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"...the theory and methods of polygraphic lie detection are not rocket science, indeed, they are not science at all."

Emeritus Professor
David T. Lykken

"The so-called 'control' question 'test' polygraph is a technological flight of fancy. It is often used as a psychological rubber hose to induce confessions. Founded on lies, it spreads distrust while posing as the path to truth."

Emeritus Professor
John J. Furedy

"The lie detector, in many places, is nothing more than a psychological third-degree aimed at extorting a confession as the old physical beatings were. At times I'm sorry I ever had any part in its development."

polygraph pioneer
John A. Larson

"[Polygraph screening] is completely without any theoretical foundation and has absolutely no validity...the diagnostic value of this type of testing is no more than that of astrology or tea-leaf reading."

former Supervisory
Special Agent
Dr. Drew C. Richardson,
FBI Laboratory Division

"Polygraph testing has been the gold standard, but it's obviously fool's gold."

Prof. Stephen E. Fienberg
Chairman, Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph,
National Academy of Sciences

"If we had medical tests that had the same failure rate as a polygraph, then physicians that use those tests would be convicted of malpractice."

Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff, M.D.

"Polygraph is more art than science, and unless an admission is obtained, the final determination is frequently what we refer to as a scientific wild-ass guess (SWAG)"

CIA polygrapher
John F. Sullivan

"If you choose to implement this astrology surrogate, and to treat us with such deep disrespect, do not confuse our contempt for arrogance."

David Dearborn
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

"People in the security community are so wedded to polygraph testing that they are just going to ignore the scientific facts about this."

Jeffrey D. Colvin
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

"Whether it is screening applicants or screening employees, the polygraph is a failure. I suspect that its days as a screening tool are deservedly near an end."

former FBI Special Agent
Mark Mallah

"The US is, so far as I know, the only nation which places such extensive reliance on the polygraph....It has gotten us into a lot of trouble."

convicted spy
Aldrich H. Ames

"[The CIA's] reliance on the polygraph is truly insane"

former CIA Director
John M. Deutch

"...the use of this highly flawed instrument should be radically curtailed."

former CIA Director
R. James Woolsey

"You have to go in there with a gladiator mentality."

retired FBI polygrapher
Jack Trimarco

"It's kind of like...confessing to a priest..."

T.V. O'Malley
Past President,
American Polygraph Association

"If you come in concerned and scared, that's normal and a good thing."

David M. Renzelman
Former DOE Polygraph
Program Chief

"I don't know anything about polygraphs, and I don't know how accurate they are, but I know they'll scare the hell out of people."

Richard M. Nixon

(Why not enhance your privacy by using the free Tor Browser?)

"The whole process smacks of 20th century witchcraft." U.S. Senator Sam Ervin (1896-1985)

Polygraph "testing" has no scientific basis.
The lie detector is itself based on lies...

Did you know:

Educate yourself. Before playing Russian roulette with your reputation, learn how to protect yourself against this invalid test. Download AntiPolygraph.org's free book (1 mb PDF):

The Lie Behind the Lie Detector

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 as, "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 testing has 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 against the 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.

Polygraph Countermeasure Challenge
On 28 January 2002, retired FBI polygraph expert Dr. Drew C. Richardson reiterated his challenge to the polygraph community to prove their claimed ability to detect countermeasures (techniques for passing -- or beating -- the polygraph). His challenge has gone eleven years without any takers. What are the polygraph operators afraid of? (Listen to a personal message from Dr. Richardson.)

Leaked Documents Further Confirm Polygraph Community's Inability to Detect Sophisticated Countermeasures
In September 2014, retired Defense Intelligence Agency counterintelligence agent Scott W. Carmichael accused Donald Krapohl, then the number two official at the National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA, the federal government’s polygraph school) of violating the Espionage Act by indirectly making classified information about the U.S. Government's methodology for polygraph countermeasure detection available to the government of Singapore. Carmichael alleged that the classified information was contained in a document published under the name of retired FBI Special Agent Robert Drdak that was in fact plagiarized from a 2003 NCCA paper authored by Dan Weatherman and the late Paul Menges.

How to Support Imprisoned Polygraph Critic Doug Williams
On Friday, 30 October 2015, Doug Williams, 70, reported to the Federal Correctional Institution at Florence, Colorado to begin serving a two year prison sentence....

Ohio Attorney Bradley P. Koffel Showcases His Ignorance by Polygraphing Clients
In an article titled "Some lawyers turning away clients who fail polygraphs," Dean Narciso reports for the Columbus Dispatch that "[a]ttorney Bradley Koffel uses polygraph tests to screen out potential nightmare clients, especially those charged with sex crimes."

Polygraph Dragnet at Simpsonville, Kentucky Police Department
Television stations WHAS and WDRB report that the Simpsonville, Kentucky Police Department's six members face polygraph interrogations after some $30,000 in cash along with drugs and firearms were stolen from the small department's evidence locker in an overnight break-in.

FBI Post-Polygraph Interrogation of Nick Houck
The Nelson County Gazette has published to YouTube video of an FBI post-polygraph interrogation that will be of interest to those considering submitting to a polygraph "test." FBI polygraph interrogations are not routinely recorded.

A Final Appeal from Doug Williams to Stop the Madness of Polygraph "Testing"
A week before he is to begin serving a two year federal prison sentence, Doug Williams, the founder of Polygraph.com, has made a final appeal to the U.S. government to end its misplaced reliance on the pseudoscience of polygraphy.

Adam Conover on Why Lie Detectors Don't Work at All

Doug Williams Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Teaching Polygraph Countermeasures to Undercover Agents
A special report by attorney David C. Graham, who was present at Doug Williams’ sentencing hearing at the federal court house in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on Tuesday, 22 September 2015.

Polygraph Screening Examination of a FBI Employee
"The following declaration is one that I recently provided in support of a FBI employee who was administered a routine, periodic reinvestigation polygraph screening exam(s), found to be deceptive, and accused of using respiratory countermeasures. Despite nearly a decade and a half of meritorious service with the FBI and no history of adverse personnel security occurrences, this employee was suspended without pay and subsequently recommended for security clearance revocation based on the unfavorable interpretations of the polygraph results."

Bloomberg Businessweek Profiles Doug Williams
This week's issue of Bloomberg Businessweek includes an in-depth feature article by investigative reporter Drake Bennett profiling Doug Williams' decades-long efforts against the pseudoscience of polygraphy and the federal government's efforts to silence him.

American Polygraph Association Seeks to Limit Electoral Challenges, Foreign Influence
On 4 July 2015, in a message board post titled "APA Board Conpires [sic] to Limit Eligibility for Elections and International Influence," an pseudonymous user posting as "Dedicated to Truth" attached a Microsoft Word document purporting to be a working draft (141 kb .doc file) of the American Polygraph Association's bylaws.

OPM Hack May Have Exposed Polygraph Information
Daily Beast senior intelligence and national security correspondent Shane Harris reports that the recent compromise of Office of Personnel Management data may well have included admissions gleaned from polygraph interrogations....

Florida Congressman Dennis Ross Seeks Radical Amendment to Employee Polygraph Protection Act
On Monday, 8 June 2015, U.S. Representative Dennis A. Ross (R-FL) held a press conference with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd to promote a proposed amendment of the 1988 Employee Polygraph Protection Act "to provide an exemption from the protections of that Act with regard to certain prospective employees whose job would include caring for or interacting with children."

Failed due to countermeasures
So here's my horror story. I'll keep it short and sweet, just looking for input. About three weeks ago I took the poly for a federal agency....

Business Insider on How to Pass a Polygraph Test
On Wednesday, 3 June 2015, Business Insider published a story by reporter Christina Sterbenz titled "The one thing you need to know to pass a polygraph test." AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke and American Polygraph Association president Raymond Nelson were interviewed for this report.

George Maschke on the Peter B. Collins Show
On Monday, 1 June 2015, AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke was a guest on the Peter B. Collins Show to discuss developments in the trial of Doug Williams, whom Collins interviewed before the trial.

George Maschke on the Scott Horton Show
On Wednesday, 27 May 2015, AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke was interviewed on the Scott Horton Show about the recent trial of Doug Williams, who was targeted in a federal undercover operation dubbed Operation Lie Busters.



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