“Saddam’s Loyalists Thwart Polygraph Tests”

Washington Times staff writer Rowan Scarborough reports. Excerpt:

Captured Saddam Hussein loyalists in Iraq are proving adept at beating lie-detector tests, frustrating attempts to find banned weapons and to learn what happened to Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher.

U.S. officials and military officers say trained interrogators in Baghdad have caught Iraqi Ba’ath Party loyalists lying while hooked up to the machine, which showed they were not being deceptive.

Officials attribute the lying to many factors. They say it may have become part of the culture of Saddam’s regime to lie routinely. In other cases, the Iraqi intelligence service and Special Security Organization trained operators how to “beat” the machine. And there is the issue that polygraphs, which measure changes in heartbeat, respiration and perspiration, are simply not accurate.

In one incident, an Iraqi involved in a weapons program was shown two pictures. In one, officials cut his image out of a photo of workers at a weapons factory. He agreed that the cut-out image was of him. They then showed him the full photo, with his image restored. This time, he denied that he was in the photo. The polygraph did not catch him in this blatant lie.

“Polygraphs are being used in the interrogation process with mixed results,” a military officer in Iraq said. “Many of the suspects being interrogated were formerly part of the Ba’ath Party intelligence apparatus, so they would reasonably understand how the device works.”

Asked to comment, a defense official at the Pentagon said, “We do not discuss such matters of intelligence as a matter of policy.”

Interrogation teams include personnel from the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and the Army’s Criminal Investigative Command.

To discuss this article, see the AntiPolygraph.org message board thread, Saddam’s Loyalists Thwart Polygraph Tests.

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