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FBI Wants To "Advance the Science of Interrogation" 252

Posted by samzenpus
from the tell-me-everything dept.
coondoggie writes "From deep in the Department of Creepy today I give this item: The FBI this week put out a call for new research 'to advance the science and practice of intelligence interviewing and interrogation.' The part of the FBI that is requesting the new research isn't out in the public light very often: the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which according to the FBI was chartered in 2009 by the National Security Council and includes members of the CIA and Department of Defense, to 'deploy the nation's best available interrogation resources against detainees identified as having information regarding terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies.'"
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FBI Wants To "Advance the Science of Interrogation"

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    They had it pretty much perfected during the Inquisition. We've slid backwards since then.
    • by Auroch (1403671)
      So, where do I go to get my MA in interrogation? Or is it an M.Sc? I'm not talking about an MBA - that's self-inflicted torture.

      Also, how long until universities are diluting the techniques, and offering it as an undergraduate degree?
    • They still have enhanced interrogation techniques and still can do inquisition like activities only now it's something you can't prove they are doing in court because the technology is more sophisticated.

      The real question is why does the FBI need this interrogation technology? Who is it for?

  • 1984 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:12PM (#39668637)
    Hey guys I heard the ministry of love in 1984 had some pretty sweet ideas on interrogation. Perhaps you guys can take a look at those for inspiration.
    • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by siddesu (698447) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:17PM (#39668681)
      I am sure they have heard the theory that coercion does not produce useful intelligence. I'd assume they have in mind some kind of truth serum rather than a big basement with torture implements.
      • by TWX (665546)
        No, but an inside man could. Which was a featured part of 1984 and the film Stalag 17. Those who interrogate would have to place detainees in close proximity to agents, subject both (or give the appearance) to uncomfortable experiences, and let trust develop, so the agent can get information. Not easy, not quick, not cheap, but might possibly be effective.
      • Oh, that is a huge exaggeration.
        as long as the subject remains lucid, and you have some way of verifying the information, torture is a pretty simple idea.
        Make the subject want the torture to end more then he wants to not give up the information (it is identical to payment/bribery).
        Yes, we know that it can be used in stupid ways, like getting people to admit to anything, but you would hope that the FBI knows enough about the uses and weaknesses of torture to not get into trouble like that.

        • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by paiute (550198) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:20PM (#39669163)

          you have some way of verifying the information

          If I can verify information, why am I torturing anyone?

        • by siddesu (698447)

          The way I read this, they want the kind of stuff that is in the head of only one guy, the mastermind stuff. If that's the premise, I kinda fail to see how they verify such details, or prevent someone from pulling a Keyser Soze on them.

          It is quite telling that torture was liberally used in practically all widely known trials that relied on fake confessions in Stalin's Russia, yet I haven't seen a lot of references about torture when real foreign intelligence agents were involved. Of course, it may just be

      • I am sure they have heard the theory that coercion does not produce useful intelligence. I'd assume they have in mind some kind of truth serum rather than a big basement with torture implements.

        Picture this. It happened a few years ago, and was likely perpetrated by British agents. You and your husband are grabbed by masked men and stuffed into a truck. You are held in a dark tight cell and have no idea why you have been imprisoned or when or even if you will be released. You are then strapped to a board. Duct tape is wrapped around your feet. Then around your legs. Then upwards, pinning your arms. Upwards to your chest. Then over your face. One eye is taped open, so you can't blink, while

        • by Ash Vince (602485) *

          Picture this. It happened a few years ago, and was likely perpetrated by British agents.

          Not quite.

          I am guessing you mean Abdelhakim Belhadj (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdelhakim_Belhadj)

          It was most likely the flying him half way round the world bit was perpetrated by US Agents since the US has the infrastructure to do this (ie, the black flights program). Us British just provided the land that the his rendition flight refuelled at and the information on where to kidnap him from. Not that this makes us any less complicit but you might as well be factually accurate :)

    • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AHuxley (892839) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:47PM (#39668895) Homepage Journal
      Diesel Therapy - moving people around in stress positions with no sleep, food, meds... lost in the system with your lawyer making calls.
      Moving people around the jail system in cold, un cleaned cells for a few days- make a fuss and you get restraints and meds.
      Mix in some pain compliance along the way and lost more paper work...
      You are then found, re united with your family, good legal team and then get a one time offer to sign away years and inform...
      Mix in state and federal, get bail form your state and a face federal case as you walk out ... no refunds.
      Can you still afford that fancy lawyer? Risk a federal court with a 85%+++ conviction rate?
      Now the laws for the "duration of the armed conflict" set in ... welcome to the mystery that could be "indefinite" and a new type of legal team. i.e. "You Don't Get a Lawyer"
  • by siddesu (698447) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:13PM (#39668647)
    Just in case.
  • or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:26PM (#39668745)

    "against detainees identified as having information regarding terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies."

    or

    "against hacker"

    or

    "against protestors"

    or

    "against any person we deem not conforming for normal standards"

  • "Uh, we know what we want to do isn't legal and isn't morally acceptable in a civilized society, or else we wouldn't be asking for specific permission now via scientific investigation because we would already be doing it, but we think torture is definitely an effective interrogation technique, so..."
    • by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:56PM (#39668967)

      "Uh, we know what we want to do isn't legal and isn't morally acceptable in a civilized society,...

      Interrogation and intelligence interviews certainly are legal and morally acceptable in a civilized society. Do you think we're supposed to catch bad guys and then say "you sit over there, we aren't going to ask you anything about what your friends are planning because someone told us it wasn't morally acceptable to interview you"? Do you think that other civilized societies don't interrogate anyone?

      What isn't legal or acceptable is torture, and if you read the fine article you'd notice that nothing at all was said about coming up with new and better torture methods, only evaluation existing interrogation methods to see how those could be improved.

      Classifying this as "department of creepy" displays the author's bias. That it comes from NetworkWorld makes as much sense as the Zimmerman story that appeared in slashdot recently. Neither one has any special relevance to nerds or networks.

      • by elucido (870205)

        "Uh, we know what we want to do isn't legal and isn't morally acceptable in a civilized society,...

        Interrogation and intelligence interviews certainly are legal and morally acceptable in a civilized society. Do you think we're supposed to catch bad guys and then say "you sit over there, we aren't going to ask you anything about what your friends are planning because someone told us it wasn't morally acceptable to interview you"? Do you think that other civilized societies don't interrogate anyone?

        What isn't legal or acceptable is torture, and if you read the fine article you'd notice that nothing at all was said about coming up with new and better torture methods, only evaluation existing interrogation methods to see how those could be improved.

        Classifying this as "department of creepy" displays the author's bias. That it comes from NetworkWorld makes as much sense as the Zimmerman story that appeared in slashdot recently. Neither one has any special relevance to nerds or networks.

        You really think with all the drones, spy satellites, wiretapped internet, hidden cameras and informants everywhere that they'd need to sit someone down in a room and interrogate them?

        This isn't about good and bad guys. There's good and bad guys on both sides. It's about whether or not interrogations of this sort are still necessary. An overt interrogation is for intimidation. Why do you have to ask anyone what they are doing and try to get anyone to betray their friends when you can use technological means

        • by TheLink (130905)

          You really think with all the drones, spy satellites, wiretapped internet, hidden cameras and informants everywhere that they'd need to sit someone down in a room and interrogate them?

          There are limitations to technology, and the cameras and wiretaps aren't everywhere yet.

          When you're talking about crime why do you feel it's okay to interrogate any suspects? The suspect has a right to remain silent. There is no reason to interrogate anyone based on anything other than national security and I'm not convinced interrogation is the key to national security.

          That's completely stupid. You interrogate people because even if they have a right to remain silent they still talk anyway! And very often people actually give you correct information that incriminates them.

          Go watch this "Don't talk to the police" video:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE&feature=related [youtube.com]

        • by dwillden (521345)
          Absolutely we need to sit down in a room with someone and interrogate them. We learned that lesson when we went into Bosnia, after the Clinton administration had gutted the HUMINT assets of our country because of all the great things our technology could do. Then we quickly realized all the things that technology can't do. All those drones and satellites can't see inside buildings or caves. They can't tell if that farm truck was loading fertilizer to be used for fertilizing or for building bombs.

          Not
  • Here's an idea. Stand up, in your cubicle, and ask out loud 'does anyone here know how to perform a formal investigation?'

    • by Shoten (260439)

      Here's an idea. Stand up, in your cubicle, and ask out loud 'does anyone here know how to perform a formal investigation?'

      You laugh, but at Fox News [huffingtonpost.com] they apparently do!

  • Hey, ya gotta give 'em credit for trying to avoid torture. Technology will solve it eventually, though: just plug a cable in the back of their neck and download everything... so long as you can get the "detainee" to cough up his mental encryption key.

    • by elucido (870205)

      And it's because we know technology is so advanced that we know torture is so wrong. We know that it's damn near impossible for anyone to keep a secret from the government so why does the government need "interrogations" when they know practically everything about anyone?

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Yes the FBI and CIA have the skill set to talk to anyone and work on a case as they have always done.
        Work with us, face court, a package of court options or payments or one last set up and freedom.
        The rush for the US to normalise "interrogations" seems to be to provide cover for past political actions, the work of allies and friends around the world.
        Why allow free internal FBI methods when you can sell/contract expensive, tested "interrogation" methods?
        All the guards, hidden sites, weapons training, tra
      • by tftp (111690)

        why does the government need "interrogations" when they know practically everything about anyone?

        Despite the popular paranoia, the government knows very little about anyone; and what it does know is largely noise. Big Brother may know where you had been with your car, and it may know what you bought at a corner grocery store. But the government doesn't know what you are thinking, what you are planning, what - among gigabytes of miscellaneous data that your browser downloaded from the Internet is importan

    • by Tore S B (711705)
      For hell's sake! "Trying to avoid torture" isn't something that gives you credit. Not using torture is something that is expected of civilized people. Period.
      • by macraig (621737)

        Considering that even after electing a "transparent" Democratic President we *still* have torture protocols in place, we should be happy for even getting them to be apologetic about it. Getting anything more ethical than that out of 'em will require the use of some re-purposed plowshares, if you get my drift.

    • Would you like the red pill.... or the blue one?
  • Already failed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by backslashdot (95548) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:33PM (#39668807)

    If your interrogation program includes torture, you've already failed.

  • You mean forcing them to listen to Kanye West's 'Gold Digger' for the 1000th time isn't as effective as it once was?
  • I find booze works pretty well.

  • If you keep someone visually disoriented, they can't keep track of their facts and lies and the paths between them.

    Ever try to think of details while viewing a fast moving screen in front of you or when on a moving ride at the county fair. It is very difficult.

    Hence, I would provide a visually disorienting "questioning center".

  • what about some kind of VR interrogation?

  • by s-whs (959229) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:56PM (#39669361)
    And that is psychological analysis using facial expressions and language used.

    See the TV series 'Lie to me' which is based on an actual psychologist Ekman.

    It's known from analysis of police interrogations here in NL that being friendly in interrrogating gives most results. Even if they are totally oncooperative you can talk in such a way that people want to tell you something, because they want to brag or show how clever they are.

    But I guess the FBI hasn't learned that lesson yet...

    Btw., I think such analysis should also be applied to all politicians. It would prevent getting sociopaths like George Wanker Bush becoming presidents, but in lower positions too, such a-holes do enormous damage to society.
    • by djl4570 (801529)
      Please mod parent up. Paul Ekman blazed a trail in reading body language and facial expressions. It is important to remember that detecting a lie does not tell you what the person is lying about, and you will not detect lies if the person believes their lies such as a pathological liar or a psychopath.
      I look forward to the day when politicians, prosecutors, journalists and accused criminals are all subjected to such scrutiny but only after the techniques have been carefully documented and replicate
    • by zzatz (965857)

      The FBI has learned this lesson. They want to get better at it. The US military has learned this lesson. They want to get better at it. I've talked with a US Army trained interrogator, and he was trained to make the subject comfortable and become his friend.

      But in any organization, there are those with their own agendas. Some cops know that Joe Blow is a thief, has gotten away with stealing many times, and they don't really care if he's guilty of this specific robbery. Those kind of cops will coerce a confe

  • If they just said please once in a while ...

  • is waterboarding and intimidation and beatings not working anymore?

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