Ex-FBI Boss Reveals Biggest Myths About the Job


Former FBI negotiator Gary Noesner, who spent 23 years getting hostages out of hot water, said his day job bore little resemblance to action thrillers like "Die Hard" or "The Negotiator."

"The biggest myth is that the negotiators are really into manipulations ... and psyching out guys," said Noesner, who was at Books & Books last night to read from his debut tome "Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Negotiator."

"What really makes a successful negotiator is someone that is very empathic with various kids of individuals they're confronting, is a good listener and hears their problems and demonstrated in return a genuine interest in trying to help them out of a situation."

He added, "It's not so much that you convey a particular theme or solve a problem, it is more about creating a relationship."

Noesner was the agency's head honcho in the negotiations department for 10 years, including during the Waco siege, and said such relationships helped save lives. But no two encounters are the same and each require a new approach, including the Bank of America hostage situation in Coral Gables last week. 

"I don't know about the case to comment on that, but those are really tough situations because the police don't know what they are dealing with initially," he said. "After the dust settles, it becomes pretty clear but as it is ongoing police have to air towards caution."

Still, for those who want to follow the steps of Noesner -- who decided to pursue the career of an FBI negotiator after watching J. Edgar Hoover on "The Mickey Mouse Club" as a child -- the communication pro says an understanding family is a must.

"It's hard for people to believe I have been married for 36 years, but I always say I was home for about half of that," said Noesner. "I was fortunate to have a great, supportive wife - that was the only reason I was able to do the things I did in my career."

"In the FBI we always had this saying that family comes first, and it is a big rotten lie. The FBI comes first -- it always has, and always will."

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