Thursday, May 12, 2016
Professionals and Proper Analysis
It has an amazing impact when an analyst posts something only to have it prove true shortly afterwards. It makes people say, "I want to learn that trick!"
Yet, the science of analyzing statements for deception takes years of study to obtain accuracy that is seemingly presented for the public.
Not so fast.
In a press conference, Chris Christie spoke for more than 40 minutes about "Bridge - gate" scandal, before finally uttering, 'I didn't know' which was not a reliable denial. I had the opportunity to address this with Gov. Christie, in a rather humorous moment, two summers ago in Maine. "I didn't know" is not a magical wand of words to 'wave away' the need to preface a reliable denial with hundreds of words. Simplistic analysis and simplistic conclusions work sometimes;
sometimes they don't.
When Barak Obama was to announce a vice president candidate, Joe Biden was asked if he was going to be on the ticket.
Biden answered the question by not answering the question which was said to 'prove' Biden was lying and that he knew he had been touted for the ticket.
Now, in this case, it proved correct and given the dating, it may have a powerful impact upon the reader for accuracy. It certainly seems impressive.
However, it is not true, but an educated guess; a guess that worked out but just as readily, could have missed. But because it worked out, the same principle that brought its conclusion will backfire in other application.
The question, "Will you be Barak Obama's running mate?" in analysis is "sensitive"; in that, Biden did not want to deny it, nor confirm it. The lack of an answer showed that he was in the running or that he may have already been chosen, but we cannot say that. Can you imagine coming to this conclusion each time a question is not answered?
"Did you murder your daughter?"
"I will not dignify that with an answer" is an avoidance of the question and may be because:
a. he did murder his daughter
b. he is so insulted that he is refusing to answer.
To leap to, "he did it!" is a guess that for the anonymous is a lot of fun, but not for the professional.
San Bernadino: An expert analyst said that the statement made showed guilt of involvement by someone close to the Islamic killer.
"I can't believe he did this!" said the ally of the San Bernadino Islamic massacre shortly after the bombing. He went on to being arrested.
I read that "statement analysis showed his guilt in this statement."
Not so fast.
I have noted that some have said, "the word "this" in his statement shows that he was involved, since "this" is close and "that" is distant.
This is the type of over simplification that inevitably brings doubt to the work of Statement Analysts. Can you imagine indicating guilt using the word "this" on its own?
It sounds so impressive when it works out but it is but a single indication that should be part of an overall analysis that takes hard work, discipline, and dedication to reach.
In this particular case, the analyst was correct; but it is far too much of a leap for accurate application elsewhere.
Here is why:
The word "this" indicates closeness. He did not say, "I can't believe he did that!", which in using the word "that", would have shown distancing language.
We do not know, in context, what the closeness or distance is related to.
The closeness could be chronological: it just happened whereas years from now, the same sentence would include "that" due to the passage of time.
It could be geographical: the cousin is in San Bernadino.
From time to time I raise the concerns of the over simplification in analysis. With the cousin arrested, it may sound impressive to "know" on a single sentence, but it will not hold up with consistency over time and it will betray the analyst, eventually, and the error may bring strong doubt to the analyst, himself, and to the field.
Baby Lisa Case
Deborah Bradley was the mother of "Baby Lisa" who went missing in another fraudulent kidnap claim. Analysis of her words showed:
Baby Lisa was dead and Bradley was lying.
$700 per hour Joe Tacopina from NY entered in to the fray for the publicity and according to him, met with the FBI and 'shut down' the investigation. The analysis is on this blog, easy to access. This was not a 'who done it' case. The analysis is "101" and useful for studying the language of guilt, including distancing from her daughter.
When the case was dropped due to the influence of a high powered attorney, the publicity also faded. When publicity was desired, we were given a "shocking revelation" from "America's single greatest lie detector" who would not 'cast doubt' about Bradley lying about Lisa's death.
They brought forth the expert from the CIA with a powerful resume to a show on Fox News.
The following is statement analysis of not only Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, but of the man who claimed that Deborah Bradley was truthful in her denial of involvement in the disappearance of Baby Lisa.
Questions to be answered by Statement Analysis:
1. Is Deborah Bradley truthful?
2. Is Jeremy Irwin truthful?
3. Does Philip Houston believe Deborah Bradley is truthful in her denial of involvement?
Here is part two of the analysis of the two answers given in the Baby Lisa case, by her parents, to which former CIA Philip Houston gave a shocking conclusion to when he credited Deborah Bradley with reliability in her answer. Houston worked for the CIA and has "interviewed thousands", including terrorists. One would be very hard pressed to find a more impressive resume.
Houston stated on Fox News that the mother of "missing" 11 month old Baby Lisa, was truthful when she said she was not involved in her daughter's disappearance.
Did Deborah Bradley actually say she had no involvement?
Did she issue a reliable denial?
I ask this because over the years of following the case, she never has and if she does not, it is not reliable; but parroted. Anyone remember the coached, "I did not kill my daughter, Jonbenet" press conference, fresh with attorneys at the helm? After a public broadcast, John Ramsey learned how to actually use both, a reliable denial and a complete social introduction.
Please note that this case has been analyzed by me since 2011, and I have made the following conclusions from the language of Deborah Bradley and then from Irwin:
1. Baby Lisa is dead
2. Baby Lisa died in the home that night
3. There was no kidnapping
4. Deborah Bradley was deceptive in her answers about what happened that night.
5. Jeremy Irwin was not involved in the disappearance/death of his daughter
6. Jeremy Irwin was later deceptive in his answers about what happened to his daughter, in protection of Deborah Bradley.
Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwing were both asked about their possible involvement in the disappearance of Baby Lisa.
One allows for possible involvement while the other denies any possibility of involvement.
First, I look at the answer of Deborah Bradley, and then the answer of Jeremy Irwin.
I. Deborah Bradley's Response
"None. The only thing I did wrong...(pause) was drink that night, and um, possibly not be alert. (pause) Not hear. I'm sorry. "
This is her denial and had she left it at that, it would have appeared strong. Deceptive people, however, have a need to buttress their deceptive denial and persuade. It is this need to persuade that gives us the information before us.
We often count every word after the answer "no", and find weakness in the count, as the guilty subject feels the onus to "prove" innocence, where often the truly innocent (not just judicially innocent) feel that the onus is on others because, quite simply, they "didn't do it."
When asked, "What would you say if I told you that I thought you did it?" the one who did not do it will often say things like:
"You need a new job."
"I don't care what you say."
"I didn't do it; go bother someone else."
"You're lying. I know this because I didn't do it."
"I'd say you're an idiot."
As they speak, the produce the natural and easy reliable denial. They do not say,
"please be patient for the whole truth to come out" and other such things. There is no legal consequence for one to truthfully say, "I didn't do it."
Cagey responses cause journalists to act like sharks smelling blood and they go after the story, therefore, you and I end up reading about it. Liars insult us and liars fascinate us and liars sell news. .
2. "The only thing I did wrong"
a. Affirms that while her daughter is missing, she did something wrong.
b. Dependent Words. Dependent words are those which require another thought in order to be understood.
Uses the word "only" which is used when comparing one thing to a plurality of actions, separating that "one" thing from the rest. This tells us she did other thing, too, but she does not consider those things she did as "wrong."
From this answer, I now know that not only did she do something wrong the night her daughter disappeared, but she did other things that she does not consider "wrong." We might consider those things "wrong", but she does not.
This is a indicator that she did not intend the death of her daughter.
Houston was asked about the answer. Listen to what he says:
"I didn't see those deceptive indicators. She answered the question directly. We're not giving her credit for answering that question directly. We've giving her credit for not exhibiting those deceptive indicators. You didn't see any significant non verbals. What we also saw was that got our attention immediately that in the question she immediately went to the fact that she had been drunk that night. She was actually accepting some culpability of what happened."
First, he tells us what he did not see, in the negative. This began with the pronoun "I" and distancing language of "those." This is fascinating. What deceptive indictors didn't he see? Remember, with "those", he is referring to specifics. Specific deceptive indicators that he did not see. Which specific ones?
Yet, better than anything else: follow his pronouns.
"I" turns to "we" which turns to "you" in his answer.
Statement Analysis 101.
He began with "I", telling us what he, himself, did not see. This, alone, raises red flags, but it is not enough to conclude deception; only that something is heightened in importance at this point.
But then, he switches to "we", weakening the strong assertion that he began with ("I") This is to now include a 'crowd', which separates the first sentence that was stronger and more personal. Psychologically, he does not want to be alone. This weakening follows a trail that is not yet complete.
Why did he need to move himself in with at least one other?
We do not have to wait long for the answer. He goes from "I" to "we" and then to the universal second person "you", removing himself out of the connection on the opinion.
He began with himself, using "I", then he joined himself to at least one other, with "we" which is a weakening, but then he removed himself, entirely, from the statement with the use of "you."
He did not see...
We did not give her credit...
You did not see.
Note that all three, in progression, are in the negative, which each step further weakening the commitment until finally, there is no commitment by Houston, himself.
Next, he then says "you" didn't see any significant non-verbals, which is different from saying "I didn't see any significant non-verbals."
This is to distance himself from his own assertion.
Follow the pronouns is taught to beginners and veterans of analysis alike. They are intuitive, instinctive and 100% reliable.
"I" turns to "we" which turns to "you" indicating that Houston is not committed to his own assertion. If he is not committed to his own assertion, why is he making it?
Statement Analysis Conclusion:
Philip Houston does not believe his own words.
In other words, as part of a team, he is willing to take his resume and business and go on Fox News touted as America's greatest lie detector and be deceptive about Deborah Bradley.
By the way, "culpability"? If nothing "wrong" happened, what did happen has a relationship to her culpability; not "responsibility." Interesting choice of words.
He concluded that she was "drunk" but that is not what she, Deborah Bradley said. News said it for her, but she did not bring herself to say such.
In fact, in another later interview, she gave "cagey" (avoidance) responses about being drunk and was not able to bring herself to tell us she was drunk. This is what deceptive people do: they avoid the internal stress of a direct lie. While telling us, the public, that we needed to be out there searching for the child, she wanted certain questioning media to leave her alone because, as she said, "we are grieving", rather than "we are searching."
When experts tout cases, discerning members of the audience are listening.
There is always a temptation to "hollywood" actual detection of deception. It plays well for audiences, but not for investigators.
Back to Baby Lisa... In 2011, Bradley was continually interviewed and did not, at any time, issue a reliable denial, but continued to use words of deception. That she would suddenly, 4 years later, after lots of contact with professionals, appear to be innocent, was the point of the Fox News story.
Still, she had not learned the lessons to even attempt to sound credible.
I also noted in Deborah Bradley's short answer, the words "I'm sorry" appear. Investigators are trained to flag these words, no matter where nor how they appear, for possible leakage. The brain produced the words and they seek to learn why in the interview.
Recall when Jeremy Irwin, Lisa's father, was asked, "Who would have done this?" (the kidnapping). Recall what he said?
"Someone who cheated on her husband"
What does infidelity have to do with this case, that it would be on the mind of the father?
Deborah Bradley felt justified being with her next door neighbor, drinking, and leaving Lisa unattended for a while. She called this her "time" at Lisa's expense. I don't think Jeremy liked her being next door with the gentleman with the beer.
These were the issues to explore with "the only thing I did wrong" in her statement. I think she could have been led to admit that she lost her temper with Lisa.
It must have been very frustrating for local police investigators who were involved in the case to see a national expert say Deborah Bradley wasn't lying. This was not a case where experts were divided on what happened, as is sometimes the case.
This happens in other cases, too, where police investigators work hard to present a case, only to have a prosecutor fear to take it to trial, citing double jeopardy.
Cases are left to rot in perpetuity with police being blamed. It is frustrating. In some cold cases, attorney generals will demand that even television news stories avoid their cases in a self protecting insulation.
Then there was her phrase, "not hear" having the dropped pronoun. She did not say "I didn't hear that night" and "I was not alert" and "I was drunk", yet the expert interprets this as a signal of veracity.
The "hearing" became a sensitive issue for Bradley, as her children either heard her that night, or she feared they heard her, so she limited access to them for interviewing.
Philip Houston on Jeremy Irwin:
Houston asks: "If police were to walk in here right now, and say to you, Jeremy, we have come across some evidence which clearly indicates you're involved in Lisa's disappearance. What would you say?"
Jeremy Irwin answers: "Well, it's not possible. (pause)
Where Bradley offers something as "possible", Irwin offers no possibility. Prior analysis showed that he did not harm his daughter. He was not present when Lisa met her death.
"Its not possible because I wasn't, so it would just be another one of their lies."
This accuses police of lying.
Remember the question is about involvement.
1. the pronoun "I" to show it and unlike Deborah Bradley, there is no "possible" evidence of involvement.
2. "Wasn't" is past tense.
3. He then goes on to insult police. Please note that when a person who didn't do it is asked, "What would you say if I told you that I think you did it?" (or something similar), the person who didn't do it will often turn on the investigator and say things like,
"You're wrong. You need a new job" and so on.
He says "it would just be another one of their lies" referring to police.
This was the perfect time to ask, "what lies?"
The onus is upon law enforcement because he "wasn't" involved.
It is interesting that Houston was a part of this show, was not truthful in his own assertion, and allows Jeremy Irwin to claim police lied, while offering his training to police.
Deborah Bradley had good reason to keep law enforcement from searching the home exhaustively and when her team floated the "an old nail clipping or dirty diaper set off the cadaver dog", they strained credulity, yet not as much as did her story of the window.
In order to agree with Houston, that Bradley was not involved, we have to accept her story which means:
A stranger had to:
1. Target this particular home for a baby to kidnap. What are the odds?
2. Next, the kidnapper had to choose the only night in which the father would have to work overtime and not be home.
What are the odds of this happening?
3. Then, The kidnapper had to choose a night that not only would the father not be home, but it would be the night when they put her to sleep in a different room.
4. Then, the kidnapper had to choose the right home, on the right night when the father would not be home, and the right night when Baby Lisa would go to sleep in a different room, but then choose the right window to enter. What are the odds?
5. NEXT, the kidnapper not only had to choose the right home, on the right night, and pick the right window, but would have to get in the house without being heard by Bradley or her children.
6. The kidnapper would also have to target this house, this night that the father was working, this window, and this night where Bradley would be drinking and...
What are the odds?
Not done yet...
NOW, the kidnapper would have to pick the right house, on the right night when the father would not be home, pick the perfect night where she is put to sleep, not in her room, but a different room, with an open widow, get in the house without being heard but...
leave the lights on.
What are the odds?
Yet, I am not done yet.
In order to agree with Mr. Houston and believe Deborah Bradley, the kidnapper or kidnappers had to choose the perfect home, on the one night in which the father would be called into work for overtime, and on the perfect night in which Lisa would not be in the usual spot, but a new spot, with the widow open and get in and out of the house without being heard and..
do so with the lights on.
But wait, there is more:
The kidnapper has to choose the right house, on the right night, and choose the right bedroom on the right night, and get in and out without being heard, with the lights on and somehow,
get in and out of the house, and get away with Baby Lisa without leaving behind a single shred of trace DNA evidence.
On top of this, to believe Houston, we would also have to suspend all the principles of Statement Analysis, when listening to:
Deborah Bradley and Houston's own words.
What are the odds of:
1. Statement Analysis of Deborah Bradley being wrong, repeatedly wrong and consistently wrong, on everything from what happened to the baby being dead;
2. The polygraph results being wrong.
3. The kidnapper choosing the perfect house, on the only night in which the father was called to work for overtime, on the night in which the mother decided to put the baby in a different room, with the window open, where the kidnapper can enter the home, turn on all the lights, not be heard, get in and out without leaving behind even trace DNA evidence, leave no ransom note or demand, and never be heard from again...
not to mention the deceptive assertion by Bradley about the cell phones...
What are the odds of all of this coming together, in perfect harmony, to clear Deborah Bradley?
I return to the simple denial that Deborah Bradley was unable to bring herself to say, from Day one of this case.
"I didn't do it."
With the possibility that a 25 year CIA veteran making the bold assertion "turning the case on its ear" that Deborah Bradley is truthful, it made for interesting television drama, but not for those who wish to discern truth from deception.
Drama Trumps Science
Bill Stanton worked for Philip Houston when this was broadcast by Fox News. Stanton was part of the team of Bradley supporters working Public Relations as led by Joe Tacopina.
Human nature is complex, and this complexity is viewed through the lens of language. Human language, therefore, is complex.
The overly simplified "sound bites" catch the attention, but to consistently produce high results, real work must be done. It does not always translate to drama, and dedicated professionals pour over statements.
We have a solid course on Statement Analysis that can be completed at home.
Successful completion of this course permits access into ongoing guided training, as well as our Advanced Analysis course, which includes linguistic profiling and analytical interviewing.
A two year certification is equivalent to a 6 year course because it is its only course, and there are no semester breaks. It is intense, in depth, and supported; which means that analysts check each others' work as a habit of consistency.
No investigator turns in work to his department that is incorrect.
It is as natural as breathing as these dedicated professionals work together to 'get to the truth', not as a race, but as a course for justice. Flamboyance is for television.
"Do No Harm."
One of our most important beliefs is that we should do no harm in falsely accusing someone of deception, which means our work must be plainly understood.
If our conclusion cannot be explained to a 12 year old, we better go back to our analysis.
By the time we are done with a statement, we must know if it is:
a. A statement of veracity
b. A statement of deception with most of it reliable
c. Contaminated and should be set aside; not analyzed.
The conclusion must present itself.
This is because we "solve" cases; but the solved case is not adjudicated. It must now be proven, and the analysis was the principle tool in solving it, but we must have a report that convinces a state attorney to go forward in prosecution.
We must present our findings in an easy to understand format.
Hyatt Analysis Services