Unlike torture, this interrogation method actually works

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Monday 15 December 2014 19:00
news

A study published in the wake of the CIA 'torture report' has found that interrogators are far more likely to garner information if they treat their suspects in a friendly manner and build rapport with them.

Jane Goodman-Delahunty, of Australia's Charles Sturt University, interviewed 34 members of intelligence forces around the world and asked them what methods they had used in interrogation and what the results were.

She found that "disclosure was 14 times more likely to occur early in an interrogation when a rapport-building approach was used".

Confessions were four times more likely when interrogators struck a neutral and respectful stance. Rates of detainee disclosure were also higher when they were interrogated in comfortable physical settings.

  • Goodman-Delahunty

The CIA 'torture report' found that the methods used on terror suspects, which included "rectal feeding" and waterboarding were ineffective at gaining reliable information and in many cases detainees would simply tell interrogators what they thought they wanted to hear.

As the Atlantic points out, it has previously been observed that suspects are more likely to be tortured if they are "high-value". Perhaps, the Atlantic suggests, because the nature of their supposed crimes are deemed too severe to be treated in a "buddy-buddy" way.

Another study highlighted by the British Psychological Society has shown that the general public is more open to people being tortured if they are suspected of terrorism.

More: Meet the only US government employee jailed over CIA 'torture'

More: CIA torture claims - who knew what and when

More: The 20 damning report findings into CIA's post-9/11 'torture' programme

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