“Lie Tests for Spy Suspects”

Niles Lathem reports for the New York Post. This short article is cited here in full:

December 20, 2003 — WASHINGTON – Army counterintelligence agents are forcing many Iraqi employees of the U.S.-led civilian authority in Baghdad to submit to polygraph tests after a list of Saddam Hussein’s spies was discovered in his briefcase, The Post has learned.

Military officials said yesterday “several” Iraqis working as translators and low-level functionaries for the Coalition Provisional Authority and some who have been hired for the police are being given lie-detector tests this week on suspicion they are giving inside information to Ba’athist terrorist cells.

Army counterintelligence officers are investigating whether Saddam’s nest of spies inside the coalition may have helped set up unsuccessful assassination attempts on top civilian leader Paul Bremer and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, military sources told The Post.

Officials said those who fail the test will lose their jobs and will could be arrested and charged as enemy combatants for aiding terrorist campaign to undermine the rebuilding of Iraq.

U.S. officials confirmed a list of double agents who have penetrated the coalition was discovered in documents found in Saddam’s briefcase during his arrest last week.

“We experienced the same problems in Vietnam. And given that the CPA was in such a rush to get set up after the war and was desperately looking for English speakers, it should come as a surprise to no one that there was penetration,” said retired Lt. Col. Patrick Lange, a former Middle East chief for the Defense Intelligence Agency.

That U.S. Army counterintelligence officials would fire and arrest an employee for “failing” the polygraph, or choose not do so because the employee “passed,” evidences the counterintelligence community’s continuing misplaced faith in the lie detector.

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