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EP 01: The FBI Hostage Negotiator 

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We welcome our very first guest, retired Chief, FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit, Gary Noesner. 

Noesner worked for the FBI for more than 30 years as an investigator and instructor. As a hostage negotiator, he defused prison riots, government standoffs with right-wing militias, overseas kidnappings, and terrorist embassy takeovers. His career trajectory coincided with many significant events in the evolution of hostage negotiation at the FBI.

In 2010, Noesner released Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator, detailing his time working at the bureau. In the memoir, he wrote about the various standoffs he has been involved in, including Waco – his involvement as a negotiator in this crisis would change the FBI forever. 


In this episode, we uncover The Dirt on Gary. 

  1. We explore the development of the FBI Negotiation Unit.

  2. Skills to lower emotional confrontation, whether in a crisis or at home.

  3. The art of stalling for time and the importance of voice, "I would ask, what did we say that made you come out? Because we try to learn from these cases. And the answer was always the same. It was always, I don't remember what you said, but I liked the way you said it. It's really a powerful concept to consider that the voice, the projection of sincerity may be far more important than the actual words." 

  4. The level of the emotional and mental toll that years in the bureau have taken and the cases that never leave him. 

  5. His shortest negotiation and his oddest request from a perpetrator. 

  6. And more importantly, the one thing he hoards. 

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