nuclear bombs or bioweapons, or in some other way annihilate entire cities. The twisting story line forces Bauer and his colleagues to make a series of grim choices that pit liberty against security. Frequently, the dilemma is stark: a resistant suspect can either be accorded due process—allowing a terrorist plot to proceed—or be tortured in pursuit of a lead. Bauer invariably chooses coercion. With unnerving efficiency, suspects are beaten, suffocated, electrocuted, drugged, assaulted with knives, or more exotically abused; almost without fail, these suspects divulge critical secrets.
    ----
    Surnow, who has jokingly called himself a “right-wing nut job,” shares his show’s hard-line perspective. Speaking of torture, he said, “Isn’t it obvious that if there was a nuke in New York City that was about to blow—or any other city in this country—that, even if you were going to go to jail, it would be the right thing to do?”
    Much more at the link. It's hard to believe the show is as popular as it is... and disheartening that many blindly agree with these arguments.

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    Well, lets all watch tenet on 60 minutes sunday ight and buy his book. As far as torture/abuse, in a long term solution we always aspire for our allies to embrace our norms for satndards of conduct, so lets be careful of the size of the paintbrush we use when we discuss some of our allies. We are not going to change behavior their overnight or even in 5 years, it take about a generation.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default The Tortured Lives of Interrogators

    Veterans of Iraq, N. Ireland and Mideast Share Stark Memories
    By Laura Blumenfeld, Washington Post Staff Writer

    The American interrogator was afraid. Of what and why, he couldn't say. He was riding the L train in Chicago, and his throat was closing.

    Being an interrogator, Lagouranis discovered, can be torture. At first, he was eager to try coercive techniques. In training at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., instructors stressed the Geneva Conventions, he recalled, while classmates privately admired Israeli and British methods. "The British were tough," Lagouranis said. "They seemed like real interrogators."

    The world of the interrogator is largely closed. But three interrogators allowed a rare peek into their lives -- an American rookie who served with the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion and two veteran interrogators from Britain and Israel. The veterans, whose wartime experiences stretch back decades, are more practiced at finding moral balance. They use denial, humor, indignation. Even so, these older men grapple with their own fears -- and with a clash of values.
    More at the link.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default Screening for Interrogation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    At an even more personal level, I used to train my HUMINT'ers in the principles of indicator analysis for interrogation. The baseline of information regarding kinesics, cognition and emotion is gathered during the first phase of the interrogation (or, if the situation allows, during the first screening interview). In this case, the indicators developed are used, not for "warning" in the standard sense, but to alert the interrogator to deception, potential leads and openings for manipulation of any one or all of the three mentioned aspects of the source.
    This may be off topic but it is pertinent to the above. One of the problems we used to have training interrogators was that the training used to concentrate on the face to face issues. The two areas left un-tapped and never correctly trained for where the before and after. In my opinion, these are usually more important, and denigrated at the table of cunning interrogator ego.

    Circumstances of capture/detention and detailed back story were never really adequately captured in exercise briefs, and nor were "all sources" exploitation, in the aftermath. It all meant we were very likely to end up interrogating people we did not need to talk to at all. Time is and human resources are very finite.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen
    This may be off topic but it is pertinent to the above. One of the problems we used to have training interrogators was that the training used to concentrate on the face to face issues. The two areas left un-tapped and never correctly trained for where the before and after. In my opinion, these are usually more important, and denigrated at the table of cunning interrogator ego.

    Circumstances of capture/detention and detailed back story were never really adequately captured in exercise briefs, and nor were "all sources" exploitation, in the aftermath. It all meant we were very likely to end up interrogating people we did not need to talk to at all. Time is and human resources are very finite.
    The face-to-face interrogation is the most difficult bit for most, which is why so much training time is devoted to that aspect. Yet you are correct in that the before and after phases are just as important – but in my experience in the US Army is that they are not neglected in training (at the schoolhouse or at the units), just not discussed as much outside the field of interrogation. I’ve been through the Brit joint services interrogation training, and they did not exactly neglect those aspects either.

    Also in my experience, once the newly-minted collector has moved on to an operational unit, in-house unit training often does very well in covering the screening, planning & prep and the interrogation aspects – it is the further development of report writing skills that tends to suffer post-schoolhouse. (of course, that’s just my personal experience in a limited number of units – as is usual, the overall reality at other units probably covers the spectrum from limited and poor quality training to outstanding comprehensive scenario exercises)

    The aspect of intelligence support to interrogation and planning and prep for the event, is absolutely critical and is recognized as such by every professional in the field that I am aware of.

    However, in the tremendous amount of media coverage and discussion of interrogation methods over the past several years, I’ve seen almost nothing that discusses planning and preparation for, or intelligence support to, interrogation. And absolutely nothing that deals with the tedious nuts and bolts of writing any of the variety of intelligence reports that may be produced from an interrogation. Those aspects are dull and boring for public consumption compared with heated discussion of what constitutes abuse of a source.

    Chapter 6 of the current FM 2-22.3 deals with Screening, and Chapter 7 covers Planning and Preparation. Paragraph 6-3 speaks to your final point:
    The resources (time and personnel) allocated to screening must be balanced against those required for interrogations, debriefings, and other collection methodologies. Although screening is not in itself an information collection technique, it is vital to the rapid collection of information. Through screening, the effectiveness of limited collection assets can be maximized by targeting those assets against the sources with the highest potential of providing key information. Screening requires experienced individuals with maturity and judgment who are totally knowledgeable of the collection requirements and able to make well-reasoned decisions based on limited information. Collection (interrogation, debriefing, and elicitation) can be integrated into screening activities; however, it slows the screening process and decreases the number of potential sources that can be screened.
    When I said ….if the situation allows, during the first screening interview., I did not mean to imply that the screening process may be dumped. Although it is often abbreviated, and certain effective methods of screening may not resemble those taught at the schoolhouse (the Brits taught one very effective method that will probably never be seen at Huachuca), screening in some form is always conducted. This holds true whether the situation involves a single collector out working with the infantry or if it’s dealing with a detainee that's been evac’ed to the JDIC. What I was referring to in my statement was that in many situations the individual who will conduct the interrogation does not conduct the screening – or is not even physically present to observe the screening.

    The ideal, practicable in many operational scenarios in the COE, is to for one collector to conduct the screening and then to shift directly into interrogation if the source warrants. The manual’s reference to the integration of collection and screening that it slows the screening process and decreases the number of potential sources that can be screened is really only applicable when you are dealing with large numbers of prisoners at one time. When dealing with individual detainees, or prisoners in smaller numbers, it is far more effective to integrate the process. Breaks can be taken to obtain/verify information necessary to support the interrogation, but it is almost always more effective if the source is dealt with by one collector throughout the initial screening and first interrogation. The collector’s development of source indicators, tells, leads – whatever label you prefer to slap on it – begins from the moment he first lays eyes on the source. The obstacles, as always, are the language capabilities and experience level of the collector.

    And all of that means absolutely nothing if the information obtained can’t be put clearly and concisely in a report that has meaning for the commander.

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