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In this special edition, titled ‘Investigative Interviewing for the Purposes of Gathering Intelligence’ (September 2015):
The guest editors introduce this special edition of International Interviewing: Research and Practice, on the subject of Investigative Interviewing for the Purposes of Gathering Intelligence.
Contrary to the harsh ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques employed during CIA operations on the War on Terror, contemporary research demonstrates that rapport building is a more effective way of achieving positive outcomes in interviews with general offender populations. Comparatively less research has explored the role of rapport with recalcitrant suspects, particularly suspected terrorists. We define a ‘terrorist suspect’ as an individual that a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion of involvement in a terrorist offence, with an ‘investigative interview’/’interrogation’ as the formal questioning of the suspect by one or more police officers following the suspect’s arrest. This paper aims to develop the internal coherence of rapport approaches in interviews with terrorist suspects by providing a review of how and why rapport underpins successful police interrogations with suspected terrorists. We examine the much misunderstood and ill defined concept of rapport and how recent recent research has observed and measured rapport in operational field settings. We then examine the conceptual basis of an emerging research and training tool, ORBIT, and outline the reasons why rapport and tools such as ORBIT should be effective in (i) reducing counter interrogation tactics and (ii) increasing the amount of evidence and information generated. The review concludes by acknowledging the practical implications this has for interrogation and human intelligence practices.
To date, research on interrogation has not given much attention to how social and cultural forces possibly influence the interactions between interrogator and detainee. In this paper, we applied the principles of Social Identity Theory (SIT) to explore interrogators’ perceptions of how effective various interrogation methods are with detainees who are similar to themselves (i.e., in-group members) versus those who are dissimilar (i.e., out-group members). The social identity characteristics measured were culture, language, gender, and age. Using a sample of 225 interrogators and investigative interviewers from 10 countries who participated in an anonymous online survey, we found support for our hypothesis that interrogators were significantly more likely to report interrogation methods (defined as the six domains of Kelly et al.’s (2013) interrogation taxonomy) as being ‘very effective’ with in-group detainees than with out-group detainees. Additionally, we found that interrogators who reported higher levels of effectiveness and comfort with detainees from other cultures were significantly less likely to demonstrate in-group bias. Implications for practice and future research were considered.
For the foreseeable future, gathering information from others is likely to remain a fundamental goal for those concerned with protecting national and international security. A central challenge facing all information gatherers is to identify how a sender (the information collector) might ‘manage’ a receiver (the information holder) to best effect, that is how to encourage the receiver to move from a position of witholding to imparting information. Additional challenges arise from recent moves away from coercive, interrogative methods towards intelligence interviewing, and the increasing use of synthetic environments as communication channels, and so how senders might persuade receivers when interacting in synthetic environments. Here we disciss how the information gathering literature, with reference to intelligence interviewing, might advance in the face of such change, suggesting that those tasked with developing bespoke plans, or operational accords might wish to consider social cognition and cognitive styles theory to support positive outcomes in synthetic environments, without commanding them.
Neurolinguistic programming (NLP), intended as methods of influence and communication, was created by observing and categorizing assumed expert psychotherapists’ behaviours in the 1970s. Since then, NLP has been offered not only as a way to treat a variety of physical and mental health issues, maximize human potential and improve interpersonal interactions, but also as a method to increase the effectiveness of criminal interviews and interrogations. However, research has consistently failed to find support for the basic premises of NLP. In lieu of NLP, empirically-based communication and negotiation methods (including active listening and verbal and non-verbal behavior matching and mimicry) should be used as a means to build rapport and trust between parties.