Vindicating the Approach of Obama’s Elite Interrogators
From Walter Pincus’ piece about how the Obama administration considered and rejected placing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in military custody:
After Abdulmutallab decided to stop talking, was read his Miranda rights and got lawyers, the FBI devised a complex investigative plan, which was outlined to reporters last week.
Two experienced counterterrorism agents were chosen to carry out a background investigation in Nigeria. One goal, suggested by behavioral scientists, was to find family members whom he would trust and who would help heal the split that had led him to cut off relations with his father and be attracted to the Yemeni al-Qaeda group.
And by all accounts it worked. Using Abdulmutallab’s family opened up his floodgates.
Not only is this a vindication of law enforcement, it’s a vindication of the approach that guides the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or the HIG, the Obama administration’s elite FBI-led interagency team of terrorism interrogators. As I reported first in June, the basis for the team is a social-science compendium called “Educing Information” written by an intelligence advisory board about how to use actual behavioral science techniques for effective and non-abusive interrogations. The HIG may not be used in this case, but its fundamental approach clearly is in place. And now we know it works.