NSA analyst: Man-of-interest in Bothell wife's murder shows signs of withholding information

His wife was bludgeoned to death in February, and he was arrested last week for obstructing police officers attempting to serve a search warrant. Despite being a person-of-interest in Susann Smith's murder, Alan Smith hasn't been arrested for her death.

Interviews Smith did on TV caught the attention of a former analyst with the National Security Administration.

Bothell police say Smith has long been a suspect in Susann's death, but they haven't had enough physical evidence to press charges. He recently moved back into the home he shared with his late wife. Neighbors say they've heard some strange things going on, like a woman screaming.

The police were called to the Bothell home and discovered Smith and his new girlfriend, Thai Love, having sex in the yard.

Following these run-ins with police, Smith and his girlfriend did a few television interviews. And that caught the attention of former NSA analyst and author of "Spy the Lie," Don Tennant.

"We saw two really key categories of deceptive behavior. The first was what we call an "inappropriate level of concern," Tennant told The Morning News on KIRO Radio.

That included Smith smiling and grinning, something that reminded Tennant of the Laci Peterson murder. When Scott Peterson was asked pointedly if he had killed his wife, he denied it, but he also smiled.

"The smiles are especially disconcerting," said Tennant. "It's just not the way a truthful person behaves."

The second category of deceptive behavior displayed by Smith was his use of convincing statements. "These are things people say to manipulate or influence your perception of them."

After denying that he killed his wife, Smith went on to say 'she was the love of my life for a while. The mother of my children. My heart breaks.' Saying this, according to Tennant, was Smith trying to influence his interviewer and the audience.

Lastly, Tennant found it interesting that Smith was allegedly using counter measures in his behavior to beat the system.

"There is widespread perception that good eye contact means you're being truthful," said Tennant. But when asked if he had killed his wife, Smith said he didn't, and then froze for about seven seconds staring at the questioner. "This prolonged eye contact and a frozen posture indicates a conscious effort to control behavior. He's trying to make sure nothing leaks out behaviorally."

Despite watching the interview as it aired on television, Tennant said that with only about 45 seconds of Smith talking, he and his colleagues can't conclude that he killed his wife. They can only conclude that he was withholding information.


Alyssa Kleven, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at MyNorthwest.com. She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.
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