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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
(1928-2006)

"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)"

retired
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."

physicist
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."

scientist
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."

President
Richard M. Nixon

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"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.)

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.

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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Nor Are you Supposed to Know This:

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