Whether you are resisting an actual interrogation or just avoiding revealing information, you need to know interrogation resistance techniques. We drew upon the literature to bring you this list.
First it helps to know what the goal of an interrogation is, and what the methods being used are. Study our page here on how to interrogate people. The key thing to remember is that interrogators often have a frame, or story they use to approach your interrogation. Break that story or don’t release information and you win.
Second you should strongly consider not speaking. People think they are smart enough to get away with conversing with the police or someone who is well prepared. This is arrogant and will almost always lead to mistakes. The best thing you can do in any situation where someone is trying to get information out of you is to stop talking. If it is a legal matter, get a lawyer. You can only hurt yourself by opening your mouth. If the situation isn’t legal, change the subject or walk away. Regardless, a well prepared interrogator can almost always get useful information out of someone if they start talking. They simply spend more time doing it than you spend practicing resisting. Shut up.
Third, consider being honest. Under certain situations, like in relationships, honesty is the best thing you can do. Simply tell your side of the story persuasively. If it honesty doesn’t work, consider telling the person to stop talking about that topic if it bothers you.
Fourth, you can try to reframe the situation. If you know why the person is interrogating you, change the narrative. Start accusing them of something and stay focused on the attack. If the person is investigating you for something they think you did, accuse them of getting distracted from finding the real perpetrator. Why would they speak to you if the real problem causer is out there? Call them lazy, distracted, confused, incompetent, or anything that focuses the problem on them. Find an imperfection in their argument and stay focused on it. Often the best defense is a good offense.
Sixth, you can take the dangerous road of fake confession. Think about what they are trying to accomplish and give them a fact that will mislead them. This works well when following an attempt to resist, dodge, or change the topic. Pretend to give into their whiles, and share information that will cause them issues. This information is best sandwiched in a bunch of true statements so they will buy it. You can also just share information that is true but irrelevant or out of date or harmless. This works best if you are good at playing dumb.
Seventh, beware of the friend and helpful person trick. Interrogators who are more familiar with the science of interrogation will often try to get you talking through gifts, favors, finding similarities, and empathetic connection. Avoid falling into the trap of thinking this person is your friend. Instead, think of all the reasons you have to believe they are your enemy. Think of how the information you are trying to keep private could hurt you. Point out all the ways you aren’t similar to them. Think of ways to hate or distrust them.
Eights, speak complete nonsense. Instead of remaining silent, start talking about irrelevant things. Act crazy, or talk about movies and songs you like or dislike. Talk about the weather and how birds flying is interesting. Interrogators can be used to getting their way and the inability to control someone and force them to speak about what they want can be frustrating.
Ninth, if you are actually being tortured, know the only thing you have control over is whether you talk or not. Is keeping your mouth shut worth it? Decide and act that way.
Tenth, if you have information they want, consider negotiating for it. Be clear on what you want and why what you have is of value to them. List all the ways your information can help the interrogator get what they want. List all the ways they will miss out if they don’t deal with you. If the interrogation is more of a conversation, simply say “I don’t see a good reason for me to share that information with you.” If they persist, point out, “wow this topic is really important to you,” and say “why would I give you that information for free?”
If someone keeps pestering you in a conversation, consider learning techniques on how to deal with controlling people.