How U.S. Interrogators Could Make Anas Al-Libi Talk

Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation, in which the captors simply keep the detainee awake for an extreme period of time in order to wear him down, was also associated with the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques. In "Zero Dark Thirty," the Hollywood dramatization of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a particularly disturbing interrogation scene includes the detainee being left standing in a room with heavy metal music blasting for hours.

While the Army manual does not include sleep deprivation in its list of prohibited tactics like waterboarding, in another section dealing with the "separation technique" says that tactic – a type of isolation gambit – "must not preclude the detainee getting four hours of continuous sleep every 24 hours."

Can the HIG Leverage Al-Libi's Family Against Him?

Yes, but it's complicated. In this case, several members of al-Libi's family claimed to have witnessed the actual abduction, either in person or by having seen it on security cameras, and that can be an advantage to interrogators, according to Tony Camerino, a former senior U.S. military interrogator who carried out hundreds of interrogations in Iraq.

"We call that Love of Family Approach, where you emphasize that person's love to their family, their relationship to a family member and [say] it will ease their burden by cooperating," Camerino said. "[The interrogators] are going to try to use their knowledge of his family back home."

This can be done in two ways, according to the Army manual. First, the family can also be included in the Fear-Up Approach if the subject is already afraid his family would suffer if he cooperates. In the same way as before, the interrogators can flip that fear on him, saying as long as he cooperates, no one will find out or the interrogator will do his best to protect them.

Secondly, the interrogators can use their control over communication with the family to their advantage.

"[The interrogator] may state, 'I wonder how your family is getting along without you…'" the Army manual says – an attempt to exploit the subject's fear of the unknown. Then, the interrogators can promise more frequent communication with the subjects family should he give in.

Can Interrogators Pretend to Be Someone Else?

Yes, the Army manual interrogators can misrepresent themselves in order elicit information from a detainee, but they can't pose as certain groups of people including doctors, clergymen, journalists or, oddly enough, members of the U.S. Congress.

What Else Can the Interrogators Do?

There are a host of strategies described by the Army manual designed to get detainees to talk. Some are basic, including tips on building a rapport with the subject – which the manual notes "does not necessarily mean a friendly relationship" – and a type of "good cop, bad cop" ploy that the Army refers to as "Mutt and Jeff."

Another technique Camerino said he expects interrogators to use on al-Libi in particular is the "We Know All" approach.

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