This article discusses some of the material from our Killing Within The Law Series of Lectures.  It is provided by one of our professional staff – Detective Wendell White

On-line critics of the Killing Within the Law course have named it reckless, controversial and provocative; however, evidentiary value exists to prove it is timely, needed and unprecedented. While modular in nature, there is a darker element – a dark art so to say – of the KWTL course never before discussed or revealed. The purpose of this post is to briefly reveal a portion of the darker nature, a never-before-discussed thematic discourse, of an introductory module on Interview and Interrogation; the acceptance or declination of this topic here on Warrior Talk will help gauge interest and applicability to the course as a whole.

Interview and Interrogation – the topic simply sounds foreign and intimidating to the unassociated and general populace. While not revealing all, one simple aspect of interview and interrogation potentially necessary for the one undergoing the process is to learn to manipulate the interviewer and interrogator. Manipulation you say? Yes, once we understand the process we can turn from being played to playing the player. How do we do this? We learn, identify what is needed, and we in turn manipulate it.

Case Learning Point #1

In a not-so-far-away border town, more years ago than I care to remember, just South of the line, two us sat in a police station watching a member of Los Zetas who’d been picked up by our cross-border task force. My partner and I were there to observe an interview, gather information, and produce actionable intelligence…for, you see, we were working a murder-for-hire of the highest level and this man before us was one of the alleged assassins.

As we watched him he appeared in complete control of his emotion, grinned and smiled at us through the one-way-mirror. I was new and had much to learn. My partner, not so new to interview and interrogation, said to me quietly, “We need to find out what he needs and use it against him.” I didn’t understand at first but the hours long process revealed, confirmed and created new beliefs, hunches and guesses relating to our case. We learned what made this man work by watching the interrogator add and subtract items from this man’s life. We learned he was motivated by monetary factors to support his family after his discharge from military service ruined his earning potential. We learned he was further motivated by recognition from within Los Zetas and he was attempting to “build his credentials” to move up. We learned he was human and had needs. Needs, that in order to be met, required him to produce certain actions so he could then in turn reap a reward. Once we knew what he needed we played him. You see, those who do things from monetary and familial reasons still need one thing in return and that is ………

Case Learning Point #2

Once again, in a not-so-far-away border town, not too many years ago, and somewhere North of the line, I once again sat in an interview and interrogation. This time, it wasn’t Los Zetas or murder-for-hire, but much a more dangerous gentleman from across the oceans who desired to use the southern entry routes to facilitate his groups own crimes. These crimes made mass murder seem small. As I watched him, or he watched me, behind the one-way-glass I saw the smile, the arrogance and the desire to kill me, you, all of us. In stark contrast to the previously example, this person had no rigid military bearing, no physique of a trained professional, but was simple and plain in comparison. I remarked at how well he could be the “any man” – invisible in plain sight and be everywhere.

As before, I wanted to know what he needed. Did he need pecuniary gain, recognition, personal wrongs righted? No, in this case his need centered around ideological values and his unwavering devotion to killing his religious enemy. Money, recognition, family …. played no part of it and as such those “needs” couldn’t be used to manipulate him. However, once we knew his need we manipulated him. You see, those who do things for ideological reasons still need one thing in return and that is ……….

Manipulating What They Need and Warrior Talk Application

We’ve briefly discussed two types of evil and the different needs they both have. We’ve identified the necessity of finding the need and manipulating it. No, I won’t tell you how to manipulate it – better take Gabe’s course.

What does this have to do with me – the average WT member and citizen of this country? Simple answer – when you’re in the lethal force incident aftermath you’ll be the one interviewed and interrogated. Scary? Foreign? Ever been there before? Maybe not, but the same principle of need exists and can be manipulated. Let us consider this for a minute:

1. The interviewer and interrogator need to determine what happened and this is done by speaking, not speaking, playing off of witnesses, investigative leads, truthful statement, untruthful statement and most assuredly applying pressure to you through a series of tactics in which integrity, honesty and honor may or may not be present. They need a story – any story. Why any story? Because any deviation from it, once received, shows deception on your part and that can be manipulated. Ever hear of the plea process?

2. The interview and interrogator need to prove a culpable mental state and that culpable mental state needs to simultaneously match that required for prosecution and not match those of the legal defenses. Knowingly, willfully, recklessly, etc… they’re drawn out, sculpted, altered, attached to testimony and are the legs of the case for which the dark arts of interrogation are applied.

3. Evidentiary value of seized items. Remember, if they have your firearm that isn’t enough. That firearm must be attached to you and your actions in a clear and convincing way. The dark arts are brought out again to show, through testimonial and evidentiary processing, small things such as: 1. Functionality of the weapon, 2. Latent and/or Touch DNA tying you to the weapons, 3. Evidentiary value of circumstantial identifiers such as GSR on your trigger finger in substantially greater quantity than on your wrist, distilled petroleum on your hands consistent with that used in weapon lubrication, etc.

Now you know the needs – story plus supporting evidence which may be gathered through lies – you can manipulate the interviewer and interrogator. For example, when they tell you they’ve got witness statements, camera surveillance, receipts and/or other data placing you at the scene, doing something, saying something, or planning something you know they need you to give them something to prove or disprove it. Whatever you say they’ll use as your story.

Here is some easy manipulation of their needs:

1. If they say “we know what you did and we want your side of the story” a manipulated reply is simply, “My attorney and I will stand by discoverable evidence gained through best practice means.” What did you just do? You took the moral high ground and the jury won’t accept lying to you as best practices.

2. If they make an accusation, ask a question, and just remain silent they’re waiting for you to give in to the pressure and make a statement. A manipulated response is simply, “I’m unable to accurately and morally respond.”

3. If they say evidence shows you did something, or your latent prints and/or touch DNA is/are being used, preset or have a certain meaning, a manipulated response would be, “To better aid my recollection I request to review the scientific analyses to assist me.” What did you do? You potentially called them on a bluff and if they can’t produce the documentation you now their “needs” require you admitting to speculation. We never admit to speculation.

Needs – we all have them – and they can all be manipulated. While KWTL is outside mainstream defense instruction, the dark art aspect of reading and manipulating those around you is even further out.

Does this have value to you? If so, please let Gabe know. Next time the investigator looks you in the eye and says the following: “Jim, I’m watching your respiration rate, length or respiratory pause, body language, eye movement, skin color, position of hands and your skin flushes” you will know where they’re at in the investigation, what they need you to do, say and give them.

Once you know, you own them.