Befuddled Interrogator interrogation techniques

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While not a standard U.S. interrogation doctrine, Mackey describes the Befuddled Interrogator interrogation techniques as targeted on an "arrogant enemy officer with illusions of superiority", who thinks there is "no harm in telling a buffoon something he will never understand". [1] It can be considered a variant of Pride and Ego Down, similar in that both are directed to a prisoner with a strong and proud ego, but differing in that it does not attempt to reduce his ego, but to exploit it.

It can be most effective when the questioner is unlikely to seem dominant or experienced. Mackey commented that it could be extremely effective, against prisoners from a male-dominant culture, when used by young, female, and thoroughly professional interrogators.

In a police context, it can be used effectively with "novice offenders", who expect harsh interrogation. At some point, a friendly but confused interrogator may kindle a desire, on the prisoner's part, to "help".[2]


  1. Chris Mackey & Greg Miller (2004), The Interrogators: inside the secret war against al Qaeda, Little, Brown & Co., ISBN 0-316-87112-5, p. 481
  2. Davis D,O'Donohue W (2003), Chapter 36: The Road to Perdition: Extreme Influence Techniques in the Interrogation Room, in O'Donohue W, Levensky W, Handbook of Forensic Psychology, Academic Press, pp. 954-955