“Polygraph Hell at the National Laboratories”

Steven Aftergood reports in today’s edition of the electronic newsletter Secrecy News:


In its mad pursuit of a misconceived ideal of “security,” Congress has quietly imposed broad new polygraph testing requirements on Energy Department employees and contractors.

Subtle changes adopted in the conference on the defense authorization bill will require polygraph tests on an additional 5000 persons in the nuclear weapons labs, Senator Pete Domenici noted in a press release yesterday. That is an increase from the current level of around 800 persons subject to polygraph testing.

“I am dismayed that the conferees took it upon themselves to adopt additional provisions on polygraphs,” Sen. Domenici said. “I find it astounding, especially in light of the findings in the Baker-Hamilton Report, that the conferees included these provisions.”

“The Baker-Hamilton Report clearly indicated that we should avoid further ‘Made in Washington’ rules that frustrate scientific pursuits and only serve to demoralize laboratory personnel. I believe these provisions will only make a bad situation worse,” Sen. Domenici said. “Security will be a moot point if our national laboratories fail to achieve scientific advances worth protecting.”

The Domenici press release is posted here:


The Baker-Hamilton Report is posted here:


By expanding the definition of who is a “covered person,” the new polygraph provision will impose testing requirements on an additional 5000 people, based on an informal estimate that NNSA chief Gen. John Gordon provided to Senator Domenici last week, a Domenici aide said.

The new provision, section 3135 of the defense authorization act, is posted here:


It amends last year’s polygraph legislation, posted here:


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