“MI5 Ponders Lie-Detectors”

BBC News reports that the British Security Service MI5 is considering adopting polygraph screening. Excerpt:

Tom King, chairman of the [Intelligence and Security Committee], said that it was actively looking at the possibility of using lie detectors to vet recruits and root out traitors.

The defections to the then Soviet Union of Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby, who had all worked for British intelligence, caught the public’s imagination in the 1950s and 1960s.

But, in US intelligence at least, the danger and detection of traitors selling secrets to foreign powers is still an active issue even after the end of the Cold War.

“It is important to look at the issue of betrayal,” Mr King said.

“I think the jury is out on polygraphs. We believe it could have benefits.”

A senior security source told the Press Association that MI5 officers were regularly visiting the US to check on the latest lie detector techniques.

“I don’t think the question of polygraphs is a dead question, I think it’s an open question,” the source said.

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