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Saddam Hussein, CIA interrogation techniques: 

"Unless you're going to torture him,

how do you really make a guy like this talk?"

 

The News with Brian Williams (7:00 PM ET) - CNBC, December 17, 2003

www.globalresearch.ca 19 December 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/NBC312A.html


Editor's Note

In the wake of his capture US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld confirmed that Saddam Hussein will be "accorded the status of a prisoner of war and his treatment would be governed by the Geneva Convention." However, when asked in the CBS News interview (14 December 2003) whether the Red Cross (ICRC), which is responsible for monitoring the Geneva Convention, would have access to Saddam Hussein, he answered evasively that this would be decided by the lawyers.

Excerpt of 14 December CBS Interview

CBS Anchorman Lesley Stahl raised the issue of torture:

STAHL: Let--let me ask you--raise the whole question of--of--for lack of a better term--torture. Let's say he's not forthcoming. Would we deprive him of sleep? Would we make it very cold where he is, or very hot? Are there any restrictions on the way we treat him to get him to cooperate more than he has been?

Mr. RUMSFELD: You know, the--to even raise the word "torture" in terms of how the United States military would treat this person, it seems to me, is--is a--unfortunate. We don't torture people (...) . And--and to suggest that anyone would be engaged in torture or conduct inconsistent with the Geneva Conventions it seems to me is--is not on the mark at all.

Excerpt of NBC December 17, 2003

Anchorman Miklaszewski: US officials insist torture is out, prohibited under the Geneva Convention. But there may be other ways to get Saddam to talk. US officials say he could be kept in total isolation, in a small room with only a bed and four bare walls, sometimes in total darkness for days as a form of sensory deprivation. Other times Saddam could be subjected to aggressive marathon interrogations that could last for days.

Excerpt of NBC News Transcripts, December 17, 2003

Former CIA agent Robert Baer discusses interrogating Saddam Hussein

I--I--unless you're going to torture him, how do you really make a guy like this talk?

Mr. BAER: It's going to be very difficult to crack him. I think at the end of the day, we're going to be very lucky if we get anything out of him.

SEIGENTHALER: How long could this take?

Mr. BAER: Months. I've done these interrogations 18 hours a day for week after week after week. And you--you get nothing...

(...)

SEIGENTHALER: You change the surroundings? Do you make him think he's some place he's not?

Mr. BAER: That's your moving over into really sort of a hostile interrogation, which I don't think you want to do with him especially if he's going to be turned over to a court. I mean, you can turn out the lights. You can keep him in the dark. You can deprive him of food, of light and things like that. I think--I don't think we're going to be doing that.

SEIGENTHALER: Make the room real cold, real hot?

Mr. BAER: Make it real cold, real hot. You know, change the hours of day and night, all these psychological assaults on somebody, it--it could work. I think they'll probably try everything. But more than anything, if I were face to face with Saddam, I would appeal to his ego. Now, is the time to set the record straight.


Complete Transcript

NBC News, 17 December 2003

Former CIA agent Robert Baer discusses interrogating Saddam Hussein

Anchor: John Seigenthaler

So just how does the CIA get information out of a man like Saddam Hussein? Well, Robert Baer was a CIA field officer for 21 years, spending most that time in the Middle East. And he joins us tonight from Irvine, California.

Mr. Baer, welcome.

Mr. ROBERT BAER (Former CIA Agent): Good evening, John.

SEIGENTHALER: So based on--some of that information we just saw, is that--is that helpful in trying to interrogate Saddam?

Mr. BAER: That make it more difficult because he's not rationale. It will take an interrogator to win Saddam's confidence. He's going to have to appeal to Saddam's ego. They're going to have to talk about the past a lot, move forward and establish a--a base line of confidence. In--in add--in addition, you're going to have to use the sensory deprivation. He'll only be able to get news through his interrogator. He'll only be able to see family members, if he ever is, through his interrogator. The meals, the rest of it, he will become to depend on this man and also to tell this man, the interrogator, his story. And you just might be able to turn this man around to--to talk.

SEIGENTHALER: Let--let...

Mr. BAER: On the other hand...

SEIGENTHALER: Yeah. I mean, let me ask you, this--this is a tough guy. And clearly, if he thinks he's going to be killed, executed, what's the incentive for him to talk? I mean, I--I--unless you're going to torture him, how do you really make a guy like this talk?

Mr. BAER: It's luck. More than that, it's something--there's--there's bonding chemistry between him and the interrogator. My personal feeling is, but not knowing Saddam, is he's going to remain defiant until the end, until he's turned over to an Iraqi court.

SEIGENTHALER: So you don't get anything out of him.

Mr. BAER: Yeah, he--he believes in his historical position in the world. And--and if he goes down, you know, executed, he'll think he'll die a martyr...

SEIGENTHALER: You know, I hear this...

Mr. BAER: ...without ever having...

SEIGENTHALER: ...I hear this from--from other people in the CIA and others who've been interrogators before they've had success though with very tough guys who--who've been defiant, who've refused to give over information. And yet, some of these tactics, so--the deprivation of sleep, you know, really becoming dependent on those people, who are providing food and shelter to him, makes a difference for--difference for some of them. But Saddam's different, I take it.

Mr. BAER: I think he's a lot tougher than most. And he's also--remember, he's delusional as well, which make it much more difficult to crack. And again, what do we have to offer him? I mean, he knows what his fate is now. It's going to be very difficult to crack him. I think at the end of the day, we're going to be very lucky if we get anything out of him.

SEIGENTHALER: How long could this take?

Mr. BAER: Months. I've done these interrogations 18 hours a day for week after week after week. And you--you get nothing...

SEIGENTHALER: You change the...

Mr. BAER: ...in the beginning.

SEIGENTHALER: You change the surroundings? Do you make him think he's some place he's not?

Mr. BAER: That's your moving over into really sort of a hostile interrogation, which I don't think you want to do with him especially if he's going to be turned over to a court. I mean, you can turn out the lights. You can keep him in the dark. You can deprive him of food, of light and things like that. I think--I don't think we're going to be doing that.

SEIGENTHALER: Make the room real cold, real hot?

Mr. BAER: Make it real cold, real hot. You know, change the hours of day and night, all these psychological assaults on somebody, it--it could work. I think they'll probably try everything. But more than anything, if I were face to face with Saddam, I would appeal to his ego. Now, is the time to set the record straight.

SEIGENTHALER: It'll be very interesting to see exactly what's happ--what happens with him. Robert Baer, it's good to talk with you tonight. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us.

Mr. BAER: Thanks a lot, John.

SEIGENTHALER: And still to come, it has been 100 years since the Wright brothers changed the world. So why was it so hard to re-enact their achievement today?

And when we come back, Playboy magazine, 50 years old, still going strong. We're going to talk with Christie Hefner, the woman who runs the empire when THE NEWS continues.


Complete Transcript

Former CIA Special Agent Jack Rice discusses interrogating Saddam Hussein

NBC News 16 december 2003

Anchorman:  John Seigenthaler

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said today that the CIA had been put in charge of the interrogation, something our next guest knows a lot about. Jack Rice was a CIA special agent for several years, working in the Middle East, including during the first Gulf War, and he joins us tonight from Minneapolis.

And as we watched this piece together, Jack, I saw you nodding when you heard the comment that wrong--really the wrong thing was done when Saddam was captured. Why do you think it was the wrong thing?

Mr. JACK RICE (Former CIA Special Agent): Yeah, absolutely. I mean this is the mistake that I think may have been made here. The first thing you do when you're doing an interrogation is you isolate that person. You don't let other people see him. You don't find a way to allow him to get angry. You force him into a very particular situation, and then you start to squeeze. To allow him to actually respond, get his dander up, to get upset, to get frustrated, that's the last thing we want. We want him to be with us, not against us.

SEIGENTHALER: He was said to be disoriented when all of this--when he was taken into custody. Is that the way the US wants him, disoriented?

Mr. RICE: Absolutely. There's two kinds of interrogations you're going to have. You're going to have a hot interrogation, which is the first interrogation, the quickest. As soon as you get him, you want to know about tactical information that he has. In the short-term, you want to know what's coming next hour, two, three, four hours. After that, you want to look at more strategic issues. You want to find out things about weapons of mass destruction. You want to loo--look at links to al-Qaeda. You want to look at--at his connection with other Iraqis and their fight against the US. That's more long term, but allowing him access to other people is going to complicate that matter, make it more difficult for us to get what we want.

SEIGENTHALER: The idea I've heard, you want to break him down psychologically in some ways. Is that...

Mr. RICE: That's right.

SEIGENTHALER: ...correct? So if you do--how do you do that? Do you play loud music? Do you keep him up late at night. Do you make it very cold where he is, very warm? How--how actually does this happen?

Mr. RICE: Well, I think everybody is different. And that's what everybody has to realize is that you have to figure out what the profile of--of this guy is. You need to see what makes him tick, what makes him work with you, what makes him fight you. In some cases, it may be treating him poorly. He may cave at that issue. On the other hand, what he may really want is that he may want the respect he thinks he deserves. If he wants to think I'm the stupid--the stupid guy, the guy who can't do anything right, fine, I can be that guy. I'll do what I need to do to--to--make him give me what I want. Now, we have limitations...

SEIGENTHALER: Does that include--yeah, there are limitations with the...

Mr. RICE: Right.

SEIGENTHALER: ... Geneva Convention.

Mr. RICE: Right.

SEIGENTHALER: But--but some of the things I just mentioned aren't part of the Geneva Convention, are they?

Mr. RICE: That's correct. You have--you have certain things that you're able to do. You can limit his sleep. You can limit his movement. You can limit his comfort. You can deal with his isolation. And you can work sort of the psychological issues. You can't torture him.

SEIGENTHALER: And--and that works.

Mr. RICE: It does work with the right people. And the thing is this is over time. This is not within two or three days. This can take weeks and months. And I think we have that time because nothing in the Geneva Convention specifically requires that we turn him over in a very particular period of time. We simply have to allow him access to the Red Cross at some point, and I think that is going happen.

SEIGENTHALER: Constantly under supervision though. How much does Saddam know, do you think?

Mr. RICE: I think realistically he may know a lot about certain issues, including connection to the al-Qaeda, the weapons of mass destruction. But the problem we have there is there have been a lot of reports that a lot of people in Iraq were giving him some unrealistic expectations, regarding those weapons of mass destruction because they were so afraid of him. So we don't know how accurate his information is, but we need to know everything he has.

SEIGENTHALER: Jack Rice, good to talk with you tonight. Thanks very much.

Mr. RICE: My pleasure.


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