Interrogation Techniques

This reveals the "morality" of those in authority. They drive men insane then call them "malingerers". When the public discovers their actions, they call their victims "animals" & frighten the public into accepting this torture as "appropriate".

I don't recommend dwelling on this material. I find it to be beyond human endurance. Just read enough to dispell any misplaced assumptions of "goodness" being resident in a godless authority structure.

Coercive Techniques



Sensory Deprivation

Threats & Fear



Heightened Suggestibility




[From: ]

IX. Coercive Counterintelligence Interrogation of Resistant Sources


A. Restrictions

The purpose of this part of the handbook is to present basic information about coercive techniques available for use in the interrogation situation. It is vital that this discussion not be misconstrued as constituting authorization for the use of coercion at field discretion . As was noted earlier, there is no such blanket authorization.

[approx. 10 lines deleted]

For both ethical and pragmatic reasons no interrogator may take upon himself the unilateral responsibility for using coercive methods. Concealing from the interrogator's superiors an intent to resort to coercion, or its unapproved employment, does not protect them. It places them, and KUBARK, in unconsidered jeopardy.

B. The Theory of Coercion

Coercive procedures are designed not only to exploit the resistant source's internal conflicts and induce him to wrestle with himself but also to bring a superior outside force to bear upon the subject's resistance. Non-coercive methods are not likely to succeed if their selection and use is not predicated upon an accurate psychological assessment of the source. In contrast, the same coercive method may succeed against persons who are very unlike each other. The changes of success rise steeply, nevertheless, if the coercive technique is matched to the source's personality. Individuals react differently even to such seemingly non-discriminatory stimuli as drugs. Moreover, it is a waste of time and energy to apply strong pressures on a hit-or-miss basis if a tap on the psychological jugular will produce compliance.

All coercive techniques are designed to induce regression. As Hinkle notes in "The Physiological State of the Interrogation Subject as it Affects Brain Function"(7), the result of external pressures of sufficient intensity is the loss of those defenses most recently acquired by civilized man: "... the capacity to carry out the highest creative activities, to meet new, challenging, and complex situations, to deal with trying interpersonal relations, and to cope with repeated frustrations. Relatively small degrees of homeostatic derangement, fatigue, pain, sleep loss, or anxiety may impair these functions." As a result, "most people who are exposed to coercive procedures will talk and usually reveal some information that they might not have revealed otherwise."

One subjective reaction often evoked by coercion is a feeling of guilt. Meltzer observes, "In some lengthy interrogations, the interrogator may, by virtue of his role as the sole supplier of satisfaction and punishment, assume the stature and importance of a parental figure in the prisoner's feeling and thinking. Although there may be intense hatred for the interrogator, it is not unusual for warm feelings also to develop. This ambivalence is the basis for guilt reactions, and if the interrogator nourishes these feelings, the guilt may be strong enough to influence the prisoner's behavior.... Guilt makes compliance more likely...."(7).

Farber says that the response to coercion typically contains "... at least three important elements: debility, dependency, and dread." Prisoners "... have reduced viability, are helplessly dependent on their captors for the satisfaction of their many basic needs, and experience the emotional and motivational reactions of intense fear and anxiety.... Among the [American] POW's pressured by the Chinese Communists, the DDD syndrome in its full-blown form constituted a state of discomfort that was well-nigh intolerable." (11). If the debility-dependency-dread state is unduly prolonged, however, the arrestee may sink into a defensive apathy from which it is hard to arouse him.

Psychologists and others who write about physical or psychological duress frequently object that under sufficient pressure subjects usually yield but that their ability to recall and communicate information accurately is as impaired as the will to resist. This pragmatic objection has somewhat the same validity for a counterintelligence interrogation as for any other. But there is one significant difference. Confession is a necessary prelude to the CI interrogation of a hitherto unresponsive or concealing source. And the use of coercive techniques will rarely or never confuse an interrogatee so completely that he does not know whether his own confession is true or false. He does not need full mastery of all his powers of resistance and discrimination to know whether he is a spy or not. Only subjects who have reached a point where they are under delusions are likely to make false confessions that they believe. Once a true confession is obtained, the classic cautions apply. The pressures are lifted, at least enough so that the subject can provide counterintelligence information as accurately as possible. In fact, the relief granted the subject at this time fits neatly into the interrogation plan. He is told that the changed treatment is a reward for truthfulness and an evidence that friendly handling will continue as long as he cooperates.

The profound moral objection to applying duress past the point of irreversible psychological damage has been stated. Judging the validity of other ethical arguments about coercion exceeds the scope of this paper. What is fully clear, however, is that controlled coercive manipulation of an interrogatee may impair his ability to make fine distinctions but will not alter his ability to answer correctly such gross questions as "Are you a Soviet agent? What is your assignment now? Who is your present case officer?" When an interrogator senses that the subject's resistance is wavering, that his desire to yield is growing stronger than his wish to continue his resistance, the time has come to provide him with the acceptable rationalization: a face-saving reason or excuse for compliance. Novice interrogators may be tempted to seize upon the initial yielding triumphantly and to personalize the victory. Such a temptation must be rejected immediately. An interrogation is not a game played by two people, one to become the winner and the other the loser. It is simply a method of obtaining correct and useful information. Therefore the interrogator should intensify the subject's desire to cease struggling by showing him how he can do so without seeming to abandon principle, self-protection, or other initial causes of resistance. If, instead of providing the right rationalization at the right time, the interrogator seizes gloatingly upon the subject's wavering, opposition will stiffen again.

The following are the principal coercive techniques of interrogation: arrest, detention, deprivation of sensory stimuli through solitary confinement or similar methods, threats and fear, debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, narcosis, and induced regression. This section also discusses the detection of malingering by interrogatees and the provision of appropriate rationalizations for capitulating and cooperating.

C. Arrest


The manner and timing of arrest can contribute substantially to the interrogator's purposes. "What we aim to do is to ensure that the manner of arrest achieves, if possible, surprise, and the maximum amount of mental discomfort in order to catch the suspect off balance and to deprive him of the initiative. One should therefore arrest him at a moment when he least expects it and when his mental and physical resistance is at its lowest. The ideal time at which to arrest a person is in the early hours of the morning because surprise is achieved then, and because a person's resistance physiologically as well as psychologically is at its lowest.... If a person cannot be arrested in the early hours..., then the next best time is in the evening....[approx. 10 lines deleted]" (1)

D. Detention


If, through the cooperation of a liaison service or by unilateral means, arrangements have been made for the confinement of a resistant source, the circumstances of detention are arranged to enhance within the subject his feelings of being cut off from the known and the reassuring, and of being plunged into the strange. Usually his own clothes are immediately taken away, because familiar clothing reinforces identity and thus the capacity for resistance. (Prisons give close hair cuts and issue prison garb for the same reason.) If the interrogatee is especially proud or neat, it may be useful to give him an outfit that is one or two sizes too large and to fail to provide a belt, so that he must hold his pants up.

The point is that man's sense of identity depends upon a continuity in his surroundings, habits, appearance, actions, relations with others, etc. Detention permits the interrogator to cut through these links and throw the interrogatee back upon his own unaided internal resources.

Little is gained if confinement merely replaces one routine with another. Prisoners who lead monotonously unvaried lives "... cease to care about their utterances, dress, and cleanliness. They become dulled, apathetic, and depressed."(7) And apathy can be a very effective defense against interrogation. Control of the source's environment permits the interrogator to determine his diet, sleep pattern, and other fundamentals. Manipulating these into irregularities, so that the subject becomes disorientated, is very likely to create feelings of fear and helplessness. Hinkle points out, "People who enter prison with attitudes of foreboding, apprehension, and helplessness generally do less well than those who enter with assurance and a conviction that they can deal with anything that they may encounter.... Some people who are afraid of losing sleep, or who do not wish to lose sleep, soon succumb to sleep loss...." (7)

In short, the prisoner should not be provided a routine to which he can adapt and from which he can draw some comfort -- or at least a sense of his own identity. Everyone has read of prisoners who were reluctant to leave their cells after prolonged incarceration. Little is known about the duration of confinement calculated to make a subject shift from anxiety, coupled with a desire for sensory stimuli and human companionship, to a passive, apathetic acceptance of isolation and an ultimate pleasure in this negative state. Undoubtedly the rate of change is determined almost entirely by the psychological characteristics of the individual. In any event, it is advisable to keep the subject upset by constant disruptions of patterns.

For this reason, it is useful to determine whether the interrogattee has been jailed before, how often, under what circumstances, for how long, and whether he was subjected to earlier interrogation. Familiarity with confinement and even with isolation reduces the effect.

E. Deprivation of Sensory Stimuli


The chief effect of arrest and detention, and particularly of solitary confinement, is to deprive the subject of many or most of the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and tactile sensations to which he has grown accustomed. John C. Lilly examined eighteen autobiographical accounts written by polar explorers and solitary seafarers. He found "... that isolation per se acts on most persons as a powerful stress.... In all cases of survivors of isolation at sea or in the polar night, it was the first exposure which caused the greatest fears and hence the greatest danger of giving way to symptoms; previous experience is a powerful aid in going ahead, despite the symptoms. "The symptoms most commonly produced by isolation are superstition, intense love of any other living thing, perceiving inanimate objects as alive, hallucinations, and delusions." (26)

The apparent reason for these effects is that a person cut off from external stimuli turns his awareness inward, upon himself, and then projects the contents of his own unconscious outwards, so that he endows his faceless environment with his own attributes, fears, and forgotten memories. Lilly notes, "It is obvious that inner factors in the mind tend to be projected outward, that some of the mind's activity which is usually reality-bound now becomes free to turn to phantasy and ultimately to hallucination and delusion."

A number of experiments conducted at McGill University, the National Institute of Mental Health, and other sites have attempted to come as close as possible to the elimination of sensory stimuli, or to masking remaining stimuli, chiefly sounds, by a stronger but wholly monotonous overlay. The results of these experiments have little applicability to interrogation because the circumstances are dissimilar. Some of the findings point toward hypotheses that seem relevant to interrogation, but conditions like those of detention for purposes of counterintelligence interrogation have not been duplicated for experimentation.

At the National Institute of Mental Health two subjects were "... suspended with the body and all but the top of the head immersed in a tank containing slowly flowing water at 34.5 [degrees] C (94.5 [degrees] F)...." Both subjects wore black-out masks, which enclosed the whole head but allowed breathing and nothing else. The sound level was extremely low; the subject heard only his own breathing and some faint sounds of water from the piping. Neither subject stayed in the tank longer than three hours. Both passed quickly from normally directed thinking through a tension resulting from unsatisfied hunger for sensory stimuli and concentration upon the few available sensations to private reveries and fantasies and eventually to visual imagery somewhat resembling hallucinations. "In our experiments, we notice that after immersion the day apparently is started over, i. e., the subject feels as if he has risen from bed afresh; this effect persists, and the subject finds he is out of step with the clock for the rest of the day."

Drs. Wexler, Mendelson, Leiderman, and Solomon conducted a somewhat similar experiment on seventeen paid volunteers. These subjects were "... placed in a tank-type respirator with a specially built mattress.... The vents of the respirator were left open, so that the subject breathed for himself. His arms and legs were enclosed in comfortable but rigid cylinders to inhibit movement and tactile contact. The subject lay on his back and was unable to see any part of his body. The motor of the respirator was run constantly, producing a dull, repetitive auditory stimulus. The room admitted no natural light, and artificial light was minimal and constant." (42) Although the established time limit was 36 hours and though all physical needs were taken care of, only 6 of the 17 completed the stint. The other eleven soon asked for release. Four of these terminated the experiment because of anxiety and panic; seven did so because of physical discomfort. The results confirmed earlier findings that (1) the deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress; (2) the stress becomes unbearable for most subjects; (3) the subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli; and (4) some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations, and other pathological effects.

In summarizing some scientific reporting on sensory and perceptual deprivation, Kubzansky offers the following observations:

"Three studies suggest that the more well-adjusted or 'normal' the subject is, the more he is affected by deprivation of sensory stimuli. Neurotic and psychotic subjects are either comparatively unaffected or show decreases in anxiety, hallucinations, etc." (7) These findings suggest - but by no means prove - the following theories about solitary confinement and isolation:

1. The more completely the place of confinement eliminates sensory stimuli, the more rapidly and deeply will the interrogatee be affected. Results produced only after weeks or months of imprisonment in an ordinary cell can be duplicated in hours or days in a cell which has no light (or weak artificial light which never varies), which is sound-proofed, in which odors are eliminated, etc. An environment still more subject to control, such as water-tank or iron lung, is even more effective.

2. An early effect of such an environment is anxiety. How soon it appears and how strong it is depends upon the psychological characteristics of the individual.

3. The interrogator can benefit from the subject's anxiety. As the interrogator becomes linked in the subject's mind with the reward of lessened anxiety, human contact, and meaningful activity, and thus with providing relief for growing discomfort, the questioner assumes a benevolent role. (7)

4. The deprivation of stimuli induces regression by depriving the subject's mind of contact with an outer world and thus forcing it in upon itself. At the same time, the calculated provision of stimuli during interrogation tends to make the regressed subject view the interrogator as a father-figure. The result, normally, is a strengthening of the subject's tendencies toward compliance.

F. Threats and Fear


The threat of coercion usually weakens or destroys resistance more effectively than coercion itself. The threat to inflict pain, for example, can trigger fears more damaging than the immediate sensation of pain. In fact, most people underestimate their capacity to withstand pain. The same principle holds for other fears: sustained long enough, a strong fear of anything vague or unknown induces regression, whereas the materialization of the fear, the infliction of some form of punishment, is likely to come as a relief. The subject finds that he can hold out, and his resistances are strengthened. "In general, direct physical brutality creates only resentment, hostility, and further defiance." (18)

The effectiveness of a threat depends not only on what sort of person the interrogatee is and whether he believes that his questioner can and will carry the threat out but also on the interrogator's reasons for threatening. If the interrogator threatens because he is angry, the subject frequently senses the fear of failure underlying the anger and is strengthened in his own resolve to resist. Threats delivered coldly are more effective than those shouted in rage. It is especially important that a threat not be uttered in response to the interrogatee's own expressions of hostility. These, if ignored, can induce feelings of guilt, whereas retorts in kind relieve the subject's feelings.

Another reason why threats induce compliance not evoked by the inflection of duress is that the threat grants the interrogatee time for compliance. It is not enough that a resistant source should placed under the tension of fear; he must also discern an acceptable escape route. Biderman observes, "Not only can the shame or guilt of defeat in the encounter with the interrogator be involved, but also the more fundamental injunction to protect one's self-autonomy or 'will'.... A simple defense against threats to the self from the anticipation of being forced to comply is, of course, to comply 'deliberately' or 'voluntarily'.... To the extent that the foregoing interpretation holds, the more intensely motivated the [interrogatee] is to resist, the more intense is the pressure toward early compliance from such anxieties, for the greater is the threat to self-esteem which is involved in contemplating the possibility of being 'forced to' comply...." (6)

In brief, the threat is like all other coercive techniques in being most effective when so used as to foster regression and when joined with a suggested way out of the dilemma, a rationalization acceptable to the interrogatee. The threat of death has often been found to be worse than useless. It "has the highest position in law as a defense, but in many interrogation situations it is a highly ineffective threat. Many prisoners, in fact, have refused to yield in the face of such threats who have subsequently been 'broken' by other procedures." (3) The principal reason is that the ultimate threat is likely to induce sheer hopelessness if the interrogatee does not believe that it is a trick; he feels that he is as likely to be condemned after compliance as before. The threat of death is also ineffective when used against hard-headed types who realize that silencing them forever would defeat the interrogator's purpose. If the threat is recognized as a bluff, it will not only fail but also pave the way to failure for later coercive ruses used by the interrogator.

G. Debility


No report of scientific investigation of the effect of debility upon the interrogatee's powers of resistance has been discovered. For centuries interrogators have employed various methods of inducing physical weakness: prolonged constraint; prolonged exertion; extremes of heat, cold, or moisture; and deprivation or drastic reduction of food or sleep. Apparently the assumption is that lowering the source's physiological resistance will lower his psychological capacity for opposition. If this notion were valid, however, it might reasonably be expected that those subjects who are physically weakest at the beginning of an interrogation would be the quickest to capitulate, a concept not supported by experience. The available evidence suggests that resistance is sapped principally by psychological rather than physical pressures.

The threat of debility - for example, a brief deprivation of food - may induce much more anxiety than prolonged hunger, which will result after a while in apathy and, perhaps, eventual delusions or hallucinations. In brief, it appears probable that the techniques of inducing debility become counter-productive at an early stage. The discomfort, tension, and restless search for an avenue of escape are followed by withdrawal symptoms, a turning away from external stimuli, and a sluggish unresponsiveness.

Another objection to the deliberate inducing of debility is that prolonged exertion, loss of sleep, etc., themselves become patterns to which the subject adjusts through apathy. The interrogator should use his power over the resistant subject's physical environment to disrupt patterns of response, not to create them. Meals and sleep granted irregularly, in more than abundance or less than adequacy, the shifts occuring on no discernible time pattern, will normally disorient an interrogatee and sap his will to resist more effectively than a sustained deprivation leading to debility.

H. Pain


Everyone is aware that people react very differently to pain. The reason, apparently, is not a physical difference in the intensity of the sensation itself. Lawrence E. Hinkle observes, "The sensation of pain seems to be roughly equal in all men, that is to say, all people have approximately the same threshold at which they begin to feel pain, and when carefully graded stimuli are applied to them, their estimates of severity are approximately the same.... Yet... when men are very highly motivated... they have been known to carry out rather complex tasks while enduring the most intense pain." He also states, "In general, it appears that whatever may be the role of the constitutional endowment in determining the reaction to pain, it is a much less important determinant than is the attitude of the man who experiences the pain." (7)

The wide range of individual reactions to pain may be partially explicable in terms of early conditioning. The person whose first encounters with pain were frightening and intense may be more violently affected by its later infliction than one whose original experiences were mild. Or the reverse may be true, and the man whose childhood familiarized him with pain may dread it less, and react less, than one whose distress is heightened by fear of the unknown. The individual remains the determinant.

It has been plausibly suggested that, whereas pain inflicted on a person from outside himself may actually focus or intensify his will to resist, his resistance is likelier to be sapped by pain which he seems to inflict upon himself. "In the simple torture situation the contest is one between the individual and his tormentor (.... and he can frequently endure). When the individual is told to stand at attention for long periods, an intervening factor is introduced. The immediate source of pain is not the interrogator but the victim himself. The motivational strength of the individual is likely to exhaust itself in this internal encounter.... As long as the subject remains standing, he is attributing to his captor the power to do something worse to him, but there is actually no showdown of the ability of the interrogator to do so." (4)

Interrogatees who are withholding but who feel qualms of guilt and a secret desire to yield are likely to become intractable if made to endure pain. The reason is that they can then interpret the pain as punishment and hence as expiation. There are also persons who enjoy pain and its anticipation and who will keep back information that they might otherwise divulge if they are given reason to expect that withholding will result in the punishment that they want. Persons of considerable moral or intellectual stature often find in pain inflicted by others a confirmation of the belief that they are in the hands of inferiors, and their resolve not to submit is strengthened.

Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping from distress. A time-consuming delay results, while investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue. During this respite the interrogatee can pull himself together. He may even use the time to think up new, more complex "admissions" that take still longer to disprove. KUBARK is especially vulnerable to such tactics because the interrogation is conducted for the sake of information and not for police purposes. If an interrogatee is caused to suffer pain rather late in the interrogation process and after other tactics have failed, he is almost certain to conclude that the interrogator is becoming desperate. He may then decide that if he can just hold out against this final assault, he will win the struggle and his freedom. And he is likely to be right. Interrogatees who have withstood pain are more difficult to handle by other methods. The effect has been not to repress the subject but to restore his confidence and maturity.7

I. Heightened Suggestibility and Hypnosis


In recent years a number of hypotheses about hypnosis have been advanced by psychologists and others in the guise of proven principles. Among these are the flat assertions that a person connot be hypnotized against his will; that while hypnotized he cannot be induced to divulge information that he wants urgently to conceal; and that he will not undertake, in trance or through post-hypnotic suggestion, actions to which he would normally have serious moral or ethical objections. If these and related contentions were proven valid, hypnosis would have scant value for the interrogator.

But despite the fact that hypnosis has been an object of scientific inquiry for a very long time, none of these theories has yet been tested adequately. Each of them is in conflict with some observations of fact. In any event, an interrogation handbook cannot and need not include a lengthy discussion of hypnosis. The case officer or interrogator needs to know enough about the subject to understand the circumstances under which hypnosis can be a useful tool, so that he can request expert assistance appropriately.

Operational personnel, including interrogators, who chance to have some lay experience or skill in hypnotism should not themselves use hypnotic techniques for interrogation or other operational purposes. There are two reasons for this position. The first is that hypnotism used as an operational tool by a practitioner who is not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or M.D. can produce irreversible psychological damage. The lay practitioner does not know enough to use the technique safely. The second reason is that an unsuccessful attempt to hypnotize a subject for purposes of interrogation, or a successful attempt not adequately covered by post-hypnotic amnesia or other protection, can easily lead to lurid and embarrassing publicity or legal charges.

Hypnosis is frequently called a state of heightened suggestibility, but the phrase is a description rather than a definition. Merton M. Gill and Margaret Brenman state, "The psychoanalytic theory of hypnosis clearly implies, where it does not explicitly state, that hypnosis is a form of regression." And they add, "...induction [of hypnosis] is the process of bringing about a regression, while the hypnotic state is the established regression." (13) It is suggested that the interrogator will find this definition the most useful. The problem of overcoming the resistance of an uncooperative interrogatee is essentially a problem of inducing regression to a level at which the resistance can no longer be sustained. Hypnosis is one way of regressing people.

Martin T. Orne has written at some length about hypnosis and interrogation. Almost all of his conclusions are tentatively negative. Concerning the role played by the will or attitude of the interrogates, Orne says, "Although the crucial experiment has not yet been done, there is little or no evidence to indicate that trance can be induced against a person's wishes." He adds, "...the actual occurrence of the trance state is related to the wish of the subject to enter hypnosis." And he also observes, "...whether a subject will or will not enter trance depends upon his relationship with the hyponotist rather than upon the technical procedure of trance induction." These views are probably representative of those of many psychologists, but they are not definitive. As Orne himself later points out, the interrogatee "... could be given a hypnotic drug with appropriate verbal suggestions to talk about a given topic.

Eventually enough of the drug would be given to cause a short period of unconsciousness. When the subject wakes, the interrogator could then read from his 'notes' of the hypnotic interview the information presumably told him." (Orne had previously pointed out that this technique requires that the interrogator possess significant information about the subject without the subject's knowledge.) "It can readily be seen how this... maneuver... would facilitate the elicitation of information in subsequent interviews." (7)

Techniques of inducing trance in resistant subjects through preliminary administration of so-called silent drugs (drugs which the subject does not know he has taken) or through other non-routine methods of induction are still under investigation. Until more facts are known, the question of whether a resister can be hypnotized involuntarily must go unanswered.

Orne also holds that even if a resister can be hypnotized, his resistance does not cease. He postulates "... that only in rare interrogation subjects would a sufficiently deep trance be obtainable to even attempt to induce the subject to discuss material which he is unwilling to discuss in the waking state. The kind of information which can be obtained in these rare instances is still an unanswered question." He adds that it is doubtful that a subject in trance could be made to reveal information which he wished to safeguard. But here too Orne seems somewhat too cautious or pessimistic. Once an interrogatee is in a hypnotic trance, his understanding of reality becomes subject to manipulation.

For example, a KUBARK interrogator could tell a suspect double agent in trance that the KGB is conducting the questioning, and thus invert the whole frame of reference. In other words, Orne is probably right in holding that most recalcitrant subjects will continue effective resistance as long as the frame of reference is undisturbed. But once the subject is tricked into believing that he is talking to friend rather than foe, or that divulging the truth is the best way to serve his own purposes, his resistance will be replaced by cooperation. The value of hypnotic trance is not that it permits the interrogator to impose his will but rather that it can be used to convince the interrogatee that there is no valid reason not to be forthcoming. A third objection raised by Orne and others is that material elicited during trance is not reliable.

Orne says, "... it has been shown that the accuracy of such information... would not be guaranteed since subjects in hypnosis are fully capable of lying." Again, the observation is correct; no known manipulative method guarantees veracity. But if hypnosis is employed not as an immediate instrument for digging out the truth but rather as a way of making the subject want to align himself with his interrogators, the objection evaporates.

Hypnosis offers one advantage not inherent in other interrogation techniques or aids: the post-hypnotic suggestion. Under favorable circumstances it should be possible to administer a silent drug to a resistant source, persuade him as the drug takes effect that he is slipping into a hypnotic trance, place him under actual hypnosis as consciousness is returning, shift his frame of reference so that his reasons for resistance become reasons for cooperating, interrogate him, and conclude the session by implanting the suggestion that when he emerges from trance he will not remember anything about what has happened.

This sketchy outline of possible uses of hypnosis in the interrogation of resistant sources has no higher goal than to remind operational personnel that the technique may provide the answer to a problem not otherwise soluble. To repeat: hypnosis is distinctly not a do-it-yourself project. Therefore the interrogator, base, or center that is considering its use must anticipate the timing sufficiently not only to secure the obligatory headquarters permission but also to allow for an expert's travel time and briefing.

J. Narcosis


Just as the threat of pain may more effectively induce compliance than its infliction, so an interrogatee's mistaken belief that he has been drugged may make him a more useful interrogation subject than he would be under narcosis. Louis A. Gottschalk cites a group of studies as indicating "that 30 to 50 per cent of individuals are placebo reactors, that is, respond with symptomatic relief to taking an inert substance." (7) In the interrogation situation, moreover, the effectiveness of a placebo may be enhanced because of its ability to placate the conscience. The subject's primary source of resistance to confession or divulgence may be pride, patriotism, personal loyalty to superiors, or fear of retribution if he is returned to their hands. Under such circumstances his natural desire to escape from stress by complying with the interrogator's wishes may become decisive if he is provided an acceptable rationalization for compliance. "I was drugged" is one of the best excuses.

Drugs are no more the answer to the interrogator's prayer than the polygraph, hypnosis, or other aids. Studies and reports "dealing with the validity of material extracted from reluctant informants... indicate that there is no drug which can force every informant to report all the information he has. Not only may the inveterate criminal psychopath lie under the influence of drugs which have been tested, but the relatively normal and well-adjusted individual may also successfully disguise factual data." (3) Gottschalk reinforces the latter observation in mentioning an experiment involving drugs which indicated that "the more normal, well-integrated individuals could lie better than the guilt-ridden, neurotic subjects." (7)

Nevertheless, drugs can be effective in overcoming resistance not dissolved by other techniques. As has already been noted, the so-called silent drug (a pharmacologically potent substance given to a person unaware of its administration) can make possible the induction of hypnotic trance in a previously unwilling subject. Gottschalk says, "The judicious choice of a drug with minimal side effects, its matching to the subject's personality, careful gauging of dosage, and a sense of timing... [make] silent administration a hard-to-equal ally for the hypnotist intent on producing self-fulfilling and inescapable suggestions... the drug effects should prove... compelling to the subject since the perceived sensations originate entirely within himself.

Particularly important is the reference to matching the drug to the personality of the interrogatee. The effect of most drugs depends more upon the personality of the subject than upon the physical characteristics of the drugs themselves. If the approval of Headquarters has been obtained and if a doctor is at hand for administration, one of the most important of the interrogator's functions is providing the doctor with a full and accurate description of the psychological make-up of the interrogatee, to facilitate the best possible choice of a drug.

Persons burdened with feelings of shame or guilt are likely to unburden themselves when drugged, especially if these feelings have been reinforced by the interrogator. And like the placebo, the drug provides an excellent rationalization of helplessness for the interrogatee who wants to yield but has hitherto been unable to violate his own values or loyalties.

Like other coercive media, drugs may affect the content of what an interrogatee divulges. Gottschalk notes that certain drugs "may give rise to psychotic manifestations such as hallucinations, illusions, delusions, or disorientation", so that "the verbal material obtained cannot always be considered valid." (7) For this reason drugs (and the other aids discussed in this section) should not be used persistently to facilitate the interrogative debriefing that follows capitulation. Their function is to cause capitulation, to aid in the shift from resistance to cooperation. Once this shift has been accomplished, coercive techniques should be abandoned both for moral reasons and because they are unnecessary and even counter-productive.

This discussion does not include a list of drugs that have been employed for interrogation purposes or a discussion of their properties because these are medical considerations within the province of a doctor rather than an administrator.

K. The Detection of Malingering


The detection of malingering is obviously not an interrogation technique, coercive or otherwise. But the history of interrogation is studded with the stories of persons who have attempted, often successfully, to evade the mounting pressures of interrogation by feigning physical or mental illness. KUBARK interrogators may encounter seemingly sick or irrational interrogatees at times and places which make it difficult or next-to-impossible to summon medical or other professional assistance. Because a few tips may make it possible for the interrogator to distinguish between the malingerer and the person who is genuinely ill, and because both illness and malingering are sometimes produced by coercive interrogation, a brief discussion of the topic has been included here.

Most persons who feign a mental or physical illness do not know enough about it to deceive the well-informed. Malcolm L. Meltzer says, "The detection of malingering depends to a great extent on the simulator's failure to understand adequately the characteristics of the role he is feigning.... Often he presents symptoms which are exceedingly rare, existing mainly in the fancy of the layman. One such symptom is the delusion of misidentification, characterized by the... belief that he is some powerful or historic personage. This symptom is very unusual in true psychosis, but is used by a number of simulators. In schizophrenia, the onset tends to be gradual, delusions do not spring up full-blown over night; in simulated disorders, the onset is usually fast and delusions may be readily available. The feigned psychosis often contains many contradictory and inconsistent symptoms, rarely existing together. The malingerer tends to go to extremes in his portrayal of his symptoms; he exaggerates, overdramatizes, grimaces, shouts, is overly bizarre, and calls attention to himself in other ways....

"Another characteristic of the malingerer is that he will usually seek to evade or postpone examination. A study of the behavior of lie-detector subjects, for example, showed that persons later 'proven guilty' showed certain similarities of behavior. The guilty persons were reluctant to take the test, and they tried in various ways to postpone or delay it. They often appeared highly anxious and sometimes took a hostile attitude toward the test and the examiner. Evasive tactics sometimes appeared, such as sighing, yawning, moving about, all of which foil the examiner by obscuring the recording. Before the examination, they felt it necessary to explain why their responses might mislead the examiner into thinking they were lying. Thus the procedure of subjecting a suspected malingerer to a lie-detector test might evoke behavior which would reinforce the suspicion of fraud." (7)

Meltzer also notes that malingerers who are not professional psychologists can usually be exposed through Rorschach tests.

An important element in malingering is the frame of mind of the examiner. A person pretending madness awakens in a professional examiner not only suspicion but also a desire to expose the fraud, whereas a well person who pretends to be concealing mental illness and who permits only a minor symptom or two to peep through is much likelier to create in the expert a desire to expose the hidden sickness.

Meltzer observes that simulated mutism and amnesia can usually be distinguished from the true states by narcoanalysis. The reason, however, is the reverse of the popular misconception. Under the influence of appropriate drugs the malingerer will persist in not speaking or in not remembering, whereas the symptoms of the genuinely afflicted will temporarily disappear. Another technique is to pretend to take the deception seriously, express grave concern, and tell the "patient" that the only remedy for his illness is a series of electric shock treatments or a frontal lobotomy.

L. Conclusion


A brief summary of the foregoing may help to pull the major concepts of coercive interrogation together:

1. The principal coercive techniques are arrest, detention, the deprivation of sensory stimuli, threats and fear, debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, and drugs.

2. If a coercive technique is to be used, or if two or more are to be employed jointly, they should be chosen for their effect upon the individual and carefully selected to match his personality.

3. The usual effect of coercion is regression. The interrogatee's mature defenses crumbles as he becomes more childlike. During the process of regression the subject may experience feelings of guilt, and it is usually useful to intensify these.

4. When regression has proceeded far enough so that the subject's desire to yield begins to overbalance his resistance, the interrogator should supply a face-saving rationalization. Like the coercive technique, the rationalization must be carefully chosen to fit the subject's personality.

5. The pressures of duress should be slackened or lifted after compliance has been obtained, so that the interrogatee's voluntary cooperation will not be impeded.

No mention has been made of what is frequently the last step in an interrogation conducted by a Communist service: the attempted conversion. In the Western view the goal of the questioning is information; once a sufficient degree of cooperation has been obtained to permit the interrogator access to the information he seeks, he is not ordinarily concerned with the attitudes of the source. Under some circumstances, however, this pragmatic indifference can be short-sighted. If the interrogatee remains semi-hostile or remorseful after a successful interrogation has ended, less time may be required to complete his conversion (and conceivably to create an enduring asset) than might be needed to deal with his antagonism if he is merely squeezed and forgotten.

Next: X. Interrogator's Check List
Document Table of Contents
Analysis of the KUBARK Interrogation Manual


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