We’d like to thank Colonel G.I. Wilson, USMC (Ret.) for arranging for his review of The Human Skills: Elicitation & Interviewing to be reprinted in the new Counterintelligence Quarterly, volume 1, Issue 1. Colonel Wilson’s originally wrote the review in July of 2010 on Amazon.com. Here it is below.The Human Skills: Elicitation and Interviewing
Stopa's no frills and sophisticatedly concise book about the human skills of elicitation and interviewing belongs in the libraries of leaders of all ilk's to include law enforcement, intelligence-information collectors, physicians, psychologists, security consultants, military, reporters, journalists, forensic professionals, teachers, professors, marketers, and communications specialists. Stopa artfully describes how obtaining good accurate information is central to so many human activities. However, there is a great deal of emphasizes on detecting deception using technology. Unfortunately, the value of gathering and collecting facts and good information is lost on many. The problem manifests itself in getting wrapped around ferreting out deception and over reliance on technology.
Today human skills have all but faded with the over reliance on and addiction to technology in everything we do. We want technology to do almost everything for us and think for us. For example, the polygraph is heralded for detecting deception. Yet, spies and serial killers successfully navigated the polygraph. Serendipitously, Stopa reminds us of the human skills for collecting information and the value of developing rapport and listening in the gathering good information in discerning facts and noise.
Granhag (2006) in his research notes that distinguishing among facts, fiction, truth, noise, and deception is one of the central tasks associated with forensics, interviewing, and interrogation. Bond and DePaulo (2006) looked at a large number of studies that focused on people's ability to ferret out deception noting that people's performance/ability for detecting lies/deception do so just above the level of chance. Nevertheless, that does not mean people cannot get better at discerning truth from fiction.
To this end Frank Stopa in his book Human Skills: Elicitation and Interviewing offers an approach that focusing on rapport building and verification of facts , Stopa does not fall into the trap of over reliance on technology such as polygraph and neurolingisitc programing techniques. These techniques (polygraphs, neurlolinguist applications,) find little valid evidence-based-data to support their use. "The only certain method of discerning truth relies on the corroboration of the known facts..." (Meloy, 1997, p. 633). Stopa never looses sight of this fact. Stopa's quick read shows addresses how elicitation, interviewing, conversation are essential to every professional's repertoire for gathering, collaborating, and compiling good accurate information. And...Stopa also discussion counters to elicitation tactics, techniques, and procedures to thwart infiltration and penetration. This book needs to be made into a text book for forensic, criminal justice, and all intelligence communities.