In part one and part two, we went over the technical and personal aspects that make a good interrogator. But you still need the training. During Advanced Individual Training (AIT), we learn about rapport building and approaches. These aspects of interrogation are all about creating a relationship, both positive and negative, with the detainee. The interrogation portion of the training in AIT is much more procedural and systematic than certification and real life interrogations. The reason being is that the student needs time to get used to different techniques and scenarios that he or she may see in real life. It’s not hard to say that training in AIT is rigidly formulaic.

Training and Certifications

After AIT, it is up to the individual units and soldiers to maintain their interrogation techniques. This can be a challenge, primarily because to effectively recreate real life scenarios requires substantial planning and resources. You can also do many small-scale exercises to help supplement your skills, but often this involves running these techniques with other trained interrogators. Which could add a whole level of challenge, but I often compare it to two magicians trying to outwit one another. In addition, I even remember the Army trying out a computer software program that allowed us to practice interrogation techniques to a virtual avatar, but graphics, recognition software and response factors were quite lacking to say the least.

Additional training like the Advanced Source Operations Course (ASOC), Defense Strategic Debriefer Course (DSDC), Joint Interrogations Certification Course (JICC), the Source Operations Course (SOC), Enhanced Analysis and Interrogation Training, Advanced Leadership Training (ALC) or the Joint Analyst and Interrogator Collaboration (JAICC) do allow for more realistic scenarios. Some of these are geared more toward the interrogators, some are geared more toward analysts, others are for leadership, while some are open to other service branches beside the Army. And the instructors may still throw in little exercises when you least suspect it. During ALC, an instructor tasked us to get the name, hometown, and occupation of a random stranger on a train ride into Boston, without them realizing what you were trying to do. I sidled up to a couple on a train next to the station map and acting like I was lost. I used that as way to introduce myself and started asking questions where to get off. It slowly branched out and I was able to get the information without them realizing that was what I was after. But that brings me to another point: If you make up a fake backstory as cover, make sure you are knowledgeable about it. The young man said he was out of York, PA after I told him I live in Philadelphia. I did in the past but not at that time, so I was able to bounce back landmarks and references in that area as the conversation continued, all without sounding clueless or made-up.