This letter was sent by certified mail to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on 29 January 2001:

                                    GEORGE W. MASCHKE
                                    HART NIBBRIGKADE 22
                                    2597 XV DEN HAAG


                                    Monday, 29 January 2001

WASHINGTON DC 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

Congratulations on your recent confirmation as Secretary of 
Defense. I wish you all the best as you take on the 
responsibilities of that office for the second time in your 
life. I especially admire the wit and wisdom expressed in your 
"Rumsfeld's Rules" which I found on the DoD website:

In your rules for the Secretary of Defense, you wrote:

    "Reserve the right to get into anything and exercise 
    it. Make your deputies and staff realize that, 
    although many responsibilities are delegated, no one 
    should be surprised when the Secretary engages an 
    important issue."

I am writing this open letter to you to bring to your attention 
a matter that I believe deserves your personal engagement: 
waste, fraud, and abuse in the DoD Counterintelligence-Scope 
Polygraph (CSP) Program, the ostensible purpose of which is to 
deter and detect espionage, sabotage, and terrorism.

The counterintelligence-scope polygraph format used by DoD since 
1994 is the Test for Espionage and Sabotage (TES), which was 
developed by Dr. Sheila Reed at the DoD Polygraph Institute 
(DoDPI) in the early '90s. Dr. Reed conducted three laboratory 
studies intended to determine the accuracy of the procedure. Her 
first study suggested that the TES was 88.9% accurate with 
truthful subjects and 83.3% accurate with deceptive subjects. 
Her second study suggested that the TES was 98% accurate with 
truthful subjects and 83.3% accurate with deceptive subjects. 
But her third study, which also considered examiner influence on 
test outcomes, suggested an accuracy rate of only 84.8% for 
truthful subjects and 77.9% for deceptive subjects.

The accuracy rates suggested by Dr. Reed's 3rd study have 
serious policy implications. Let us suppose that 1 person in 
1,000 is a spy, saboteur, or terrorist. Let us suppose next that 
we screen 10,000 persons using the TES, applying the accuracy 
rates suggested by Dr. Reed's 3rd study. Of the 10 spies, 
saboteurs, or terrorists in the population tested, about 8 will 
be correctly identified as deceptive. But some 1,520 innocent 
persons will also be wrongly identified as deceptive. For every 
spy or saboteur correctly identified, 190 innocent persons would 
be wrongly accused. The odds of any person who "fails" the TES 
actually being a spy or saboteur would be about 1 in 200!

Dr. Reed concluded that the DoD security screening program 
should be halted. In reward for her candor, DoDPI officials took 
action to revoke her security clearance, and she was compelled 
to leave DoDPI in 1995. 

DoDPI also suppressed publication of Dr. Reed's report of her 
3rd TES study. (Her first two studies were published as reports 
DoDPI94-R-0008 and DoDPI94-R-0009, respectively). Dr. Reed has 
told me that the data collected in her 3rd study indicated that 
examiner bias plays a significant role in TES outcomes. While 
Dr. Reed had prepared a preliminary report of this 3rd study 
before leaving the Institute, DoDPI sat on it rather than 
forwarding it to DoD for approval, as per DoDPI's standard 

DoDPI's parent agency, the Defense Security Service (DSS), 
refused to release any materials related to this study when I 
requested it under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) 
last year. DSS's file number for this FOIA request is FOIA #064-

DSS's refusal to release these documents under the Freedom of 
Information Act is cause for concern. DSS Office of Freedom of 
Information and Privacy chief Leslie R. Blake at first withheld 
these documents (which are unclassified) on the ground that the 
study was not yet complete, adding, "[t]here is no estimated 
date of completion at this time."

In appealing Mr. Blake's initial denial, I pointed out to DSS 
Director Gen. Charles J. Cunningham, Jr. (ret.) that it seemed 
clear that DoDPI had no intention of ever completing Dr. Reed's 
3rd study. Gen. Cunningham upheld DSS's initial denial, claiming 
that release of any information about the study would harm DSS's 
decision-making process. Mr. Blake later informed me that the 
information withheld consisted of only two 14-page reports.

If these were truly the only documents in DoDPI's possession 
that responded to my request, then DoDPI must have destroyed Dr. 
Reed's research materials, which she told me filled several 
boxes. It also seems likely that the two 14-page reports cited 
by DSS are too short to include Dr. Reed's draft report of her 
3rd TES study.

Dr. Reed is not the only researcher whose warning about the DoD 
Counterintelligence-Scope Polygraph Program has gone unheeded. 
It was the consensus of DoDPI's scientific advisory board that 
polygraph screening is without validity. This independent board 
had reviewed and provided comments on DoDPI's academic 
curriculum and intramural research program. Former DoDPI 
director Michael H. Capps promptly dismissed the entire 
scientific advisory board upon his appointment in 1995. The 
dismissed members were John Furedy, William Iacono, Ed Katkin, 
Christopher J. Patrick, and Stephen W. Porges. They were 
provided no explanation for their dismissal.

In addition, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Drew C. Richardson, 
who holds a doctorate in physiology and is the Bureau's top 
polygraph expert, testified before the Senate Committee on the 
Judiciary's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the 
Courts on 29 September 1997:

    1. [Polygraph screening] is completely without any 
    theoretical foundation and has absolutely no validity. 
    Although there is disagreement amongst scientists 
    about the use of polygraph testing in criminal 
    matters, there is almost universal agreement that 
    polygraph screening is completely invalid and should 
    be stopped. As one of my colleagues frequently says, 
    the diagnostic value of this type of testing is no 
    more than that of astrology or tea-leaf reading.
    2. If this test had any validity (which it does not), 
    both my own experience, and published scientific 
    research has proven, that anyone can be taught to beat 
    this type of polygraph exam in a few minutes.
    3. Because of the nature of this type of examination, 
    it would normally be expected to produce large numbers 
    of false positive results (falsely accusing an 
    examinee of lying about some issue). As a result of 
    the great consequences of doing this with large 
    numbers of law enforcement and intelligence community 
    officers, the test has now been manipulated to reduce 
    false positive results, but consequently has no power 
    to detect deception in espionage and other national 
    security matters. Thus, I believe that there is 
    virtually no probability of catching a spy with the 
    use of polygraph screening techniques. I think a 
    careful examination of the Aldrich Ames case will 
    reveal that any shortcomings in the use of the 
    polygraph were not simply errors on the part of the 
    polygraph examiners involved, and would not have been 
    eliminated if FBI instead of CIA polygraphers had 
    conducted these examinations. Instead I believe this 
    is largely a reflection of the complete lack of 
    validity of this methodology. To the extent that we 
    place any confidence in the results of polygraph 
    screening, and as a consequence shortchange 
    traditional security vetting techniques, I think our 
    national security is severely jeopardized.

Although Dr. Reed's research indicates that the TES should have 
a high false positive rate, in practice, just as Dr. Richardson 
testified, "the test has now been manipulated to reduce false 
positive results, but consequently has no power to detect 
deception in espionage and other national security matters."

The Department of Defense Polygraph Program Report to Congress 
for FY 2000, prepared by the Office of the Assistant Secretary 
of Defense (Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence) 
has recently been published and is available on-line at:

In FY 2000, 7,890 DoD and contractor personnel underwent 
polygraph security screening, not including NSA and NRO.

This report indicates that the only individuals who "failed" 
their DoD polygraph screening tests were those who made 
significant admissions. Everyone else "passed." Thus, the key to 
passing is to simply to make no significant admissions! The 
report states:

    Approximately 71 percent of our polygraph tests are 
    conducted as a condition for access to certain 
    positions or information under the DoD 
    Counterintelligence-Scope Polygraph (CSP) Program. The 
    DoD CSP Program is authorized by Public Law 100-180. 
    The purpose of the CSP Program is to deter and detect 
    activity involving espionage, sabotage, and terrorism.
    The DoD conducts CSP examinations on military 
    personnel, DoD civilian employees, and DoD contractor 
    personnel. Of the 7,890 individuals examined under the 
    CSP Program in Fiscal Year 2000, 7,688 showed no 
    significant physiological response to the relevant 
    questions (non-deceptive) and provided no substantive 
    information. The remaining 202 individuals provided 
    substantive information. Of these 202 individuals, 194 
    received a favorable adjudication, three are still 
    pending adjudication, five are pending investigation, 
    and no one received adverse action denying or 
    withholding access.
The report goes on to clarify:

    There were 7,688 individuals whose polygraph 
    examination results were evaluated as no significant 
    response to the relevant questions (non-deceptive). 
    The remaining 202 individuals yielded significant 
    responses and/or provided substantive information.
This report makes it clear that the polygraph charts are not 
being used to determine whether individuals pass or fail: if 
the individual provides no "substantive information," then 
any physiological responses he/she may have shown to the 
relevant questions are deemed not to be significant, and the 
individual "passes." If the individual provides substantive 
information, then he/she "fails," regardless of polygraph 
chart readings.

While the report claims that "[t]he purpose of the 
[Counterintelligence-Scope Polygraph] Program is to deter and 
detect espionage, sabotage, and terrorism," it seems that the 
only spies, saboteurs, or terrorists who will be deterred or 
detected by it are those who are stupid enough to make 

Dr. Reed was right when she said that the entire polygraph 
screening program should be shut down. Some may argue that DoD 
must continue to rely on these unreliable polygraph "tests" 
because there is no better solution. But you should know better. 
As you noted in "Rumsfeld's Rules":

    "For every human problem there is a solution that is 
    simple, neat and wrong." (H.L. Mencken)
    "If a problem has no solution, it may not be a 
    problem, but a fact, not to be solved, but to be coped 
    with over time." (Shimon Perez)

Polygraph screening is a prime example of a solution that is 
simple, neat, and wrong. The problems of espionage, sabotage, 
and terrorism are better coped with through conventional 
counterintelligence and force protection methods than through 
the make-believe solution of polygraph screening.

Mr. Secretary, the DoD Counterintelligence-Scope Polygraph 
Program is at best a farce, and at worst, a massive fraud. I 
urge you to engage this important issue personally.



George W. Maschke

PS: A copy of this letter will be made available on-line at: