To do successful Anonymous Author Identification is something that comes from years of diligent study, application, correction, and interaction from other analysts.
To assess the level of threat, know the one making a threat and you can know more of the level of the threat. Be guided by the language.
There is, however, a few times when rather easy threats are discerned as deceptive, which we saw in several in 2016.
Attn: African-American Family
are two such, and the recent Anonymous letter sent against Muslims is also one of them. It is a "fake hate" letter written by a Muslim.
These relatively easy ones can be useful for instruction as well as confidence building, though they can also backfire for growth because most are not like these; with plain signals of deception.
Statement Analysis training begins with lie detection. With a reported shop lifting event:
"I went to the store with a friend. Got what I needed and left."
This is not difficult to discern with basic principles applied.
"I went to the store with a friend" is 90% likely to be truthful. It begins with the strong, psychological presence of the subject, as seen in his pronoun, "I" and uses the continued strength of the past tense verb "went."
Then we have the word "with" found between persons, which indicates distance.
What does "distance" mean?
It could mean quite a number of things.
He could be distancing himself from "friend" because:
a. he just met him (or her)
b. the friend stole
c. he does not want to be associated with the friend
d. he does not like friend
e. friend did not want to go to the store
f. he did not want to go to the store with friend
g. friend does not like him
h. he wanted to go to a different store
i. friend wanted to go to a different store
j. one of them did not want to steal
k. friend wanted one item; subject wanted a different item
l. he does not want to reveal identity of friend
and on it goes.
So, which one do you choose?
I often encounter over-eager analysts who rush to choose one, and this becomes a pattern. Eventually, this rush will lead to error.
It always does.
it is proper to cite the principle of distance but not to conclude anything unless the statement, moving forward, reveals the nature of the distancing language. He did not say "My friend and I" but chose to put "with" between himself and the gender-neutral friend.
The rush to conclusion is guess work; not analysis. I saw one such use of this in the word "that" where the analyst's conclusion was in error. Why?
Because "that", which showed distancing language (rather than "this"), was due to geographical distance; not a criminal need to separate oneself from conspiracy to commit a crime. The error, by itself, ruined the conclusion for the analyst. Something this simple, due to the desire to 'perform' or rush to judgment, hit the analyst's confidence. It did not have to be.
Next we have "a friend" and not "my friend", without a close relationship or even the gender revealed.
Why does the subject want to conceal the gender?
Does the subject want to conceal the gender? If it is a male, he is not going to say "my boyfriend", so maybe the subject does not want to actually conceal the gender.
What does the analyst do if he or she learns that the subject was never at the store?
"I went to the store" is 90% likely to be reliable, yet the video from the store showed:
he did not go to the store.
The analyst is now faced with more possibilities:
a. This subject is a very strong, habitual liar (10%)
b. He went to the store on a different date, and is using this as part of deception
c. Could there be an error in the security camera?
d. If he never went to the store, why the need to drop the pronoun after the first sentence. Why didn't he signal the deception with:
"Went to a store with a friend..." as so many do?
As difficult as Anonymous Author Identification is, not only is there new principles to learn, but more importantly,
there must be a great deal of repetition as well as inclusion of ideas from others. This helps reduce 'remote references' by the 'odds' or statistical likelihood. even where no one specific stat exists.
It is a form of 'guidance' that helps the analysis along, leaning always towards the most likely answer, at any point along the way.
Of course, this has its risks.
Then, once taken, the question is posed:
Will the rest of the statement affirm, deny, or remain neutral, towards this specific position?
Once someone feels 'strongly' about a specific opinion about a point, the analyst is lost. In AAI, this is a personality trait that works against success.
This is an area in which "digging in the heels" is almost always ending in error. This is why personality traits rises, naturally, to the surface, for new analysts. The 'unresolved' psychological issues present themselves and allow for a choice:
a. Do I confront them (or it), which may be painful, or go up against all of my defenses, and even my personal beliefs, or...
b. Do I ignore it and press on?
b will lead to failure in analysis. It leads, at times, to self preservation in life, but eventually, the analysis has a way of coming back and haunting the analysts.
Many (close to most) experience a crisis of sorts during formal training. They are reassured that their experience is not singular, and are encouraged to face "the worst possible outcome" that could exist.
Once this is embraced and accepted, the outlook always improves.
I believe every life is fascinating and worth of having the story told. I love autobiographies; especially of ordinary people, though their works are not nearly as abundant. Even family published home journals are amazing to read and are life affirming.
I continue to see some good ideas here, but with AAI, this is not the place for any personal correction. I can't predict how one will react, even when addressed anonymously, as it can be very painful.
In training, analysts learn, just like in professional chess, to embrace and even enjoy corrections. When their foundation is strong enough, I encourage them to reach out to others, who are at or near the same level of development, and begin to increase volume.
Anonymous Author Identification and the subsequent Threat Assessment Analysis come from a progression of study:
I. Statement Analysis Deception Detection
II. Content Analysis
III. Psycho-Linguistic Profiling
IV. Anonymous Author Identification and Threat Assessment
The Psycho-linguistic profiling teaches that our words reveal:
1. Our Backgrounds
2. The things we have experienced in life
3. Our priority (in the statement, which sometimes has multiple priorities)
4. Our personality traits --this is, sometimes, enough to see a full diagnosis, though we do not diagnose and we recognize that the DCM changes frequently, sometimes even due to intrusion from politicians. Therefore, we lay out the dominant traits.
We don't "see" what does not exist, therefore, if the wording reveals "oppositional", the same wording in other statements should reveal the same.
In detecting deception, we are at or near 100% accuracy.
In content analysis, with the conclusion of deception detection, we find strong, 90% plus, accuracy in guiding us to what happened, when it happened, and often why it happened.
In psycho-linguistics, we should be 80% to 85% accurate. This is critical for the final step:
In identifying the author of an anonymous letter, yes, sometimes we can say "the subject, himself, wrote the letter" but often we are able to identify:
The subject (writer's) background.
The subject's experiences in life, including trauma.
What the subject's priority is: does he seek attention? Is he for real? Does he want money? Go Fund Me is very popular.
The subject's personality traits emerge and are acutely useful for interview and interrogation strategy.
This often tells us if we should use a male or female investigator to conduct the interview (sometimes both), whether or not we confront, or remain passive, and where we aim our questions. (The analysis has already told us where, in the statement, to aim our questions; this is about where, in the personality of the subject, to aim).
I asked an ADA to ask a subject if he knew about the men that visited his home while he was in jail.
I asked her, via a note, to ask the question.
She pushed the note back and shook her head "no."
I pushed it back at her and she whispered, "it'll be objected to."
I said, "I know. Ask it."
The defense attorney vehemently objected.
The subject left the witness stand and had to be restrained.
He was going to attack his wife.
Result: baby saved from life that included violence, drugs, and a grandfather with child pornography.
In my interview with the subject, (in jail), I asked him,
"Are you going to attack me?"
(or, "are you going to kill me?"; it is a regular question I ask violent subjects).
I always listen carefully to the answer and note if I am able to disarm, with a bit of humor, a dangerous subject. If one answers, "Why should I want to hurt you?", have another present for the interview. It's a lot wiser than relying upon a 'micro-expression' you saw on television; especially if the subject has a history of 'successful' violence.
As the personality emerges, the identification of an anonymous author is an inexact science.
This is why 'easy' ones can lead to error.
Being able to identify many of the major traits, including personality of the subject, allows for us to appropriately assess the threat level.
The journey begins with disciplined study.
By the time the analyst has reached an advanced level of working through the psycho-linguistics, he or she has already had many hours of training with others, openly making mistakes, and embracing them.
Statement Analysis is a science of communication. It is, therefore, impossible to reach a level of proficiency alone.
The professional chess instructor highlights the weaknesses in the student's game, and thus prescribes the recommended avenues of study. Then, when the study is done, the instructor now 'proofs', or corrects and improves the areas of weakness, while also stressing the growth of successful areas.
This is one of the most powerful secrets of success in detecting deception:
"iron sharpens iron."
Some of you saw an example of a live 'training' session. A comment is made regarding a specific word or portion of a statement. The comment is then addressed:
a. it must come from principle
b. it must be supported by principle (including precedent)
c. the principle must be understood (this goes beyond parroting)
d. there is a need to apply the principle over and over and over.
This is done while others are 'voting' (in a sense) on the comment, seeking to learn if the statement will support it, or will deny it.
By working with minds stronger than my own, I benefit.
If you associate with wealthy people, over time, you may begin to imitate their ways...sacrificing, saving, investing, and...
By urging highly trained professionals to enter a training, I am being privileged to work with some of the best investigators in the nation and Europe.
When said professionals act like "little children at Christmas", filled with excitement and wonder and incessantly learning,
it is inspiring and I learn.
A week ago, I was reviewing my files on analysts when I decided it was time to encourage a very sharp female analyst to take a role at teaching. My plan was for her to take a team of new student analysts through a statement, perhaps in a session of under 2 hours, in discerning not only deception, but 'what happened.'
I have enjoyed watching her growth and her speciality area being 'subordinated' to principle. We call this "tethering", like a strong dog on a leash, to basics, before moving into the deeper levels of analysis and it requires self restraint. No "jumping" and no "excited pronouncements" that are highly entertaining, but only sometimes accurate.
The last few months she has found 'peace' in surrendering her intellect, insight and experiences to principles of analysis.
She is now 'free' to deeply explore the psycho-linguistics of advanced analysis because she is self disciplined. She is very likely to maintain a very high level of accuracy because her foundation is not only strong, but her embracing of her foundation is strong.
Confident in the principles, her latent talent is now permitted to 'fly' into some exciting levels.
Solomon pointed this out thousands of years ago:
Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
This is truth.
It is timeless.
Time, culture, weather, opinion, nor anything else can change or affect truth.
It may seem overwhelming at times, but keep in mind that in formal training, success in detecting deception comes early and is very rewarding.
For those enrolled in a statement analysis course, there is the opportunity to enroll in the live monthly training where all of their work, all of their study, and all of their effort is put to task, in real situations with real consequences.
It is thrilling.
When one enrolls in the complete Statement Analysis Course, we always include one free invitation to the live training.
In fairness, I warn them:
it is addicting.
When they experience what it is like to see their learning put to use in society, for justice, for victims, for the sake of truth, they are hooked; marvelously so.
The short session on the McCann case was a glimpse of what analysts did, the night before, for more than 5 hours of live labor. Well beyond parroting, there is exploration.
It is exciting.
The comments on the above anonymous "fake hate" letter show an interest in learning. The letter contains no threat.
It is written by a Muslim.
Can you discern:
The Sex of the author? ("his", now used for both)
The approximate age of the author?
Is English his first language?
His education level?
His possible experiences in life?
Has he experienced trauma from war torn Islamic lands?
Is he from "generation Jihad"? (these are Islamists who are at least 2nd generation Americans, are are 'more religious' than their parents; something Europe is now noticing more and more), or
is he someone who immigrated to the U.S.?
What is his personality like?
Is his "impoverished" and lashing out from anger of poverty?
What is his priority? In other words, why did he write this?
There is a disciplined way of taking raw talent and letting it, in the words of the subject, "shine."
Being supported by other professionals, particularly 'off training', where you constantly work through various statements on the news, is a strongly effective method.
There is no substitute for volume and there is no by-passing the necessity of time.
But when you have analyzed many anonymous statements, with guided training, patterns and expectations become clearer, and so do results.
Stay tuned for an update on the Employment Analysis for human resource professionals, hiring police departments, and business professionals who warrant discernment in hiring protocol.
The need for trained analysts is acute.
How do cyclists learn to go faster?
by going faster.
How do chess players learn to play better chess?
by playing those better than themselves as well as study.
Analysts who develop professional relationships with other analysts can cause significant increase in growth from regular contact, via email, weekly or even daily, as statements present themselves.
In the criminal world, it is the same thing:
We see that pedophiles often seek out other pedophiles. This is obvious in facilitating their unnatural crimes against children, but it is also for support, as they are able to assist each other in quelling the conscience. The notion of a pedophile "ring" is often discounted, but not by those who investigate child abuse.