DoD Agency Trashes Polygraph

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy comments in his Secrecy News e-mail publication:


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been battered and bruised by controversies surrounding several of its more questionable programs, including the defunct Terrorism Information Awareness.

But the Agency has not received the credit to which it is arguably entitled for conducting those programs in an unclassified form, in which they can be freely debated, criticized and attacked.

Now DARPA has published a complete descriptive summary of all of its (unclassified) programs, where they can be reviewed in some context. It is an intriguing collection, with numerous items of interest.

Describing its “Deception Detection” initiative to develop new “lie detector” methods, for example, DARPA renders an unusually harsh official judgment concerning the polygraph:

“Current screening techniques are flawed, enabling many deceivers to avoid detection and falsely accusing large numbers of innocent people. An effective method to assess intent will decrease both the missed detections and the false alarms.” (Page 49).

See “Fact File: A Compendium of DARPA Programs,” August 2003 (thanks to GP):

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