“$860,000 DOE Study to Evaluate Polygraphs”

Jennifer McKee of the Albuquerque Journal writes in part:

The Department of Energy intends to sink almost a million dollars into an upcoming study to determine – once and for all – how well widespread lie detector tests work in preventing espionage.

“While we must take the utmost precaution in protecting the nation’s secrets with all prudent measures at our disposal, we must also protect the science at our national labs as well as the scientists who work there,” said Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson in a prepared statement Monday.

“The employees deserve reasonable assurance that the polygraph tests to which they are subject provide accurate results.”

The DOE requested the study, which will be conducted over the next 18 months by the National Academy of Sciences at a cost of $860,000, according to Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Bingaman suggested a similar study last year, said Jude McCartin, a spokesperson for the senator, and has questioned the validity of polygraphing in the past.

One wonders how the National Academy of Sciences is going to spend 18 months studying a procedure that lacks both standardization and control.

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