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Interrogation Dos and Don’ts

The Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation techniques, and the question of whether they’re are at odds with the Geneva Conventions, are currently under congressional review. The CIA’s rules appear to be somewhat … fluid. The same can’t be said of the Army. Its “human intelligence collectors” have strict and well-explained guidelines set out in a 384-page handbook,  Army Field Manual FM 2-22.3 (excerpts below and on the following six pages). The field manual was updated last year to restrict the presence of dogs in detainee interviews and add other refinements after allegations of torture surfaced at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

The Army handbook recommends a psychological approach. Military police cannot “take any actions to set conditions for interrogations” such as “softening up” (see below). One chapter spells out tips for “developing rapport” with detainees (Page 2).

The handbook analyzes various subcategories of emotional grilling. These include the “Pride and Ego-Up” line of questioning, in which the interrogatormust take care to use a flattering somewhat-in-awe tone of voice, and speak highly of the source … while remaining believable” (Page 7). The opposite approach, the “Pride and Ego-Down” ploy (Page 8), recommends attacking the subject’s “loyalty, intelligence, abilities, leadership qualities, slovenly appearance, or any other perceived weakness” (Page 7).

The “Fear-Down” method (Page 6) becalms a frightenedsource so that he “wishes to help … in gratitude and in order to maintain the HUMINT collector as the protector.”  Conversely, the “Fear-Up” method “creates a fear within the source” and then “links the elimination or reduction of the fear to cooperation.” The interrogator is put on notice, however, to be “extremely careful that he does not threaten or coerce a source.”

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