“Annual Polygraph Report Published”

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy in Government Project reports in today’s Secrecy News electronic newsletter:

ANNUAL POLYGRAPH REPORT PUBLISHED

The Department of Defense this week released its Annual Polygraph Report for 2001, reaffirming the Department’s commitment to polygraph testing as an instrument of counterintelligence and criminal investigations as well as for security screening.

The Report provides a fresh set of anecdotes in which polygraph tests helped resolve criminal cases or uncover security violations, and sets forth an ambitious research program intended to bolster the technology’s widely disputed credibility.

The latest Report, obtained today under the Freedom of Information Act, is available here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/polygraph/dod-2001.html

In recent years, polygraph testing has become the target of increasingly focused and sophisticated criticism, notably from George Maschke and his colleagues at Antipolygraph.org. See:

http://www.antipolygraph.org/

Yet agency reliance on polygraph testing has hardly diminished. Most recently, the FBI indicated that it would ask at least 200 workers at Fort Detrick and Dugway Proving Grounds to take polygraph tests as part of the search for the elusive anthrax terrorist. See “Anthrax Probe Turns to Polygraph” by Megan Garvey and Eric Lichtblau in the May 22 Los Angeles Times:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-000036059may22.story

A noteworthy critique of the polygraph was offered by Aldrich Ames in a November 2000 letter that he wrote to the Federation of American Scientists from Allenwood Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania, where he is serving a life sentence for espionage. See:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/polygraph/ames.html

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