Canada: “Terror Suspect Passed Lie Detector Test, Expert Says”

The following Canadian Press report was published on GlobeandMail.com:

Montreal — A polygraph expert testified Monday that he believes suspected sleeper agent Adil Charkaoui told the truth when he denied in a lie detector test having any links to terrorists.

Mr. Charkaoui, who has been in detention since May, 2003, on a national security certificate, was making another attempt in Federal Court to get bail.

Polygraph expert John Galianos told the court he believes Mr. Charkaoui answered all questions truthfully during the Nov. 17 test. Mr. Charkaoui was asked to respond to the federal government’s allegations that he knew al-Qaeda terrorists and trained with them in Afghanistan in the 1990s.

“It is my opinion that Mr. Charkaoui told the truth when he responded to questions pertinent to the inquiry,” Mr. Galianos said. “Mr. Charkaoui had no unusual physical reactions to the questions.”

Mr. Charkaoui, a 31-year-old permanent resident of Canada, was to testify in his own defence later on Monday.

Mr. Galianos acknowledged under cross-examination that polygraph tests are not foolproof.

Under questioning from Justice Department lawyer Daniel Roussy, the former Sûreté du Québec officer said the test’s accuracy depends on the phrasing of the questions.

Mr. Charkaoui was asked five questions during the test: whether he planned to tell the truth, whether he trained in terrorist camps, if he was ever a member of a terrorist network, if he was currently a member of a terrorist network and whether he had ever planned attacks.

He responded “No” to all of the questions, Mr. Galianos said.

But Mr. Roussy pointed out Mr. Charkaoui was never asked whether he had handled firearms or if he knew people who may have committed violent acts.

Outside the courtroom, Mr. Roussy said the test result would have no effect on the government’s position.

“He still represents a danger to the Canadian public and he’s a threat.”

The government suspects Mr. Charkaoui of being an agent who could be activated by al-Qaeda at any time.

A final decision on whether to deport him to his native Morocco still has to be made.

Under the security-certificate rules, the federal government can hold suspects – and eventually deport them – without disclosing the evidence it has against them. Suspects’ lawyers are also denied a chance to cross-examine government representatives.

The Federal Court of Appeal recently upheld the constitutionality of the security-certificate process, saying individual rights must sometimes be suspended to preserve national security and protect Canadians’ safety.

Not only are polygraph “tests” not foolproof, as polygrapher John Galianos conceded, but they have no scientific basis whatsoever. It is worth noting that the Encyclopedia of Jihad, a training manual for Al-Qaeda insurgents, explains that the lie detector is a sham.

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