Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The ‘Torture’ Report’s False Information Canard | National Review Online

The ‘Torture’ Report’s False Information Canard | National Review Online

The press appears to be stressing the finding that much of the intel provided under enhanced interrogation proved to be false or misleading.

The same thing can be said for information provided during the gentle, hyper-lawyeredMiranda-driven interrogations conducted under law-enforcement protocols.

It is simply counterfactual to contend that a person is uniquely apt to lie under enhanced coercion because he has such a powerful motive to tell his interrogator what the interrogator wants to hear – namely, to avoid infliction of more discomfort.

Detainees who provide information to law enforcement are also powerfully motivated to tell interrogators what they think interrogators want to hear, in order to obtain sentencing leniency, win early release, or improve their conditions of confinement. And many of them lie.

Unreliable information is a natural consequence of interrogating outlaws. It has to be dealt with regardless of how the information is obtained.

I have been involved in, probably, thousands of law-enforcement interrogations. In the real world, the detainee often does not know what the interrogator wants to hear — a competent interrogator will use the information he already has to confuse the detainee about the state of his knowledge and the direction of the investigation. He will create an environment in which the detainee concludes that it is in his interest to tell the truth because the consequences of lying are worse for him.

And all interrogation information has to be analyzed and corroborated, factoring in the motives (there are usually several) that the detainee has to lie, to withhold critical facts, and to confess only what he calculates the interrogator already knows.

In civilian due process, the obligation is imposed on the prosecutor to disclose to the defense all the lies the witnesses have told in their interrogations. This rule is imposed, and compliance with it is aggressively examined in almost all criminal trials, precisely because people lie to interrogators all the time – even if they are not waterboarded.

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