Guidelines for the Interviews Regarding International Terrorism

Office of the Deputy Attorney General

Washington, D.C. 20530

November 9, 2001


                                        ALL MEMBERS OF THE ANTI-TERRORISM TASK FORCES


SUBJECT: Guidelines for the Interviews Regarding International

This memorandum provides guidance to those members of the Anti-Terrorism Task Forces who will participate in the interviewing
project announced in the Attorney General's directive of November
9, 2001. This guidance discusses the manner of conducting the
interviews, the topics to be covered during the interviews, and
the procedures to be followed in carrying out this project.

By sending this guidance, we do not suggest that our law
enforcement partners need instruction in the ways of interviewing
and investigation. We recognize that you each have your own
particular approach to conducting interviews based on your
understanding of your jurisdiction and constituents, and we will
not presume to dictate the interviewing strategy to be used in
every part of the country. Nor are we suggesting that any of our
federal, state and local law enforcement partners would engage in
inappropriate interviewing techniques in the absence of this
guidance. Rather, we simply wish to explain the areas of expected
inquiry, and to ensure both that everybody understands the
information-gathering objective of this project and that the
questioning during the interviews aligns with that objective.

1. Manner of Conducting Interviews

Since the persons to be interviewed are not suspected of
involvement in criminal activity, the interviews will be
conducted on a consensual basis, and every interview subject
("individual") will be free to decline to answer questions. In
approaching the individual, you should announce your name, title
and law enforcement agency, clearly explain the purpose of the
interview, and ask permission to speak with the individual. As
these interviews will not be "custodial interrogations," there is
no need to seek a waiver of Miranda rights.

Unless the individual prefers to conduct the interview away from
his home, workplace or neighborhood, you should ordinarily not
ask him to accompany you to the police station or the field
office. A number of these individuals may have difficulty with
the English language and little understanding of our criminal
justice system, and we want them and the other members of their
communities clearly to understand that they are not being taken
into custody and that the interviews are being pursued on a
consensual basis.

You should feel free to use all appropriate means of encouraging
an individual to cooperate, including reference to any reward
money that is being offered for information about terrorists.
However, you should be careful about mentioning an individual's
potential criminal exposure. You should raise the topic of the
individual's possible prosecution only if you have both a solid
factual basis for concluding that the individual has violated a
criminal statute and clear authority to enforce that statute. In
the absence of one or the other of these preconditions, you
should avoid mentioning the individual's potential criminal

While the primary purpose of these interviews is not to ascertain
the legality of the individuals' immigration status, the federal
responsibility to enforce the immigration laws, as exercised by
the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS"), is an
important one. Therefore, if you suspect that a particular
individual may be in violation of the federal immigration laws,
you should call the INS representative on your Anti-Terrorism
Task Force or the INS officials at the closest Law Enforcement
Support Center. Those officials will advise you whether the
individual is in violation of the immigration laws and whether he
should be detained.

You should also be careful not to inquire into an individual's
religious beliefs and practices. It is appropriate to ask whether
the individual has witnessed or heard any persons advocating the
use of violence or terrorism. However, it is not appropriate to
question or otherwise challenge the validity of religious beliefs
or practices.

You should keep in mind that a large number of these individuals
will have a limited capability to communicate in the English
language. While it might be possible to conduct adequate
interviews with such persons, through English-speaking companions
or otherwise, there might be some whom you would rather interview
with an interpreter. You are free to utilize any interpreting
services that are available to your agency. The United States
Attorney should also inquire into the availability in their
districts of interpreters in the relevant languages.

Finally, you should be aware that a number of the individuals on
the list might be attending schools on student visas. Please make
sure to follow all protocols regarding coordination with campus
security forces whenever you seek to interview individuals who
reside on college campuses.

2. Topics to Cover During the Interview

You should feel free to ask the individuals about any topic that
would elicit information that could reasonably assist in the
effort to learn about those who support, commit, or associate
with persons who commit terrorism. As a guideline for the
questioning, we provide the following list of suggested topics
for the interviews. The first few topics involve general
information about the individuals, and the remaining topics
relate directly to our anti-terrorism effort.

a) Identity

The identity of the individual should be ascertained by
requesting his full name, his date and place of birth, his
citizenship and any other identifiers that can be provided. The
individual should also be asked about any other names that he has
used, in this country or elsewhere. To the extent possible, the
individual's identity should be verified by reviewing any
identification that the individual is able and willing to
provide. In light of the availability of false identification
documents, you may wish to request more than one form of
identification. You should specifically ask to see the
individual's passport and visa, and you should take note whether
he appears to be residing in the United States within the time
period allowed by the visa. If the individual produces a passport
or other document that records past travel, you should make an
effort to note where the documentation was issued and any
information that it provides about the individual's travel

b) Telephone Numbers

You should obtain all telephone numbers used by the individual
and his family or close associates.

c) Residence

You should ask the individual where he is residing and about any
other residences that he has used since his arrival in this
country. If he lives with others, you should inquire as to their
identities. You should note any information that would assist in
locating the individual in the future.

d) Employment and Sources of Income

You should inquire about the individual's current employment and
source(s) of income.

e) Education

You should inquire about the individual's educational background,
including whether he has any professional licenses or scientific

f) Foreign Travel

You should ask the individual what foreign countries he has
visited, the dates of those visits, and the reasons he went to
those countries. You should inquire specifically whether he or
anybody he knows has ever visited Afghanistan.

g) Armed Conflicts

The individual should be asked whether he or anybody else he
knows has ever participated in an armed conflict. If he answers
in the affirmative, you should probe for details of the role that
he or the other person or persons played in that conflict.

h) Reason for the Individual's Visit

The individual should be asked about his reasons for visiting the
United States. If the individual is here to attend school, you
should learn what you can about his studies and future plans.

If the individual is here as a tourist, you should inquire as to
the cities, landmarks and other sites that he has visited or
plans to visit. You should ask when the individual plans to leave
the United States and where he plans to go. You should also ask
the purpose of any trips the individual has made outside of the
United States since his entry.

i) Threats or Violence Directed at the Individual

You should inquire whether the individual has suffered any
violence or threats because of his religion or nationality. If
the individual claims to have been the victim of such a crime,
you should obtain all relevant information and take any
appropriate action to investigate the allegation.

j) Knowledge Regarding the Events of September 11, 2001

You should ask the individual whether he knows, or is aware of
anyone who knows, anything about the September 11th attacks or
the perpetrators.

k) Reaction to Terrorism

You should ask the individual if he noticed anybody who reacted
in a surprising or inappropriate way to the news of the September
11th attacks. You should also ask him how he felt when he heard
the news.

l) Involvement in Terrorism

You should inquire whether the individual knows anybody who has
had involvement in advocating, planning, supporting or committing
terrorist activities, and whether he has ever had any personal
involvement in such activities.

m) Knowledge of Terrorism

The individual should be asked whether he knows anyone who is
capable of or willing to carry out acts of terrorism; whether he
is aware of any plans or discussions about the commission of
terrorist acts in the future; and whether he has any ideas about
how future acts of terrorism could be prevented. You should also
ask him if he recognizes the names of any suspects or targets who
have been the subject of investigations in your jurisdiction.

n) Financing of Terrorism

The individual should be asked whether he is aware of anyone
raising money for terrorist activity, and whether he or anyone
else has contributed to an entity which the individual knows or
suspects to be a front for funding terrorism. You should ask if
the individual is aware of anyone engaged in systematic criminal
activity to raise money, like drug trafficking or fraud schemes.

o) Training of Terrorists

The individual should be asked if he is aware of anybody,
including himself, who has received any training which could be
applicable to terrorist activities, whether it be training at
terrorist camps, flight lessons or other training programs in the
United States or abroad.

p) Sympathy for Terrorists

You should ask whether the individual is aware of any persons who
have sympathy for the September 11th hijackers or other
terrorists, or for the causes those terrorists espouse. You
should also ask the individual whether he shares those sympathies
to any degree.

q) Advocates of Violence

You should inquire whether the individual has heard of anyone
recruiting persons to engage in violent acts against the United
States or its citizens. You should ask the individual if he has
knowledge of anyone who is advocating "jihad" or urging others to
overthrow the government or to attack Americans, either under the
guise of religion or otherwise.

r) Knowledge of Weapons

The individual should be asked whether he or anybody he knows has
access to guns or to any explosives or harmful chemical
compounds, or has any training or experience in the development
or use of such weapons. You should also ask if he knows of anyone
who is capable of developing any biological or chemical weapon
such as anthrax.

s) Sources of False Documents

The individual should be asked if he is aware of anyone who
possesses or is involved in selling or supplying others with
false identification documents, such as driver's permits, visas,
social security cards and credit cards.

t) Knowledge of Terrorists Overseas

You should ask whether the individual is aware of any persons or
groups in his homeland who might be planning or advocating
terrorist acts against the United States, and whether he knows
anyone in his homeland who could help the United States in its
fight against terrorism.

u) Other Suspicious Activity

The individual should be asked if he is aware of any other
suspicious activity in his neighborhood, community, or circle of
acquaintances that might suggest the undertaking or support

of terrorist activities.

v) Others with Information

You should ask the individual if he is aware of any other persons
who might have information about the above topics.

w) Knowledge of Any Criminal Activity

You should remember to ask the catch-all question whether the
individual is aware of any criminal activity whatsoever, whether
related to terrorism or not.

x) Willingness to Provide Information in the Future

You should explain that the United States needs everyone's help
to prevent future terrorism, and you should encourage the
individual to contact you if he sees or hears anything
suspicious, or if he comes across anyone who has information that
would be relevant and useful. You might want to inquire whether
you can contact the individual periodically in the future to see
if he has obtained any more information. In other words, if the
individual is positioned and willing to provide useful
information, you should attempt to develop him as a source in the
same way that you would recruit any source related to more
traditional criminal activity.

3. Implementation Procedures and Deadlines

This project is to be implemented by taking the following steps
within the designated deadlines

a)The Executive Office for United States Attorneys will
distribute the lists and this guidance to each United States
Attorney on November 9, 2001.

b) The United States Attorneys and the Director of the Executive
Office for United States Attorneys will hold a conference call to
discuss this project on November 9, 2001.

c) Each United States Attorney will convene a meeting of the
Anti-Terrorism Task Force on or before November 21, 2001. At that
meeting, the United States Attorney will (1) distribute the
Attorney General's directive and this guidance to the members of
the Task Force; (2) ensure that all members understand the
objectives of the project and every aspect of this guidance; (3)
discuss the logistics of conducting these interviews; (4)
describe the methods of report writing and submission; (5)
explain the responsibilities of the interviewers and the
deadlines under which they must operate; and (6) answer any and
all questions about the project.

d) The agents and officers will locate the individuals and
conduct the interviews on or before December 21, 2001.

e) Interviewing agents and officers will confer with the United
States Attorney's Anti-Terrorism Coordinator and representatives
of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, if one exists in that
district, immediately after an interview if they believe that the
individual warrants -- or the individual's information should
prompt -- further investigation.

f) Reports of the interviews will be completed and submitted
electronically to the United States Attorney's Anti-Terrorism
Coordinator within three days of each interview. You will
electronically receive a standard form that should be used in
reporting on each of the interviews. By using a standard form, we
ensure that all relevant information can be collected and entered
into a database in a manner that can be easily accessed and

g) The United States Attorney's Anti-Terrorism Coordinator will
have the submitted reports entered into a database that will be
established for this project. Further guidance about the database
will be forthcoming.

h) Every Monday morning, the United States Attorney will submit
to the Executive Office for United States Attorneys an update on
the project with a tally of the number of individuals interviewed
and a very brief explanation of any leads or follow-up
investigation generated by those interviews.

Go to: Cover Letter // Deputy Attorney General's FOIA Page // DOJ FOIA Page// DOJ Home Page

Updated September 9, 2014