Interrogation Methods and Terror Networks

M.Baccara and H. Bar-Isaac


We examine how the structure of terror networks varies with legal limits to interrogation and the ability of authorities to extract information from detainees. We assume that terrorist networks are designed to respond optimally to a trade-off caused by information exchange: diffusing information widely leads to greater internal efficiency, but it leaves the organization more vulnerable to law enforcement. The extent of this vulnerability depends both on the law enforcement authority's resources, strategy and interrogation methods. Recognizing that the structure of a terrorist network responds to the policies of law enforcement authorities allows us to begin to explore the most effective policies from the authorities' point of view. We show that there are circumstances under which increasing the severity of interrogation methods leaves efficiency unchanged while it causes more decentralization within the organization.