The dirty little secret behind the polygraph is that the
"test" depends on trickery, not science. The person being "tested" is
not supposed to know that while the polygraph operator declares that
all questions must be answered truthfully, warning that the slightest
hint of deception will be detected, he secretly assumes that denials in
response to certain questions -- called "control" questions -- will be
less than truthful. An example of a commonly used control question is,
"Did you ever lie to get out of trouble?" The polygrapher steers the
examinee into a denial by warning, for example, that anyone who would
do so is the same kind of person who would commit the kind of behavior
that is under investigation and then lie about it. But secretly, it is
assumed that everyone has lied to get out of trouble.
The polygraph pens don't do a special dance when a
person lies. The polygrapher scores the test by comparing physiological
responses (breathing, blood pressure, heart, and perspiration rates) to
these probable-lie control questions with reactions to relevant
questions such as, "Did you ever commit an act of espionage against the
United States?" (commonly asked in security screening). If the former
reactions are greater, the examinee passes; if the latter are greater,
he fails. If responses to both "control" and relevant questions are
about the same, the result is deemed inconclusive.
The test also includes irrelevant questions such
"Are the lights on in this room?" The polygrapher falsely explains that
such questions provide a "baseline for truth," because the true answer
is obvious. But in reality, they are not scored at all! They merely
serve as buffers between pairs of relevant and "control" questions.
The simplistic methodology used in polygraph
no grounding in the scientific method: it is no more scientific than
astrology or tarot cards. Government agencies value it because people
who don't realize it's a fraud sometimes make damaging admissions. But
as a result of reliance on this voodoo science, the truthful are often
falsely branded as liars while the deceptive pass through.
Perversely, the "test" is inherently biased
truthful, because the more honestly one answers the "control"
questions, and as a consequence feels less stress when answering them,
the more likely one is to fail. Conversely, liars can beat the test by
covertly augmenting their physiological reactions to the "control"
questions. This can be done, for example, by doing mental arithmetic,
thinking exciting thoughts, altering one's breathing pattern, or simply
biting the side of the tongue. Truthful persons can also use these
techniques to protect themselves against the risk of a false positive
outcome. Although polygraphers frequently claim they can detect such
countermeasures, no polygrapher has ever demonstrated any ability to do
so, and peer-reviewed research suggests that they can't.
Former FBI Counterespionage Section Chief Peter Strzok Reportedly Failed to Pass Polygraph Screening "Test"
It has been reported that FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, who was the chief of the Bureau's Counterespionage Section and who led the Bureau's investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a personal e-mail server for official business, failed to pass a polygraph screening "test," but nonetheless maintained his security clearance (which has since been revoked).
“Nailing the Pretest Interview”: A Presentation by Skip Webb
AntiPolygraph.org has obtained a copy of a 2005 PowerPoint presentation prepared by former U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) Supervisory Agent and American Polygraph Association past president and past chairman of the board of directors Milton O. “Skip” Webb, Jr....
Credibility Assessment Standardized Evaluation (CASE) Prize Challenge
On 5 July 2018, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) posted a notice about a "Credibility Assessment Standardized Evaluation (CASE) Prize Challenge" to encourage innovation in "credibility assessment" (the latest buzzword for "lie detection," which has fallen out of favor)...
Polygraph Discussion on Witwatersrand University Radio Academy Program "The Science Inside"
Among the topics addressed in the 26 June 2018 episode of the Witswatersrand (Wits) University radio program and podcast "The Science Inside" was polygraph "testing."
Polygraph Place Bulletin Board Private Forum
This index is the beginning of an ongoing project to make the Polygraph Place Bulletin Board Private Forum, which was posted to AntiPolygraph.org in June 2013, more readily accessible.
Google De-Lists AntiPolygraph.org on Key Search Terms
Search DuckDuckGo for "polygraph" and you'll find that AntiPolygraph.org, which hosts more documentation on polygraphs than any other site on the Internet, and you’ll find AntiPolygraph.org in the top 10 results....
Michigan State Police Polygraphers Andrew Longuski and Derrick Jordan Arrested for Stealing a Bicycle and Disorderly Conduct
On Friday, 18 May 2018, two polygraph operators with the Michigan State Police, Lieutenant Andrew Longuski and Sergeant Derrick Jordan, were arrested on Mackinac island, where they were attending a polygraph conference, for stealing a bicycle and disorderly conduct.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Polygraph "Test for Espionage, Sabotage, and Corruption" Exposed
In 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, unable to fill available positions because of the agency’s roughly 70% pre-employment polygraph failure rate, began a "pilot program" whereby instead of using the probable-lie Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test technique used by other federal law enforcement agencies, CBP applicants would instead be subjected to a new direct-lie technique based on the Test for Espionage and Sabotage, which is used by the Departments of Defense and Energy for security screening.
WikiLeaks CIA Vault 7 Leak and Child Pornography Suspect Joshua Adam Schulte Passed Multiple Polygraphs
On 23 August 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted former CIA employee Joshua Adam Schulte for receipt, possession, and transportation of child pornography dating back to 2009.
NCCA Test Data Analysis Pamphlet
AntiPolygraph.org has today published the National Center for Credibility Assessment’s “Test Data Analysis: Numerical Scoring System Pamphlet” dated August 2017 (488 kb PDF). A note before the table of contents documents the changes made over the years.
NCCA Polygraph Countermeasure Course Files Leaked
AntiPolygraph.org has today published a collection of documents associated with the National Center for Credibility Assessment’s training courses on polygraph countermeasures. These documents, which date to circa 2013, describe the U.S. government’s best efforts to detect polygraph countermeasures.
Gordon H. Barland on Polygraph Countermeasures
Gordon H. Barland, Ph.D. worked at the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (now the National Center for Credibility Assessment) from 1986 until his retirement in 2000. During this period, he conducted research on polygraph countermeasures, and by his own estimation, "[p]rior to his retirement from DoDPI, he was the Federal Government's primary authority on polygraph countermeasures."
Mitchell Lynn Bacom, Cleared After Polygraph "Test" in 1980 Kidnaping, Rape, and Murder of 14-Year-Old Suzanne Bombardier, Implicated by DNA Evidence
Nate Gartrell of the Bay Area News Group reports that a man charged with the "1980 kidnapping, sexual assault, and stabbing death of a young Antioch [California] honor roll student" had been cleared by investigators "when he took a polygraph with 'inconclusive' results."
Suggest all USSS Applicants Consider Refusing a Polygraph Exam from Special Agent Ellen Ripperger
There are a number of consequences to failing a polygraph exam which will not be disclosed to an applicant. Any United States Secret Service (USSS) applicant should review the following true case and consider refusing to take a USSS polygraph examination, especially with Special Agent Ellen Ripperger....
Alyssa Nicole on Why Lie Detectors Can’t Be Trusted
True crime vlogger Alyssa Nicole explains the history of the pseudoscience of polygraphy and why it's not to be trusted.
NCCA White Paper on Polygraph Countermeasure Detection Training
AntiPolygraph.org has received an archive of National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA) documents about polygraph countermeasures....
NSA Polygraph Neither Detected Nor Deterred Nghia Hoang Pho's Security Violations
National Security Agency employee Nghia Hoang Pho, who worked in one of NSA's most sensitive units, Tailored Access Operations, on Friday, 1 December 2017 pleaded guilty to violating the Espionage Act by removing classified material to his home from 2010 to March 2015. It's likely that Pho faced a polygraph screening "test" during this period, and polygraph screening typically includes questions about mishandling classified information....
Convicted Sex Offender Jay Leavitt Beat Mandatory Polygraph Screening "Tests"
The Alaska Native News reports that convicted sex offender Jay Leavitt beat mandatory lie detector "tests" while on probation for attempted sexual abuse of a minor.
Polygraph Statement of "Public Service Applicant"
After waiting for the "examiner" to type my information from my personal history questionnaire into his system I was ready for my "test," or so I thought I was. It never dawned on me to google/research information on taking a polygraph test or to obtain information on what is involved in taking a polygraph test. I just KNEW whatever it took I would pass it because I have nothing to hide. I was simply taking a test for a Public Safety Data Assistant job.
Polygraph Dragnet at NSA in Shadow Brokers Mole Hunt
The New York Times reports that the NSA is relying on the pseudoscience of polygraphy in its hunt for "the Shadow Brokers," a person or group of persons who have collected, and are making public, NSA hacking tools.
Lie Detectors Lie: The Pentagon's False Promise of Assured Loyalty
This 1985 Washington Post op-ed by Peter J. Ognibene remains salient today, as polygraph techniques have not improved in any significant way in the intervening years. Ognibene argues that "To increase our reliance on polygraph testing in the name of national security can only jeopardize our security."