Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Everybody Lies

Lawyers may or may not be among your favorite organisms, but it's useful to learn from the way they think. People are talking about a great new article, "Everybody Lies", explaining why you should never, ever talk to law enforcement (especially the FBI) without ample consultation with a lawyer. It presents a profoundly cynical view of human nature and of law enforcement, but it's very hard to quibble with its witty and counterintuitive conclusions, which obviously stem from deep experience.

It's a particularly important read for over-earnest types like me. One's truthful compass may not be built on ground as firm as you'd imagine...and it likely won't save you, in any event.

Author Ken White is a legal blogger and former federal prosecutor. He tweets as Popehat and is part of my Twitter must-read list of informed Trump opposition figures.

Excerpts (but please read the whole thing; it's an enjoyable quick read):
You, dear readers, know my advice about talking to the FBI: don't. If the FBI — or any law enforcement agency — asks to talk to you, say "No, I want to talk to my lawyer, I don't want to talk to you," and repeat as necessary. Do not talk to them "just to see what they want." Do not try to "set the facts straight." Do not try to outwit them. Do not explain that you have "nothing to hide."

Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up.
There's a commandment about not bearing false witness. But rules don't become commandments because they're really easy to follow. They become commandments because we — we bunch of broken hooting apes — are prone to break them. Everybody lies. Humans lie more under pressure. FBI agents are trained in two dozen ways to ratchet up the pressure on you without getting out of their chair — verbal, nonverbal, tone, expression, pacing, subject changing, every trick that any cop ever used in the box. You're only human. Unprepared, you will likely lie. Smart people, dumb people, ditchdiggers and neurosurgeons, lawyers and accountants, the good and the bad, they all lie.
But the FBI would never prosecute you for a false statement that was the result of a failed memory, right? Oh, my sweet country mouse.

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