ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Well, Robert McFadden is senior vice president of the Soufan Group. He's a 30-year veteran of U.S. federal law enforcement, and he spent many of those years in counterterrorism, and Mr. McFadden, a question I have for you is now that this very important suspect is in custody, what do you do? How do you question him? What do you do now?
ROBERT MCFADDEN: This, first of all, is the absolute optimal outcome as far as this phase of what's going on with this saga. The very first thing of paramount importance is if he is injured, if there are medical situation, and that will be taken care of, and it's not just for what may seem the intruder practical matter of being able to question him, but that's the way things are done. Medical care would be the first and foremost, OK?
So let's presume he's able to talk, he's medically clear, he's lucent, coherent. I have no doubt that an A-level team of interviewers will begin the questioning and first and foremost will be what other events may be in play, what other events are out there that we can disrupt and take down. Closely related to that, who else was involved, are there other co-conspirators? That has to be exhausted.
SIEGEL: Is there a good...
MCFADDEN: And then...
SIEGEL: Go ahead. I'm sorry.
MCFADDEN: No, I was going to say then following that would be something along the lines of taking him along the timeline, but not necessarily, though, for skilled interrogator depending on how it's going to go with those first two very, very careful or very important questions, you may have to go back.
SIEGEL: Let's say that there is another plot in play, and there are other conspirators. Is there a good track record for a suspect who's taken into custody talking about them?
MCFADDEN: Well, I know this won't be really satisfactory, but it depends, though, but again, in the hands of a skilled interviewer, an interrogator, combined with the information that's being fed into them which helps inform the line of questioning which is very, very important for results, but it may take some time, but that's the way it'll go.
You can think of it as kind of a helicopter circling the target, it may have to make a few passes but invariably will keep going back to those key questions.
SIEGEL: What's the worst thing that interrogators could do right now? What's the worst mistake they could make?
MCFADDEN: Well, the worst thing they could do is if there's not any kind of degree of rapport or accord right from the get-go, that could make it very, very difficult and just cause more time, and usually, what happens in a situation like this, though, Robert - or no, I shouldn't say usually, undoubtedly, there are other teams on standby. I've been in situations myself where a double team goes in there, but for some reason or another, it's just not clicking. For a major, major case like this, there are provisions where, hey, listen, you, it's nothing about pride or ego. You get the best in there and keep it going.
SIEGEL: So you go to the bullpen for relief then to see if it'll work better that way in the...
SIEGEL: ...interrogation. Well, thanks for talking with us again. So Robert McFadden of the Soufan Group. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.