1st Edition

Tradecraft Primer A Framework for Aspiring Interrogators

By Paul Charles Topalian Copyright 2016
    156 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    156 Pages
    by Routledge

    Tradecraft Primer: A Framework for Aspiring Interrogators is a timely and relevant reference manual for a new generation of professionals as we enter a new era in our nation’s interrogation programs. A must-read for anyone thinking of entering the interrogation profession, whether in law enforcement, the military, or intelligence, it provides fresh insights from the latest empirical-based studies that will enhance your results and contribute to best practices. It challenges past beliefs and legacy interrogation practices of previous generations by capturing novel approaches that no longer rely on physical and psychological coercion, unethical or questionable ruses, or abusive mistreatment.

    Importantly, this primer also opens the door to valuable lessons from contemporary experts in human motivation and more effective social influence methodologies and tactics while you learn of the art and science behind rapport-building, effective communication constructs, and the influence of interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics for use inside the interrogation room. In addition, it captures the "interrogation cycle" as a handy reference graphic. By reading this primer, you will learn how to reduce incidences of false confessions, mitigate eyewitness misidentification, and gain simple contemporary insights to outsmart liars and discern truth-tellers from deceivers.

    As an advocate for a sea change in the way our nation’s interrogation programs are run and managed, this primer encourages a team approach to interrogations and emphasizes active engagement and oversight by supervisors in efforts to corroborate interrogation outcomes. It also asserts the need for the adoption of a common code of ethics shared among all practitioners—an ethical code created in deference to our nation’s Constitution, statutes, international treaties, and the policies of our nation’s leaders. One that encompasses the pledge and built on two underlying principles: Do no harm and respect human rights.

    Getting Our Terms Straight
    The Need to Seek Common Ground
    Redefining the Term "Interrogation"
    Comparing Law Enforcement and Intelligence Interrogations
    Other Associative Terms to Understand
    Law Enforcement Custodial Interrogations
    Law Enforcement Noncustodial Interrogations
    Strategic Debriefing
    Tactical Questioning

    Interrogation’s Tortuous Past
    Snapshots from Distant History
    The Qin Dynasty
    The Roman Empire
    The Dark Ages
    Salem Witch Trial
    Napoleon Speaks Out!
    The Wickersham Commission
    Evolving Case Law
    Brown v. Mississippi (1936) and Chambers v. Florida (1940)
    Rochin v. California (1952)
    Miranda v. California (1966)
    Lessons from World War II
    The Cold War Era
    The U.S. Experience in the Korean War
    On the Heels of the Vietnam Conflict
    The U.S. Experience in the Vietnam Conflict

    Enter the Global War on Terror
    Black Sites
    Enhanced Interrogation Techniques
    The Evolving Army Field Manual
    A Major Force for Change

    Rights of Persons in Custody
    Constitutional Provisions Influencing Custodial Interrogations
    Fifth Amendment
    Sixth Amendment
    Eighth Amendment
    Fourteenth Amendment

    International Treaties Opposing Torture
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    Geneva Conventions and Common Article 3
    UN Convention against Torture
    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
    Istanbul Protocol
    U.S. Laws, Statutes, and Executive Orders against Torture
    Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA)
    War Crime Act (WCA) – 18 USC
    Federal Torture Statute – 18 USC §
    Detainee Treatment Act (DTA)
    Military Commissions Act (MCA)
    Executive Order 13491

    Challenges Yet Ahead

    On Being Human
    Understanding Memory
    Associated Factors Influencing Outcomes
    Reality Mapping
    Passage of Time
    Suggestibility and Memory Distortion
    Situational Dynamics of Capture
    Physical and Emotional Isolation
    Guilt, Shame, and Humiliation
    Physiological and Cognitive Factors
    Physical Setting
    Infliction of Pain and Threats of Bodily Injury

    Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Dynamics
    The Science of Rapport
    Choose Your Words, Demeanor, and Tenor Wisely
    Six Key Elements of Influencing Interpersonal Dynamics
    Five Core Needs Influencing Interpersonal Dynamics

    Put These Concepts into Action

    The Interrogation Cycle
    The Law Enforcement Interrogation Cycle
    Collect Relevant Background Information
    Frame Initial Questions
    Noncustodial Interview and Assessment
    Decision to Release or Detain in Custody, Mirandize, and Isolate
    Develop Your Interrogation Strategy
    Seek the Miranda Waiver
    The Custodial Interrogation
    Corroborate Outcomes
    Decision to Refer to a Prosecutor, Release or Detain, and Repeat Cycle

    The Intelligence Interrogation Cycle
    Identify Threats and Priority Intelligence Gaps
    Screen Detainees
    Frame Initial Questions
    Perform Pre-Interrogation Interview
    Craft and Execute Your Interrogation Strategy
    Corroborate Responses

    About Confessions
    Three Factors Influencing Confessions
    Strength of Evidence
    Time Commitment
    Number of Tactics

    Other Factors Influencing Confessions
    Wrongful Convictions
    Interrogation-Induced False Confessions
    Eyewitness Misidentification
    Jailhouse Informants

    Facing Up to the Problem
    Minimizing False Confessions
    Eyewitness Reforms

    Unmasking Deception
    Outsmarting Liars
    Integrity Is Not a Stable Trait
    People Make Poor Lie Detectors
    The Big Four of Nonverbal Cues
    Content Analysis
    Statement Analysis
    Linguistic Markers

    Facial Expressions
    Uncovering Deception in a Co-Conspiratorial Context
    Other Ways to Outsmart Liars
    Time Well Spent
    Being a Good Listener
    Other Techniques

    Calling for a Code of Ethics
    The Need for a Code of Ethics
    Leading the Change
    Final Thoughts


    Paul Charles Topalian

    This book, as the title suggests, is a primer for those who aspire to practice interrogation as a vocation. It is a solid reference for any interrogator. The books and articles referenced are outstanding for further study and suited for in-depth study accompanied by practical experience.

    Mark Roberts, Subject Matter Expert—book review in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 9, No. 4, Winter 2016

    There is a great deal of information in this relatively small book, and it updates the reader on new theories of interviewing for the 21st century. An excellent bibliography of military and psychological references will be especially welcome to researchers and the academic community. The author's concluding thoughts ring true: "Do no harm—respect human rights." The book is highly recommended for investigative and intelligence specialists.

    Adrian A. Barnie, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist)—book review in ASIS International, April 2018