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Rules of Interrogation

 

Techniques Interrogation > Rules of Interrogation

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Here are ten 'rules of the game' described by Walton, (2003), by which an interrogation might take place. The rules cover both the interrogator (the proponent) and the person being interrogated (the respondent).

  1. The respondent needs to take care not to inadvertently say something that might give out the information he wants to conceal, or allow the proponent to infer it.
  2. The proponent may coerce the respondent to reveal information through threats or sanctions, but only by the means allowed.
  3. The proponent needs to pose questions to the respondent, and these questions can, and often should be, leading, loaded and deceptive.
  4. The respondent should answer in formulations that are vague, ambiguous, misleading or confusing, if that will help serve his ends.
  5. The proponent should probe critically into the respondent’s prior replies, and try to use them to extract information.
  6. The respondent should take care to try to be consistent in his replies and in the commitments that can be inferred from them.
  7. If the proponent finds inconsistencies in the respondent’s commitments, or implausible statements, or statements that are inconsistent with information from other sources, she should ask questions that critically examine them.
  8. If the proponent extracts the information she wants from the respondent, then she has achieved her goal and the dialogue concludes in her favor.
  9. If the proponent terminates the interrogation without getting the information she wants, and the respondent preserves his interests, the dialogue concludes in the respondent’s favor.
  10. The two parties can use any arguments, even ones considered irrelevant or fallacious from the viewpoint of a critical discussion, to achieve their ends.

Discussion

This is a normative set of rules, thus identifying a what 'should' happen rather than what happens in every case.

It is based on an interrogation context in which the respondent does not want to give the information that the interrogator is seeking.

 

See also

Four rules for interrogators, Rules for respondents

Walton, D. (2003). The interrogation as a type of dialogue, Journal of Pragmatics 35, 1771–1802

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