During the first phase, the HUMINT collector needs to focus on the specific information available about the source. The first section of research that collectors must be familiar with is an operations plan (OPLAN) or an operation order (OPORD). The crucial areas in the OPORD are task organization, situation, mission, and execution (U.S. Department of the Army 2006). In this situation, pursuing the initial source that reported the potential of the attack might offer some insights into the structure of the Serbian army. Ensuring that the HUMINT collector has a sufficient background of the Serbian-Kosovan relations is crucial (Coulam 2006). Another vital information source for Aleksandar’s interrogation will be the other two accomplices, Niko Duan and Dimitrije Vukasin. Collectors must question them about any further specific orders they received, the structure of the organization, and others.
The next research section that the collector must be familiar with is the current events. In this case, acquiring the maximum detail about the explosion that happened on March 18th should be the priority. Further, collectors should investigate the details of the ‘important package’ that Aleksandar received and see whether finding the man he was meeting is possible (Borum 2006). They also need to look through the phones found on the detainees to inspect any entered contacts.
Another fundamental step is to research databases for information about all three involved men, Aleksandar, Niko, and Dimitrije. Knowing their affiliations, prior workplaces, and social circles may provide pressure points for future interrogation (Coulam 2006). Aleksandar and Niko each had pictures of children in their wallets, presumably men’s families. Families of the detainees might provide fractions of information on the common operating picture (COP) or situational map (SITMAP) (USDA 2006). Their family members could be similarly involved with the Serbian structures, so pursuing such a lead is crucial.
HUMINT collectors must carefully prepare and organize the source collection plan to effectively conduct the interrogation. The collection plan must contain the following: information on the detainee, objective of the questioning; location and time; approaches; topics covered in questioning; recording and reporting methods (USDA 2006). The objective of the questioning, in this case, is to find out the extent, means, and plans of the Serbian forces. The topics of interrogation should include, in the order, plans Serbian forces have of their future attacks, the workforce available for the purpose, and weapons availability. The HUMINT collector should be equipped with a recorder for the interrogation, and an observer should be present behind the two-way mirror in the room.
Section II: Recommended Interrogation Approaches and Questions
The HUMINT collector needs to stay attentive to the source’s background information and emotional shifts during the approach phase. There are multiple approaches to the interrogation process, but this paper will focus on the following three: repetition approach and emotional hate approach coupled with incentive approach. It will demonstrate how playing on the emotional side of the source with poor self-control and shifting the focus of his hatred may help the HUMINT collector with obtaining crucial information.
Before the interrogation begins, it might be suitable to ask him some questions about the recent events, such as the circumstances of his capture. Expectedly, this question may further enrage the source, making him wish for the complete extraction of NATO soldiers from the territory and posing threats about the attack being only the beginning. This outburst might be the HUMINT collector’s clue to using a tape recorder and engaging in the repetition approach (USDA 2006). Aleksandar might say something along the lines of “The explosion in Mitrovica should be a warning to all American and European troops to get out!” To this threat, the interrogator must repeat the sentence and reformulate a question about it. Continuing to rephrase this statement may build up frustration and make it compelling for the detainee to add more details to his threats.
Building on further details and heightened frustration from the repetition approach, the HUMINT collector should engage with Aleksandar’s emotional side. The collector must identify the subject of Aleksandar’s hate and build upon his feelings to override any rational reservations that the source may still have (USDA 2006). In this case, redirecting Aleksandar’s hatred from the NATO troops to the Kosovans might work. For example, the collector might seemingly agree with Aleksandar, stating that the land they are on belongs to the independent nation of Kosovo and not to NATO soldiers. Such a statement could provoke the source; the focus of confrontation could move between Serbians and Kosovans rather than Serbians and Americans.
However, appealing exclusively to emotions to make Aleksandar forget about his self-control would only be the second step of interrogation. An emotional approach is virtually worthless without an incentive to share the needed information (USDA 2006). For example, the collector may hint to Aleksandar that his elaborating on why Kosovans are deemed occupants could be passed on for consideration to the higher NATO officials. Then, the HUMINT collector could imply there might be new decisions to make in the light of the new information. However, NATO cannot consider collaborating with Serbians unless they are upfront about the specifics of their plan. The idea of this incentive approach relies heavily on previously shifting focus to being against Kosovans, not Americans. In this framework, the HUMINT collector paints a picture of collaboration rather than confrontation; Serbians obtain what they want in exchange for vital information about further plans. In the case of success, the collector will obtain information about future Serbian operations plan against NATO soldiers, the approximate size of their army, and weapons availability.
Borum, Randy. 2006. “Approaching Truth: Behavioral Science Lessons on Educing Information from Human Sources.” In Educing Information: Interrogation: Science and Art – Foundations for the Future; Phase 1 Report, edited by Center for Strategic Intelligence Research (U.S.), United States, and Federation of American Scientists, 17–44. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic Intelligence Research, National Defense Intelligence College.
Coulam, Robert. 2006. “The Costs and Benefits of Interrogation in the Struggle Against Terrorism.” In Educing Information: Interrogation: Science and Art – Foundations for the Future; Phase 1 Report, edited by Center for Strategic Intelligence Research (U.S.), United States, and Federation of American Scientists, 7–16. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic Intelligence Research, National Defense Intelligence College.
U.S. Department of the Army. 2006. Human Intelligence Collector Operations. No. 2-22.3. Web.