On 12 October 2000, I sent the following e-mail to Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson and copied it to key DOE officials and members of Congress. -- George Maschke

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 14:05:58 +0200
From: "George W. Maschke" <>
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To: Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson <>
CC: "T.J. Glauthier - Deputy Secretary of Energy" <>,
        "Ernest J. Moniz - Under Secretary of Energy" 
        "John A. Gordon - Director - National Nuclear Security Agency" 
        "Catherine D. Eberwein - Chief of Counterintelligence - National 
 Nuclear Security Administration" <>,
        "Eugene E. Habiger - Director of Emergency and Security Operations" 
        "Edward J. Curran - Director - DOE Counterintelligence" 
        "David M. Renzelman - Chief - DOE Polygraph Program" 
        Jeremy Wu - DOE Ombudsman <>,
        John Browne - Director - Los Alamos National Laboratory 
        "C. Paul Robinson - Director - Sandia National Laboratories" 
        "C. Bruce Tarter - Director - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory" 
        "Sen. Richard Shelby - Chairman - Senate Select Committee on 
 Intelligence" <>,
        "Sen. Richard Bryan - Ranking Member - Senate Select Committee on 
 Intelligence" <>,
        "Sen. John Warner - Chairman - Senate Committee on Armed Services" 
        "Sen. Carl Levin - Ranking Member - Senate Committee on Armed Services" 
        "Sen. Jeff Bingaman" <>,
        "Sen. Diane Feinstein" <>,
        "Sen. Barbara Boxer" <>,
        "Rep. Porter Goss - Chairman - House Permanent Select Committee on 
 Intelligence" <>,
        "Rep. Norm Dicks - Ranking Member - House Permanent Select Committee on 
 Intelligence" <>,
        "Rep. Ike Skelton - Ranking Member - House Armed Services Committee 
 <>Rep. Christopher Cox - Chairman - House 
 Select Committee on Technology Transfer to the People's Republic of 
 China" <>,
        "Rep. Tom Udall" <>,
        "Rep. Heather Wilson" <>,
        "Rep. Ellen Tauscher" <>
Subject: Polygraph Screening and the Lie Behind the Lie Detector
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Dear Secretary Richardson:

What is the Department of Energy's policy regarding those employees and
contractors who, because of their understanding of "the lie behind the
lie detector," are unsuitable candidates for polygraphic interrogation?

Against the counsel of virtually all who spoke on polygraph policy at
the Department of Energy's public hearings last year (transcripts
available at, you went forward with
your then-proposed polygraph screening program. You did this despite the
fact--which should have been known to you--that polygraph "testing"
is fundamentally dependent on the polygrapher lying to and deceiving the 
person being "tested," and that many, if not most, DOE scientists are 
aware of this.

Detailed information about polygraphy and the trickery on which it
depends is publicly available. See, for example,'s
free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector
( Thousands of scientists have gone 
out and read the "scientific" literature about the polygraph. They know 
full well that it's junk science. They find it hard to stomach having 
their integrity judged by a pseudoscientific procedure that depends on 

You now face a dilemma regarding what to do with those troublesome 
employees who know about "the lie behind the lie detector." Polygraphy 
depends on the polygrapher "psychologically conditioning" (i.e. lying 
to and deceiving) the subject. When the subject understands the
the whole exercise is pointless. Forcing these witting subjects to 
submit to the ritual anyway will only cause well-justified resentment 
and serves no security interest.

On the other hand, Section 3135 of the Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 2001
severely limits your powers to grant waivers.

Thus, I ask again, what is the Department's policy regarding those whose
understanding of "the lie behind the lie detector" makes them unsuitable
candidates for polygraphic interrogation? Specifically, when an employee 
or contractor admits to a DOE polygrapher that he or she understands 
the trickery on which the procedure depends, how are DOE polygraphers to 


George Maschke

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