Gibbs Fudges: 50 Minute Interrogation of Bomber Enough
WHITE HOUSE: Gibbs reiterated today that sufficient information was obtained from the fizzled panty bomber Abdumutallab in the 50 minutes he was interrogated before he was read his Miranda rights. This gratuitous assertion withers under the most cursory of examinations.
One of the key components of any successful interrogation is allowing enough time. 50 minutes is not even enough to get started:
Investigators must remember that successful interrogations require a certain amount of time to complete. Some confessions or admissions come quickly, but most do not. Those involving a polygraph examination usually occur between the second and third hours of the interrogations session. Generally, the chances of obtaining a confession increase 25 percent for every hour (up to 4 hours) of interrogation.12 Investigators spend up to the first hour of the session learning about the subjects, building rapport, obtaining background information, and discussing the crimes. Verbal and nonverbal responses form the basis of the investigators’ evaluations concerning the subjects’ degree of truthfulness and degree of criminal involvement. It takes time for investigators to observe these responses and relate them to the critical issues of the cases. Stopping after 30 minutes or an hour of interrogation dooms investigators to a 75 percent interrogation failure rate.13 The Art and Science of Criminal Investigation
For something as serious as a terrorist attack on the United States such a slipshod approach can only illustrate this administration’s desire to sweep this attack under some politically correct rug.
Lest the reader think Gibbs meant something else, read this transcript of his interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: Minute left. Our top intelligence and homeland security officials told Congress this week that none of them were consulted beforehand on the decision to charge the Christmas Day bomber, Abdulmutallab, as a criminal defendant.
And we’ve now learned that he was read his Miranda rights on the day he was arrested, on Christmas Day, after just 50 minutes of interrogation. You said this week that it was Attorney General Holder who made that decision. Was the president informed before or after the decision was implemented?
GIBBS: Which decision?
WALLACE: The decision to charge Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant and not treat him as an enemy combatant.
GIBBS: Well, Chris, the charges didn’t happen until several days later, and everybody…
WALLACE: Well, he was read his Miranda rights. Was the decision — was the president…
WALLACE: … told before or after…
GIBBS: That decision was made by the Justice Department and the FBI, with experienced FBI interrogators. But understand this, Chris. Make no mistake. Abdulmutallab was interrogated and valuable intelligence was gotten as a result of that interrogation.
WALLACE: But we now find out he was interrogated for 50 minutes. I mean, this is a guy who was…
GIBBS: No, no, no, no, no. No, no. That’s…
WALLACE: The reports are — no, the reports are that he was interrogated for 50 minutes. He was then drugged. They — because he had, obviously…
WALLACE: … you know, some injuries. They — when they came back, he was read his Miranda rights and he clammed up.
GIBBS: No. Again, he was interrogated. Valuable intelligence was gotten based on those interrogations. And I think the Department of Justice and the — made the right decision, as did those FBI agents.
WALLACE: And let me just press one last question. You really don’t think that if you’d interrogated him longer that you might have gotten more information, since we now know that Al Qaida in Yemen…
GIBBS: FBI — well, FBI interrogators believe they got valuable intelligence and were able to get all that they could out of him.
WALLACE: All they could.
The NIP has a question for our readers: “Do you feel safer now than you did four years ago?”
Gibbs must be prevaricating. Surely no FBI agent would actually contradict proven interrogation science to assert that he had obtained sufficient evidence in such minimal questioning. If Gibbs is telling the truth, then it is the FBI that is the source of misinformation, and Gibbs is covering up.
Neither choice makes you feel safer, does it? Is this administration deliberately trying to insult our intelligence? Please.