Ex-FBI Polygraphers Disagree Over Mike Jones’s Polygraph

Retired FBI polygraphers Jack Trimarco and James H. Earle, Ph.D., seem to be at odds over whether John J. Kresnik should have polygraphed Ted Haggard accuser Mike Jones, who says he had a migraine headache at the time and had slept only two hours the night before. Katie Kerwin McCrimmon reports for the Rocky Mountain News in “Expert Says Polygraph Flawed”:

A national expert on polygraph tests said today that the accuser in a sex scandal should never have taken a polygraph test this morning because he had only slept a couple hours and was complaining of a headache.

Mike Jones has accused Colorado Springs evangelical leader, the Rev. Ted Haggard, of paying him for sex several times over the past three years. Jones volunteered to take a polygraph test this morning. The results, which were announced live on Peter Boyles’ morning show KHOW radio, showed deception when he was asked about the sexual encounters.

Aurora polygraph examiner John Kresnik conducted the test for free. He is willing to do a second test, but urged Jones to wait a couple of weeks until he can rest and the controversy dies down.

While the polygraph test was not conclusive, a nationally recognized audio forensics expert, Richard Sanders, compared voice mail messages with Haggard’s voice for KUSA 9News and said it’s highly likely that Haggard is the person on voice mail messages that Jones saved.

Jack Trimarco, a former FBI agent for 21 years and former Inspector general for the U.S. Department of Energy, said subjects taking polygraph tests need to be rested and physically well or the results can be suspect.

Trimarco, who is now a private polygraph examiner based in Beverly Hills, California, said he would have re-scheduled the test once he learned that the subject was not in peak condition.

What’s more, he said a test in such a high-profile case should have been conducted under perfect conditions.

“Knowing that this is going to be a high-profile test, everything has got to be done correctly. It has to be video-taped and another examiner should be there so there is an immediate quality control,” Trimarco said. “It’s really the way things are done on really important cases.”

Trimarco handles high-profile cases routinely and will appear on the Dr. Phil Show next week to sort out conflicting polygraph tests.

Another retired FBI agent, James Earle, of Colorado Springs, said in his experience, after conducting nearly 12,000 tests over the past 27 years, that results are usually quite accurate. He said the examiner should have been able to tell that Jones was exhausted and adjust for that in the scoring.

“If they were really exhausted, it could be a factor. But, it’s not going to invalidate the test,” said Earle, who used to supervise polygraph tests for the FBI throughout the western U.S. Earle has a doctorate and just finished a term as a vice president of the National Polygraph Association. He also served as president of the Colorado chapter.

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