O'Reilly falsely claimed Army Field Manual "bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable"

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN, LILY YAN & CHRISTINE SCHWEN

On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly claimed that "[t]he Army Field Manual bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable in any way," echoing his previous assertion that "[t]here is no interrogation under the manual. No unpleasantness." In fact, the Army Field Manual includes an entire section on "Interrogation Operations," as well as a chapter listing and describing "Approach Techniques and Termination Strategies" for use in interrogations of detainees, including several techniques intended to make detainees "uncomfortable."

During his "Talking Points Memo" on the December 9 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that "[t]he Army Field Manual bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable in any way." O'Reilly's claim echoes his December 3 assertion that "[t]here is no interrogation under the manual. No unpleasantness. None." In fact, the Army Field Manual includes an entire section on "Interrogation Operations," as well as a chapter listing and describing "Approach Techniques and Termination Strategies" for use in interrogations of detainees, several of which spell out ways in which interrogators may attempt to make detainees "uncomfortable."

These techniques include the "Emotional Fear-Up Approach" ("identif[ying] a preexisting fear or creat[ing] a fear within the source ... then link[ing] the elimination or reduction of the fear to cooperation on the part of the source"); the "Emotional-Futility Approach" ("convinc[ing] the source that resistance to questioning is futile," which "engenders a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness on the part of the source"); the "Rapid-Fire Approach" ("ask[ing] a series of questions in such a manner that the source does not have time to answer a question completely before the next one is asked," which "confuses the source, and he will tend to contradict himself as he has little time to formulate his answers"); and the "Mutt and Jeff Approach" ("involv[ing] a psychological ploy that takes advantage of the natural uncertainty and guilt that a source has as a result of being detained and questioned").

O'Reilly's claims that the Army Field Manual "bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable" and prohibits "unpleasantness" appear to refer to portions of the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, otherwise known as the Third Geneva Convention, which was cited in the Army Field Manual but has equal force whether or not the Army Field Manual guides interrogations. During his "Talking Points" segment on December 3, O'Reilly stated that "[t]he far left wants the CIA to go by the Army Field Manual when interrogating suspects. If that happens, all of us will be in danger. Why? Well, here's what the manual says. ... 'Prisoners of war who refuse to answer questions may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.' " O'Reilly then stated, "[T]hat's fine for the military. It's not their job to break down terror suspects. ... The CIA should interrogate high-value targets." O'Reilly's description of "what the manual says" is from an appendix of the Army Field Manual consisting of excerpts of the Third Geneva Convention, a treaty signed at the time by the United States and ratified by the Senate.

The Supreme Court has held that detainees at Guantánamo Bay are subject to the protections of common article 3 of that treaty, which, among other things, forbids "murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture" of detainees as well as "[o]utrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment." The court has not decided whether Guantánamo detainees are all entitled to the greater protections the Third Geneva Convention provided to detainees with "prisoner of war" status as defined by common article 4, including the requirement that "[p]risoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

O'Reilly also asserted on December 9 of the American Civil Liberties Union: "The far left, the ACLU types, want no interrogation of terror suspects at all, nothing but Miranda rights and civilian lawyers. Most Americans understand a policy like that would be very dangerous." On the December 3 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, O'Reilly similarly stated that the ACLU "do[es]n't want any interrogation." In fact, the ACLU has stated that it approves of legislation requiring CIA interrogators to use the rules followed by the military when questioning subjects.

On December 3, Caroline Fredrickson, the director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, stated: "Last year, Congress did the right thing and passed a law requiring the CIA to follow the same rules used by the military." Likewise, a November 9, 2007, ACLU letter stated that the organization supported a House bill that would have required all U.S. government agencies to use only those interrogation techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogations. In the letter, the ACLU stated that "the Army Field Manual standard is consistent with strong national security because it relies on the military's expertise to establish effective interrogation techniques which have proven effective in extracting life-saving information from the most hardened enemy prisoners."

On his December 3 radio show, O'Reilly also claimed that the ACLU "do[es]n't want any tapped phone calls without previous warrants. That means a phone call is made in a minute -- you can't get the warrant. Nobody could get it. They don't want any of that." In fact, the ACLU produced a February 3, 2006, list of "myths" regarding the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance program that appeared to endorse FISA's emergency procedure of obtaining warrants from the special FISA court up to 72 hours after interception begins. Responding to the "myth" that "FISA takes too long," the ACLU observed that "[t]his provision of FISA obviously provides the administration with speed and agility, but it does require an after-the-fact check from the court," and then stated that "[t]his procedure comports with the long-standing interpretation of the Fourth Amendment's requirements."

From the Army Field Manual:

8-35. (Interrogation and Other MSO [military source operations]) Fear is another dominant emotion that can be exploited by the HUMINT [human intelligence] collector. In the fear-up approach, the HUMINT collector identifies a preexisting fear or creates a fear within the source. He then links the elimination or reduction of the fear to cooperation on the part of the source. The HUMINT collector must be extremely careful that he does not threaten or coerce a source. Conveying a threat may be a violation of the UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice]. The HUMINT collector should also be extremely careful that he does not create so much fear that the source becomes unresponsive. The HUMINT collector should never act as if he is out of control or set himself up as the object or focal point of the source's fear. If the HUMINT collector acts in this manner, it is extremely difficult to then act as the outlet for the fear. Supervisors should consider the experience level of their subordinates before approving their use of this approach.

8-36. If there is a justifiable fear, the HUMINT collector should present it and present a plan to mitigate it if the source cooperates (combination of emotional and incentive approaches). For example, an EPW source says that he will not cooperate because if he does his fellow prisoners will kill him or, if a contact source says that if people find out he is cooperating, his family will suffer. In these cases, the HUMINT collector can point out that the source has already placed himself at risk and he or his family may suffer whether he cooperates or not (justified fear). But if he cooperates, the HUMINT collector will do his best to ensure that either no one will find out or that he will be protected (incentive).

8-37. If there is no justified fear, the HUMINT collector can make use of nonspecific fears. "You know what can happen to you here?" A fear-up approach is normally presented in a level, unemotional tone of voice. For example, "We have heard many allegations of atrocities committed in your area and anyone that was involved will be severely punished" (non-specific fear). "If you cooperate with me and answer all of my questions truthfully, I can make sure you are not falsely accused" (incentive). The source should demonstrate some indication of fear, whether verbal or non-verbal, prior to using this approach. If a fear is pre-existing, the approach will work and is legal. If there is no indication of fear, another approach should be considered.

8-38. It is often very effective to use the detainee's own imagination against him. The detainee can often visualize exactly what he is afraid of better than the HUMINT collector can express it.

8-39. The "fear-up" approach is frequently used in conjunction with the emotional love or hate approaches. For example, the HUMINT collector has already established that a detainee source has a strong love of family but is now separated from them. He may state, "I wonder how your family is getting along without you?" (fear of the unknown). He then promises to allow the detainee more than the minimum two letters a month required by the GPW.

[...]

8-49. (Interrogation and Other MSO) The emotional-futility approach is generally used in an interrogation setting, but may also be used for other MSO, if indicated by the source's state of mind. In the emotional-futility approach, the HUMINT collector convinces the source that resistance to questioning is futile. This engenders a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness on the part of the source. Again as with the other emotional approaches, the HUMINT collector gives the source a "way out" of the helpless situation. For example "it is hopeless for your forces to continue fighting because they can no longer get supplies, but you can help end the war and their suffering." When employing this technique, the HUMINT collector must have factual information. The HUMINT collector presents these facts in a persuasive, logical manner. He should be aware of and able to exploit the source's psychological and moral weaknesses, as well as weaknesses inherent in his society.

8-50. The futility approach is effective when the HUMINT collector can play on doubts that already exist in the source's mind. Factual or seemingly factual information must be presented in a persuasive, logical manner, and in a matter-of-fact tone of voice. Making the situation appear hopeless allows the source to rationalize his actions, especially if that action is cooperating with the HUMINT collector. When employing this technique, the HUMINT collector must not only have factual information but also be aware of and exploit the source's psychological, moral, and sociological weaknesses. Another way of using the futility approach is to blow things out of proportion. If the source's unit was low on, or had exhausted, all food supplies, he can be easily led to believe all of his forces had run out of food. If the source is verging on cooperating, it may aid the collection effort if he is told all the other sources have cooperated.

8-51. The futility approach must be orchestrated with other approach techniques (for example, love of comrades). A source who may want to help save his comrades' lives may be convinced the battlefield situation is hopeless and they will die without his assistance. The futility approach is used to paint a bleak picture for the prisoner, but it is not normally effective in and of itself in gaining the source's cooperation.

[...]

8-60. Rapid Fire. (Interrogation) The rapid-fire approach is based upon the principles that --

o Everyone likes to be heard when he speaks.

o It is confusing to be interrupted in mid-sentence with an unrelated question.

8-61. This approach may be used by one, two, or more HUMINT collectors to question the source. In employing this technique, the HUMINT collectors ask a series of questions in such a manner that the source does not have time to answer a question completely before the next one is asked. This confuses the source, and he will tend to contradict himself as he has little time to formulate his answers. The HUMINT collectors then confront the source with the inconsistencies causing further contradictions. In many instances, the source will begin to talk freely in an attempt to explain himself and deny the HUMINT collector's claims of inconsistencies. In this attempt, the source is likely to reveal more than he intends, thus creating additional leads for further exploitation. This approach may be orchestrated with the emotional-pride and ego-down or fear-up approaches. Besides extensive preparation, this approach requires experienced and competent HUMINT collectors, with comprehensive case knowledge and fluency in the source's language.

[...]

8-65. Mutt and Jeff. (Interrogation) The goal of this technique is to make the source identify with one of the interrogators and thereby establish rapport and cooperation. This technique involves a psychological ploy that takes advantage of the natural uncertainty and guilt that a source has as a result of being detained and questioned. Use of this technique requires two experienced HUMINT collectors who are convincing actors. The two HUMINT collectors will display opposing personalities and attitudes toward the source. For example, the first HUMINT collector is very formal and displays an unsympathetic attitude toward the source. He may, for instance, be very strict and order the source to follow all military courtesies during questioning. Although he conveys an unfeeling attitude, the HUMINT collector is careful not to threaten or coerce the source. Conveying a threat of violence is a violation of the UCMJ.

8-66. At the point when the interrogator senses the source is vulnerable, the second HUMINT collector appears (having received his cue by a signal, hidden from the source, or by listening and observing out of view of the source), and scolds the first HUMINT collector for his uncaring behavior and orders him from the room. The second HUMINT collector then apologizes to soothe the source, perhaps offering him a beverage and a cigarette. He explains that the actions of the first HUMINT collector were largely the result of an inferior intellect and lack of sensitivity. The inference is that the second HUMINT collector and the source share a high degree of intelligence and sensitivity.

8-67. The source is normally inclined to have a feeling of gratitude towards the second HUMINT collector, who continues to show sympathy in an effort to increase rapport and control for the questioning that will follow. If the source's cooperation begins to fade, the second HUMINT collector can hint that he is a busy person of high rank, and therefore cannot afford to waste time on an uncooperative source. He can broadly imply that the first HUMINT collector might return to continue the questioning. The Mutt and Jeff approach may be effective when orchestrated with Pride and Ego Up and Down, Fear Up and Down, Futility, or Emotional Love or Hate.

8-68. Oversight Considerations: Planned use of the Mutt and Jeff approach must be approved by the first O-6 in the interrogator's chain of command. The HUMINT collector must include as a part of the interrogation plan-

o No violence, threats, or impermissible or unlawful physical contact.

o No threatening the removal of protections afforded by law.

o Regular monitoring of the interrogation shall be performed by interrogation personnel.

The manual contemplates displays of anger around detainees, as shown in its listing of "invaluable" "character traits" of "HUMINT collectors":

Objectivity and Self-control. The HUMINT collector must also be totally objective in evaluating the information obtained. The HUMINT collector must maintain an objective and dispassionate attitude regardless of the emotional reactions he may actually experience or simulate during a questioning session. Without objectivity, he may unconsciously distort the information acquired. He may also be unable to vary his questioning and approach techniques effectively. He must have exceptional self-control to avoid displays of genuine anger, irritation, sympathy, or weariness that may cause him to lose the initiative during questioning but be able to fake any of these emotions as necessary. He must not become emotionally involved with the source [italics added].

Likewise, from the manual's section on "Rapport Posture":

8-15. In most cases, either initially or after the interrogation source has begun answering questions, the HUMINT collector will adopt a more relaxed or even sympathetic posture. The HUMINT collector addresses the interrogation source in a friendly fashion, striving to put him at ease. Regardless of the posture selected by the HUMINT collector, he must stay detached emotionally while maintaining the appearance of total involvement and stay within his adopted persona. The HUMINT collector must control his temper at all times. He must not show distaste, disgust, or unease at anything the source says unless that reaction is a planned part of the approach strategy. He should not show surprise at anything that the interrogation source says since it might undermine source confidence in the HUMINT collector and their relationship [italics added].

From the December 9 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Now, you may remember, we reported Barack Obama is having trouble filling the CIA director's job because few experienced intel people believe we can stop terror attacks without tough interrogation methods. The Army Field Manual bans any questioning that would make a suspect uncomfortable in any way.

"Talking Points" believes Mr. Obama's painted himself into a corner on this interrogation deal. The far left, the ACLU types, want no interrogation of terror suspects at all, nothing but Miranda rights and civilian lawyers. Most Americans understand a policy like that would be very dangerous.

Today, the government of India released the names of the Mumbai terror killers. All of them are Pakistanis -- no surprise -- since Pakistan is now ground zero for terrorism with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other murderous groups openly operating in northern Pakistan.

The weak economy has diverted attention away from the terror threat, but it remains very real. Five captured Al Qaeda in Guantánamo Bay, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh now say they will plead guilty in terror attacks on Americans, including 9-11. And in those pleas, the thugs call for more violence against the USA.

With that kind of danger in play, the pressure falls on President-elect Obama to continue policies that have kept us safe, rather than bowing to far-left pressure. If Obama does away with tough interrogation and we're attacked, he will be gravely damaged. So this issue becomes the elephant in the room the day Obama takes office. We'll keep you posted.

And that's the Memo.

From the December 3 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: But President-elect Obama has committed himself to an undefined no-torture policy, and is also having some difficulty finding someone to head up the CIA. Former CIA chief of staff John Brennan has taken himself out of the running because some far-left loons criticized him for taking an aggressive anti-terror stance after 9-11.

This is very disturbing. The far left wants the CIA to go by the Army Field Manual when interrogating suspects. If that happens, all of us will be in danger. Why? Well, here's what the manual says. Quote: "Prisoners of war who refuse to answer questions may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind," unquote.

Now -- and this is important -- that's fine for the military. It's not their job to break down terror suspects. It's their job to kill or capture them on the battlefield. The CIA should interrogate high-value targets. But if Obama orders the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies not to employ any tough interrogation methods, trust me, many people are going to die right here in America.

[...]

O'REILLY: OK, so no -- no harsh measures toward any captured terror suspects. No unpleasantness, nothing but, "Here's your Miranda rights. Here's a nice meal. Have a good day." That's all.

REP. ANNA ESHOO (D-CA): Well, I think that you do the subject, if I might say so, injustice by describing it that way.

O'REILLY: That's what the Army manual says.

ESHOO: This is deadly -- this is --

O'REILLY: It says no unpleasantness.

ESHOO: This is -- this is deadly serious business.

O'REILLY: You bet.

ESHOO: And while I believe that interrogation is very important, so is collection and analysis --

O'REILLY: There is no interrogation under the manual. No unpleasantness. None. No raising of the voice -- look, this show would be torture under the Army manual, madam. I raise my voice. I'm unpleasant sometimes.

ESHOO: Sir. Sir, let me say this. I think that there is support across this country for every president to have the best intelligence possible.

O'REILLY: You don't get it by not -- by -- you don't get it that way.

ESHOO: How -- how do we -- how do we get that? And how do we get that? How do we get that?

O'REILLY: All right. You're just saying -- Congresswoman -- and I respect you for being honest, because very few people would say what you just said. You say no unpleasantness whatsoever. What do you say, Congressman [Peter] Hoekstra [R-MI]?

ESHOO: Well, there are many forms of --

O'REILLY: Wait. Well, let me --

ESHOO: There are many forms of --

O'REILLY: No, no, no.

ESHOO: There are many forms of unpleasantness.

O'REILLY: No unpleasantness is no unpleasantness. It's very clear. What do you say, Congressman Hoekstra?

From the December 3 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: Look, the ACLU is a perfect example of this, RW. They opposed every single terror method. They want an open border in the United States, which means anybody who comes across -- any time they want, we don't know they're here. That's what the ACLU wants.

They don't want any tapped phone calls without previous warrants. That means a phone call is made in a minute -- you can't get the warrant. Nobody could get it. They don't want any of that. And they don't want any interrogation. And they don't want any rendition. And they want all captured terror suspects -- wherever they're captured in the world -- to be brought to Texas or whatever state and be tried with lawyers provided by the taxpayer.

Think about how insane that is. That's the American Civil Liberties Union. That's what they want. These are dangerous people, ladies and gentlemen. This is beyond a television/radio debate. This is dangerous stuff. We'll be back.

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Interrogation
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, Westwood One
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The Radio Factor, The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
Attacks on ACLU, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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