On Hannity, Rove falsely asserted that Army Field Manual prohibits good cop-bad cop interrogations

››› ››› NATHAN TABAK

Discussing President Obama's executive order stating that a detainee in U.S. custody cannot be subjected to interrogation techniques not listed in the Army Field Manual, Karl Rove falsely asserted that "[t]he Army Field Manual ... prohibits you from using good cop-bad cop in interrogating." In fact, the Army Field Manual explicitly permits good cop-bad cop interrogations under the name of "Mutt and Jeff" interrogations, which involve two interrogators "display[ing] opposing personalities and attitudes toward the source."

During the January 23 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity, Fox News contributor Karl Rove falsely asserted that "[t]he Army Field Manual, for example, prohibits you from using good cop-bad cop in interrogating." Rove made the false claim while discussing President Obama's January 22 executive order stating that a detainee in U.S. custody or control "shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique or approach, or any treatment related to interrogation, that is not authorized by and listed in Army Field Manual 2 22.3 (Manual)."

In fact, the Army Field Manual explicitly permits good cop-bad cop interrogations under the name of "Mutt and Jeff" interrogations, which involve two interrogators "display[ing] opposing personalities and attitudes toward the source." The Field Manual says the "goal of this technique is to make the source identify with one of the interrogators and thereby establish[ing] rapport and cooperation." From the Army Field Manual:

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 [human intelligence] 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 [Uniform Code of Military Justice].

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.

According to a 2006 Defense Department press release announcing revisions to the Army Field Manual, Army Lt. Gen. John Kimmons -- the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence -- described "Mutt and Jeff" as another term for "good cop-bad cop":

The field manual lays out 19 acceptable interrogation approaches, most taken directly from the previous manual. Two additional approaches, based on battlefield lessons learned, authorize use of the so-called "Mutt and Jeff" or "good cop-bad cop" technique or allow interrogations to portray themselves as "someone other than an American interrogator," Kimmons said.

From the January 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: You know, it's funny, because Robert Gibbs today wouldn't even acknowledge that there's a war on terror. Now, if anybody -- just a short perusal of the 9/11 Commission report, what did it say? It said for an entire decade they were at war with us, we weren't at war with them. So, they can't even use the words?

ROVE: Right.

HANNITY: They find it too offensive to say there's a war on terror?

ROVE: Yeah -- no, you know what was amazing to me was that these two things that they did, on Gitmo and interrogations, are going to make America less safe.

Interrogations is almost worse than Gitmo. At least with Gitmo you have Guantánamo Bay there for another year, and you have these dangerous people kept in Gitmo. On interrogation, they nullified all the legal memos going back to September 11 that allowed aggressive interrogation of enemy combatants.

They now say we have to use the Army Field Manual. As The Wall Street Journal said today, that is gentler treatment than we give common criminals in the United States. The Army Field Manual, for example, prohibits you from using good cop-bad cop in interrogating.

So we now have taken away all the legal authority that allowed us to have aggressive and appropriate, not torture, but aggressive questioning of these enemy combatants. We've wiped it out, and instead they're going to have a commission that's going to look at whether or not there ought to be some loopholes allowed for the Army Field Manual --

HANNITY: Yeah.

ROVE: -- for interrogation by somebody other than the -- than the military. But today, if we get a high-value target, we've got to say, "Pretty please, will you tell us where your next -- what your next mission against the United States is?"

HANNITY: Well, that was -- that was a question that [Fox News White House correspondent] Major Garrett asked yesterday, that if we even caught somebody like Osama bin Laden, who potentially could have information about an American city that is about to be attacked, they couldn't use enhanced interrogation.

You were the first person, Karl Rove, to use the term "pre-9-11 mentality." Are we headed to a pre-9-11 mentality?

ROVE: No, we're already there. I mean, if -- if these people are sitting there saying let's wipe out all the legal authority we have for enhanced interrogation, and we'll go figure out what we want to do, they -- they don't recognize we're in a war. You -- in a war, you do not take tools that are working and stop using them and say we'll get back to you in four months, six months, eight months, a year, and tell you what we're going to do to replace this valuable tool which has helped keep America safe.

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