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Secrecy News -- 01/16/07

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 08:18:57 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 07:45:00 -0500
Subject: Secrecy News -- 01/16/07

from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 6
January 16, 2007

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

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The current state of scientific knowledge regarding the conduct
of interrogation and related forms of intelligence gathering is
limited by numerous gaps in theoretical and practical
understanding, according to a new book-length study from the
Intelligence Science Board, an advisory panel to the U.S.
intelligence community.

The study was prompted by "concerns about recent U.S.
interrogation activities, subsequent investigations, and the
efficacy of contemporary tactics, techniques, and procedures."

The ISB report is somewhat artfully titled "Educing
Information," a term that encompasses interrogation as well as
other forms of eliciting information.

The study notes that an accurate perception of the realities of
interrogation has been impeded by erroneous preconceptions
shaped by wish-fulfillment or popular culture.

"A major stumbling block to the study of interrogation, and
especially to the conduct of interrogation in field operations,
has been the all-too-common misunderstanding of the nature and
scope of the discipline."

"Most observers, even those within professional circles, have
unfortunately been influenced by the media's colorful (and
artificial) view of interrogation as almost always involving
hostility and the employment of force -- be it physical or
psychological -- by the interrogator against the hapless, often
slow-witted subject." (p. 95).

A detailed literature review, expert interviews and
consideration of the historical record present a more qualified
and uncertain picture.

Fundamentally, "there is little systematic knowledge available
to tell us 'what works' in interrogation. We do not know what
systems, methods, or processes of interrogation best protect the
nation's security."

"For example, we lack systematic information to guide us as to
who should perform interrogations. We do not know what benefits
would result if we changed the way we recruit, train, and manage
our interrogators." (p. 8).

Dr. Paulette Otis, a contributor to the study (though not an ISB
member), summarized her view of its practical conclusions as
follows: "(1) pain does not elicit intelligence known to prevent
greater harm; (2) the use of pain is counterproductive both in a
tactical and strategic sense; (3) chemical and biological
methods are unreliable; (4) research tends to indicate that
'educing' information without the use of harsh interrogation is
more valuable."

And, of course, "'more' research is necessary," said Dr. Otis,
who is Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Irregular Warfare
and Operational Culture in Quantico.

The unclassified ISB study was sponsored by the Defense
Intelligence Agency and the Counterintelligence Field Activity,
among other U.S. intelligence entities.

See "Educing Information: Interrogation: Science and Art:
Foundations for the Future," Intelligence Science Board, Phase 1
Report, December 2006 (374 pages, 2.5 MB):



"Effective 16 October 2006, Psychological Operations was
established as a basic branch of the Army, pursuant to the
authority of Section 3063(a)(13), Title 10, United States Code."

That is the substance of General Order 30 issued by Secretary of
the Army Francis J. Harvey on January 12, 2007. See:


According to the Department of Defense Dictionary (JP 1-02),
psychological operations are defined as "planned operations to
convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences
to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and
ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations,
groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations
is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior
favorable to the originator's objectives. Also called PSYOP."

Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
Federation of American Scientists.

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Steven Aftergood
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
web:  www.fas.org/sgp/index.html
email: saftergood.nul
voice: (202) 454-4691

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