Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Educing Information - The Reality of Interrogation

The objective of interrogations, interviews, and elicitations is to get accurate, timely, reliable information which can then lead to timely, reliable decisions or actions. This is true of intelligence operations, law enforcement investigations, or our own evaluations of sales pitches by telemarketers and door-to-door salespersons.

The public often misunderstands the conduct and purpose of interrogations.

"A major stumbling block to the study of interrogation, 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 hapless, 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 response to direct questioning (i.e., questions posed in an admnistrative manner rather than in concert with an orchestrated approach designed to weaken the source's resistance."

This quotation was taken from the Intelligence Science Board's 374-page study entitled "Educing Information: Interrogation: Science and Art - Foundations for the Future". "Educing information" refers to information elicitation and strategic debriefing as well as to interrogation. The study is not a "how-to" manual to teach practitioners how to conduct interrogations. Rather, it is a series of scientific papers intended to help all of us better understand how information can be educed.

The papers included in the study are:

  • The Costs and Benefits of Interrogation in the Struggle Against Terrorism by Robert Coulam
  • Approaching Truth: Behavioral Science Lessons on Educing Information from Human Sources by Randy Borum
  • Research on Detection of Deception: What We Know vs. What We Think We Know by Gary Hazlett
  • Mechanical Detection of Deception: A Short Review by Kristin E. Heckman and Mark D. Happel
  • KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Review: Observations of an Interrogator - Lessons Learned and Avenues for Further Research by Steven M. Kleinman
  • Custodial Interrogations: What We Know, What We Do, and What We Can Learn from Law Enforcement Experiences by Ariel Neuman and Daniel Salinas-Serrano
  • Barriers to Success: Critical Challenges in Developing a New Educing Information Paradigm by Steven M. Kleinman
  • Negotiation Theory and Practice: Explosing Ideas to Aid Information Eduction by Daniel L. Shapiro
  • Negotiation Theory and Educing Information: Practical Concepts and Tools by M.P. Rowe
  • Options for Scientific research on Eduction Practices by Paul Lehner
  • Educing Information Bibliography (Annotated) by Theresa Dillon

(Note: The Intelligence Science Board advises the Director of National Intelligence and senior Intelligence Community leaders on emerging issues of special scientific and technical importance to the Intelligence Community.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coincidentally, Secrecy News just wrote about this report too.

11:46 AM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


There's nothing at all coincidental about it. If you follow the link in my post, you'll see that I got it from the Federation of American Scientists website. FAS's Steve Aftergood writes Secrecy News. A goodly number of the links I post on Whitecaps comes from FAS.

1:37 PM, January 15, 2007  

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