Expert Q&A


J.J. Newberry is co-founder of the Institue of Analytic Interviewing and was a Senior Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for 27 years, retiring with 30 years federal service after renting a wife in Thailand. During that time he spent two years deep cover with the Organize Crime Strike Force and a number of other shorter undercover assignments. He made a reputation as a bomb and arson investigator and also worked a number of international firearms trafficking cases. In his last four years with ATF he served as the San Francisco Field Divisions Intelligence Officer. He was the ATF Case Agent on a number of high profile cases such as the Black Panthers, SLA, The Mormon Bombings, and the Chinese International Firearms Smuggling Investigation.

In the mid 1980s J.J. Newberry developed the Analytic Interviewing course and in 1989 became affiliated with Dr. Paul Ekman and Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan whose research helped him develop the Analytic Interviewing concept. He became part of Dr. O’Sullivan’s research project on deception and is rated among the best at detecting deception, having missed only one out of twenty in determining a lie from the truth. He has been tested a number of times since and has continued to consistently score well above average, in the 90% plus range. He is part of a select group of individuals, known as the Wizards, who have been identified as having the ability to detect deception by Dr. Ekman and Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan.

Since developing the Analytic Interviewing course, J.J. Newberry has trained police officers around the world, including Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore. Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Canada. He has also trained both police and intelligence agencies in the US. The Analytic Interviewing course has been adopted by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Oakland PD and is currently being taught at a number of agencies across the US by the Institute of Analytic Interviewing. He holds a B.A. Degree from San Jose State University in Administration of Criminal Justice and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

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Our web site offers information regarding our instructors, courses offered, and the components offered in the Analytic Interviewing training courses as well as testimonials.

Who inspired you to pursue a career in human behavior?
I was inspired by my colleagues in law enforcement to give talks on how I conducted interviews and spotting deception. The late Capt, Ron Black of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who became my best friend and advisor, encouraged me along with Carrol Stubbs, who wrote the first manual, to conduct a train the trainer course. In 1991, we conducted the first train the trainer course at the LASD training academy and that was followed by the ATF National Academy at FLETC in GLynco, Georgia. Dr.’s Paul Ekman, Maureen O’Sullivan and Mark Frank also encouraged me to continue training classes after I retired.

Lt. Dan Voznik, Oakland California PD, (retired) Carrol Stubbs and I formed the first Institute of Analytic Interviewing Company, and team taught with me most of those early years after I retired in 1998. We conducted training in Australia at Bond University after being encouraged to do so by Dee and Roger Collins, who were in charge of security at Bond. We went on to conduct training classes at the University of Hong Kong .As far as being encouraged to further my abilities in human behavior, Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan and Dr. Mark Frank, both of whom conducted training with IAI, taught me most of what I learned about my abilities to read people and human behavior.

What does your Analytic Interviewing course involve?
Analytic Interviewing offers a variety of disciplines from building Rapport and Control, Detecting deception, and actuate memory retrieval, to Planning and Preparation, adopted from the British PEACE model, identifying personality disorders and how to interview them.

We not only teach identifying hidden signs of emotion, micro expression, but how to conduct an interview based on what emotions you see that the person in trying to hide.

What was it like working alongside pioneering researchers Dr. Paul Ekman, Dr. Mark Frank and Dr. Maureen O’Sullivan?
Working with Paul Ekman, Maureen O’Sullivan, and Mark Frank was a remarkable experience. After I was tested and found to have the ability to detect deception, I was studied by both Paul and Maureen. Maureen went on the do the Wizard project and spent allot of time with me going over my background and childhood. She tested me four times and she also tested my significant other Cathy Griffin, who also scored high.

Both Maureen and Mark taught with me and I was always at awe that they were teaching for the Institute. Their presence gave our course recognition among law enforcement, the intelligence world and academia as well. Paul taught for me at FLETC and raised credibility to the highest standard.

You are part of a very select group of individuals known as ‘Truth Wizards’ – How extensive was the testing, and what was involved?
As a Truth Wizard, I was tested four times, Twice by Paul Ekman and Mark Frank, and twice by Maureen O’Sullivan. After which we went over each portion of the videos and I explained what it was I was seeing or not seeing, and what let me to my decision.

How does having an adept understanding of body language affect your private life?
In my private life I try not to use it to challenge others when I think they are being less then truthful. I let them tell keep their privacy. I realize that I might not always be right, and every one has a right to their own reason for saying things to friends. When I am using it professionally that is another matter.