The Science of Interrogation: Rapport, Not Torture

Chris Matthews, who hosts the MSNBC news program Hardball, is convinced that torture works. In the last two days, in the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s damning report on CIA interrogation practices, he has allowed that so-called “enhanced interrogation” may be illegal and immoral, but he keeps reiterating versions of his belief that, for all that, it’s effective in eliciting information from the enemy. That is, like it or not, it works.

Except that it doesn’t. Matthews is wrong about this. It’s perhaps unfair to single Matthews out, since he is not alone in this unshakable belief that if you hurt somebody enough, they will tell you the truth. Many Americans hold this same mistaken belief. But there is a wealth of solid science demonstrating that cruel forms of interrogation do not elicit good intelligence. In fact, this kind of interrogation often leads to resistance and falsehood.

But there are techniques that do work, quite well, and the evidence is not hard to run down. Much of it is summarized in a report from the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, which for the past four years has been working to create a science of intelligence gathering. Coordinated by psychological —> Read More Here


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