Mossad Recognizes Value of Reid Training

In his book, On Life and Death - The Tale of a Lucky Man, Zvi Aharoni, who during his career with the Israeli Mossad led the operation of the kidnapping of Adolph Eichmann in Argentina in 1960 (see his 1997 book Operation Eichmann), credits the training that he received in Chicago from John Reid and Fred Inbau as establishing the foundation for his interrogation techniques. Here is an excerpt from the book (published by Minerva Press in August 1998):

"During my lectures on interrogation techniques I always used this true story, and other similar ones, to illustrate the fact that if you beat a man long enough and hard enough, he will confess to almost anything, but this does not help you find the 'rifles' [truth]. When making this point I was usually asked by one or another incredulous police sergeant the same question. How can you ever hope to get the truth out of an Arab without beating him first? How can you ever get a confession?

I spent ten years of my life perfecting the answer to this question and the countless confessions that we obtained and the many successful prosecutions that we initiated, proved that it can be done. I was ready to learn and I had good teachers and probably I contributed a little bit myself. My teachers were the German criminologist Hans Gross whose Applied Psychology became my textbook, and above all the greatest team of interrogators, the late John Reid and Professor Fred Inbau of Chicago. Their book Lie Detection and Criminal Interrogation became my bible. With the help of the CIA I was privileged to study polygraph and interrogation techniques in Chicago, in the laboratory of these two truly exceptional men.* Between them these two interrogators probably obtained more confessions relating to capital offenses, than any other man, alive or dead. And what is more: all of these confessions stood up to the tough limitations of the Judges' Rules.

My interrogators were allowed to use any trick in the book but they were never allowed to use physical violence. They were not allowed to voice threats or promises. They were allowed any pressure and psychological means as long as the only important criteria were guarded: anything that might lead to a false confession was taboo. No beatings, no threats, no violence, no promises.

I am proud to state that without any doubt we succeeded to perfect interrogation techniques and to build up from scratch a team of interrogators that could compete with the best in the world." (pages 98 and 99)

* Note - Zvi Aharoni attended the Reid school in 1958