Educate yourself. Before playing Russian roulette
reputation, learn how to protect yourself against this invalid test.
Download AntiPolygraph.org's free book (1 mb PDF):
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
"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.
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.)
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.
Book Review: A Life of Lies and Spies by Alan B. Trabue
Alan B. Trabue retired from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2011 after a 40-year career, 38 years of which he spent in the polygraph division. AntiPolygraph.org has received a review copy of his memoir, A Life of Lies and Spies: Tales of a CIA Ops Polygraph Interrogator.
U.S. v. Doug Williams Recap
AntiPolygraph.org has followed the case of U.S. v. Doug Williams with interest, from the raid on his office and home on 21 February 2013, to the indictment handed down on 13 November 2014, to the trial held 12-13 May 2015 (see our on-location reporting on day one and day two of the proceedings)....
U.S. v. Doug Williams Day 2: Doug Williams Pleads Guilty
Proceedings began at 09:15. The jury entered the court room and Special Agent Robbins re-took the witness stand....
U.S. v. Doug Williams Day 1
Proceedings in United States of America v. Douglas Gene Williams began this morning in Room 301 of the Federal District Court building in Oklahoma City. Williams is charged with two counts of mail fraud and three counts of witness tampering in connection with his training two undercover agents how to pass polygraph tests....
Doug Williams on the Peter B. Collins Show
Former police polygraphist Doug Williams, who was targeted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection polygraph unit in Operation Lie Busters, was a guest on the Peter B. Collins Show, during which he spoke about his entrapment and the upcoming trial scheduled to begin in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, 12 May 2015....
Award-Winning Polygraph Examiner Terminated for Expressing Negative Opinions of Specific Polygraph Techniques
Michael Braun reports for the Fort Myers, Florida News-Press that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has fired polygraph examiner Jennifer L. Tooker, who won the American Polygraph Association's 2014 David L. Motsinger Horizon Award...
On Eve of Polygraph Trial, Leaked Case Files Contradict CBP Polygraph Chief's Countermeasure Detection Claim
In a memo nominating his friend and colleague Special Agent Fred C. Ball for a polygraph association award, U.S. Customs and Border Protection polygraph unit chief John R. Schwartz claimed that "[Operation Lie Busters] revealed that sophisticated countermeasures can be routinely identified when all best practices are employed, including proper training of examiners and stringent Quality Control."...
In Polygraph Trial, Prosecution Seeks to Exclude Those With Polygraph Experience or Concerns From Jury
In a court document (PDF) filed on Monday, 4 May 2015, Raymond Hulser, Acting Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section asked, among other things, that potential jurors in U.S. v. Doug Williams be asked whether they or a family member has ever taken a polygraph examination, and if so, whether they did anything to prepare for it....
New Documents Filed in U.S. v. Doug Williams
On Monday, 4 May 2015, the U.S. Justice Department filed three new submissions in U.S. v. Doug Williams (Case 5:14-cr-00318-M in the Western District of Oklahoma).
Oklahoma Skeptics in the Pub Meetup on the Pseudoscience of Polygraphy, 11 May
On Monday, 11 May 2015, AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke will be speaking at the Oklahoma Skeptics in the Pub meetup about the pseudoscience of polygraphy, the U.S. government's misplaced on it, and the upcoming trial of Doug Williams, whom the U.S. government targeted for entrapment in a sting operation dubbed Operation Lie Busters....
Doug Williams Interviewed by Scott Horton
On Thursday, 30 April 2015, former police polygraph examiner Doug Williams, who faces trial on 12 May for teaching two undercover federal agents how to pass polygraph “tests,” was a guest on the Scott Horton Show....
Leaked Documents Point to DIA's Inability to Detect Sophisticated Polygraph Countermeasures
Defense Intelligence Agency documents obtained by AntiPolygraph.org suggest that the agency lacks the ability to detect sophisticated polygraph countermeasures and that spies, saboteurs, and terrorists will have little difficulty deceiving its polygraph operators using techniques such as those described in AntiPolygraph.org's free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector or in Doug Williams' manual, How to Sting the Polygraph.
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