Cookies and Gardening: Lessons from an FBI Interrogator
Illustration by: Matt Mahurin
Apropos of my piece today on CIA interrogations, check out "60 Minutes’ " interview with George Piro. Piro is an FBI agent who led the months-long interrogation of Saddam Hussein. Now, you’re not going after perishable intelligence with Saddam, but you’ve still got to get the man to open up if you want some degree of closure on the legacy of one of the 20th century’s most fearsome tyrants.
Remember that former FBI counterterrorism agent Mike Rolince told me for my piece that the FBI has 90 years of experience getting people to talk within the boundaries of the Constitution — experience the CIA didn’t put to use. Now consider what Piro told CBS’s Scott Pelley:
It’s against FBI policy, first. And it wouldn’t have really benefited us with someone like Saddam. … I think Saddam clearly had demonstrated over his legacy that he would not respond to threats, to any type of fear-based approach.
Instead, Piro used his mom’s cookies and let the dictator do some gardening. And Saddam talked.