Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Guide to CIA Interrogation Techniques

There is a new book out: Get The Truth — Former CIA Officers Teach You How To Persuade Anyone To Tell All, by Philip Houston, Michael Floyd and Susan Carnicero.

The three authors are all former CIA agents.

From an FT review:

[W]here this book is interesting is in explaining how much more effectively you get to the truth by playing nice. Interrogation (or as they often, more tellingly, call it, “elicitation”) is about getting someone to reveal something they want to keep to themselves; usually something against their interests.
The secret, they say, is to keep your interlocutor in “short-term thinking mode”, so their mind stays in the room, not on the big picture. If you — talking to them in a calm, low, slow, confident voice — are their only source of outside stimulus you exploit their “inherent vulnerability to influence”. You repeat things over and over: “It’s a psychological truism that the higher the number of instances we hear something, the greater the likelihood we’ll accept it.” You cultivate a “loss of independent thinking”. Above all, you work ever so hard at making sure there is a “lack of immediately identifiable consequences”.
The moment X thinks about what confession might mean — jail; ruination; the elephant treatment — he or she will deny or clam up; if an empathetic interrogator reassures him or her that they understand why he or she has done what they did, and that by talking about it “we can fix this”, he or she is much more likely to cave in and spill.

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