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Testimony of an interrogation trainer

According to a 2008 report by the Senate Armed Services Committee (Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody, p. 170), Mr. Terrence Russell was a SERE specialist and the manager for research and development for the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (or JPRA), the agency with organizational supervisory control over Survival-Evasion-Resistance-Escape (or SERE) training. Mr. Russell had also provided interrogation-related training for JTF-GTMO personnel prior to September 1, 2003, the date he was scheduled to depart for a mission to Iraq. In his comments to the after-action report of that mission (page 6), Mr. Russell wrote

GTMO is a strategic interrogation/debriefing facility—not a battlefield interrogation facility. In addition, a key component of the process of exploiting a source is to get them to a mental state of despair and recognition of the omnipotence of the interrogator. Once in that state, the exploiter can offer a way out—namely cooperation via non-coercive methods. At GTMO they have the luxury of holding a person for 18-24 months in a facility cut off from family, country, and support systems, with seemingly no end in site [i.e. sight], that would cause most rationale [i.e. rational] persons to move into a state of despair. A battlefield/tactical interrogation facility does not have that time luxury—the requirement to put a resistant detainee into a state of despair must and can be accelerated through the use of coercive exploitation applied [sic] IAW directives, well-considered SOPs and ROEs. Once there, non-coercive methods are employed to gain the reliable information sought.

 

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