Sen. Pete Domenici Assails DOE Polygraph Screening

Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico criticizes the Department of Energy’s decision to continue its reliance on polygraph screening:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             CONTACT: CHRIS GALLEGOS

APRIL 14, 2003                  (202) 224-7082

DOMENICI: DOE WORRIES SHOULDN’T MEAN CONTINUATION
OF FLAWED POLYGRPAH POLICY

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today questioned the Department of Energy intention to continue heavy reliance on the use of extensive polygraph tests as a security screening tool for its employees, including workers at Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories.

“There is no question that DOE is under pressure because of problems involving security and lab management. This, however, should not be the basis for continuing a polygraph program that has been studied and found wanting,” Domenici said.

“This is definitely not the more focused polygraph policy I had hoped DOE and the NNSA would develop. I continue to believe that the system is too much and an affront especially since the polygraph program was so thoroughly criticized by the National Academy of Sciences. I hope the department will rethink this situation,” he said.

Domenici authored legislation, later incorporated into the FY2002 Defense Authorization Act, that required the DOE secretary and National Nuclear Security Administration administrator to implement a new DOE polygraph program based on the conclusions of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Polygraph Review. Senator Jeff Bingaman cosponsored the legislation.

The NAS subsequently issued a report concluding that while polygraph tests have proven effective under some circumstances, they are not an effective way for DOE to screen current and prospective employees.

Domenici is chairman of both the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee that funds DOE and its national laboratory network.

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