“Can They Fool the Polygraph?”

Diana Ray reports in the 2-9 June 2001 issue of Insight magazine. Excerpt:

The FBI is requiring employees to undergo increased polygraph testing as a result of security lapses, but cool liars are able to evade detection by the simple machines.

Polygraph testing did not keep Aldrich H. Ames from selling CIA secrets to the Russians before his arrest in 1994. He passed the tests with flying colors while employed by the agency. And testing didn’t prevent FBI counterspy Robert Philip Hanssen from reported treason — because, during his entire 25 years with the bureau, he never was required to take one. Recently indicted, Hanssen is charged with selling secrets to the Soviet Union and then Russia during a period of 16 years, right up to his arrest in February.

After the uncovering of Hanssen, former FBI director William Webster was tasked to investigate FBI security procedures. In the interim, the bureau announced, it would require 500 employees with access to confidential data to undergo polygraph tests during a 60-day period, including Louis Freeh, the bureau director. That was to begin late in March. Although the 60-day deadline wasn’t met, only Freeh remained to be polygraphed as Insight went to press, according to FBI spokesman Paul Bresson. Freeh announced he would retire in June after 27 years with the FBI.

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