Copyright © 2010 by Gary Noesner All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Random House, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. R ANDOM H OUSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc. Grateful acknowledgment is made to Cheryl Hart Frappier for permission to reprint the note on this page . Reprinted by permission of Cheryl Hart Frappier. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Noesner, Gary. Stalling for time : my life as an FBI hostage negotiator / by Gary Noesner. p. cm. eISBN: 978-0-679-60391-7 1. Noesner, Gary. 2. Hostage negotiations—United States. 3. United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation—Officials and employees—Biography. I. Title. HV6598.N64 2010 363.25092—dc22 [B] 2010005888 v3.1
To Carol For her love and support, particularly during the many times I had to be away from home for the FBI
Contents Cover Title Page Copyright Dedication Author’s Note Preface Chapter One - It’s Time to Die Chapter Two - My Start Chapter Three - My First Major Siege Chapter Four - Trouble Abroad Chapter Five - Crisis Intervention: Listen and Learn Chapter Six - From Success to Hubris Chapter Seven - Negotiating with the Sinful Messiah Chapter Eight - Picking Up the Pieces Chapter Nine - A Hell of a Siege Chapter Ten - Prepare the Missiles Chapter Eleven - No Shortage of Challenges Chapter Twelve - Being Our Best When Others are at Their Worst Epilogue Acknowledgments About the Author
AUTHOR’S NOTE The facts, dates, times, and direct quotations of dialogue are from official reports, personal notes, memos, and conversations as I recall them or as they were conveyed to me by those present. At all times, the recreation of events was done as accurately as possible. Hopefully, those depicted in this book will find their portrayals to be accurate and fair. The opinions, observations, and comments expressed in this book are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect those of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Furthermore, they may not reflect those of the editors, endorsers, publisher, FBI Special Agents, or other persons who are described or mentioned in this book.
M PREFACE y line of work tends to inspire curiosity. The minute I tell people that I’m a hostage negotiator, they want to know what it’s like to talk to people who have put themselves in truly desperate situations, who might at any moment kill themselves, their hostages, or the law enforcement officers attempting to bring an end to the crisis. Over the last several years, friends and colleagues encouraged me to write a book about these experiences, urging me to share the lessons I learned over years of convincing people to put down their weapons and surrender peacefully. Because I entered the field of hostage/crisis negotiations when it was still a new and evolving discipline, I’ve observed the process of trial and error that has transformed a rudimentary bargaining approach developed on the fly into a highly effective and flexible method. I’ve watched colleagues with no background in psychology or
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