I spent a full week in December in a Police and Special Forces Interrogation training. It was me and 30 cops and Green Berets in a conference room from 8 till 5 all week honing our lie spotting and truth finding skills.
I’d known our instructor Former FBI agent Stan Walters for years but until now had never had the chance to learn from him. He’s a real master at understanding the human mind and getting the bad guys to admit things that they really, really, really do not want to admit.
So what’s the secret? How do you get the truth out of them? Here’s the steps.
- Use your lie spotting skills to pinpoint the specific lie. You’ll know because their body language and words won’t match when answering a specific question. You’ll want to make sure you check a couple of times–just ask and look for consistencies in their behavior.
- Now the interrogation can begin. The goal is to get them to slip up, change the story or just give up and admit the truth.
- The easiest way to question is by making them tell the story backwards. Liars can only tell the story one way (forward) and they won’t be able to connect it to emotion. Truthful people can tell the story both ways (forward and backwards) and it will have lots of emotion.
- Instead of just asking them to tell the story backward, it’s helpful to be a little more sneaky about it. Just keep asking ‘What happened just before that?’ You’ll uncover gaps in the timeline and inconsistencies that you’ll want them to fill in, and you’ll want to ask more questions about.
- Be sure to ask questions (as appropriate) about exactly what happened using sight, sound, taste, touch smell, time and their emotional state. Liars won’t be able to fill in the blanks.
- When they answer SHUT UP AND LET THEM TALK!! If you interrupt you’ll cut off valuable info.
- You’ll likely get them so tangled up that they’ll break down and admit the truth. This process isn’t linear. You may have to circle back several times. Law enforcement will take their time. Some interrogations can last 12-14 hours!
The object is to keep information flowing. As soon as you get angry or focus on yes or no questions, the info will stop and your chances of success dwindle.
As easy as this sounds there’s a real art to it. But when you get the chance give it a shot and see what extra info and even admissions you’ll get!