Sunday, November 21, 2010
Information acquired during the skillful interrogation of prisoners of war (POWs), or the monitoring of their conversations with fellow prisoners or stool pigeons, can be of critical importance. In most conflicts where POWs are taken, intelligence personnel are on hand to extract tactical intelligence and screen candidates suitable for further interrogation. During World War II, Luftwaffe and U-boat crews often unwittingly disclosed vital information about navigation techniques and radar and electronic countermeasures. A chance remark by one submariner, for example, revealed that Allied depth charges were invariably set to detonate at a maximum of 250 feet, whereas U-boats were operating much deeper. More recently, the detainees imprisoned at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2002, have provided their interrogators with an abundance of valuable information concerning the Taliban and al-Qaeda personalities, international terrorist networks, their individual tradecraft, communication methods, and financial transactions.