On Monday, 9 June 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Assistant Commissioner James F. Tomsheck, who headed CBP’s Internal Affairs unit, “was removed from his post…amid criticism that he failed to investigate hundreds of allegations of abuse and use of force by armed border agents.”
Tomsheck, himself a former polygraph operator, was ultimately responsible for Operation Lie Busters, an ongoing criminal investigation that attempted to entrap individuals who provide instruction in how to pass polygraph examinations.
In July 2013, Tomsheck was the commencement speaker at a National Center for Credibility Assessment graduation ceremony. Tomsheck’s speech was the top story in the August 2013 issue of the CBP-IA newsletter, Special Delivery, a copy of which (1.2 mb PDF) has been obtained by AntiPolygraph.org. The full text of the article is reproduced below:
AC TOMSHECK ADDRESSES NCCA GRADUATES
On July 24, 2013, five CBP students received diplomas completing the masters-level curriculum in Forensic Psychophysiology at the National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA) commencement. The graduates are now assigned as intern Polygraph Examiners in the CBP-IA Credibility Assessment Division (CAD). After a successful six-month internship, the graduates will become federally certified polygraph examiners. Once certified, these new polygraph examiners will play an important role in the effort to conduct 100% screening of all law enforcement applicants before they are hired by CBP, as required by the Anti-Border Corruption Act.
NCCA Director William Norris introduced the Commencement Speaker as “one of us” and directed the attention of the audience to a highlighted photograph of the 1984 graduating class that included a young Secret Service Agent, now CBP IA Assistant Commissioner James Tomsheck. AC Tomsheck congratulated the 32 graduates representing numerous federal agencies and praised them for their diligent work in the classroom and laboratories. He emphasized their success could not have been possible without the support of their families and agencies, and the excellent instruction received by the NCCA faculty. Mr. Tomsheck advised the graduates that they were entering the profession at a time unparalleled in the government, when all agencies were relying more on the unique ability of polygraph to protect our National Security from Insider Threats, and provided the assemblage with examples of penetration attempts wherein polygraph developed critical information impossible to obtain through traditional vetting methods. He emphasized that the graduates must always maintain and follow the standards taught and endorsed by NCCA, and implemented through the policies of their respective agencies.
This semester’s CBP graduates and their future office assignments are: Michael Gonzalez, McAllen; Eric Modisett, San Diego; Michale Moylan, San Diego; David Pelfrey, Detroit; and Sapphia Small, Newark.
NCCA, the federal government’s polygraph school, turns out newly minted polygraphers in 14 weeks, less than half the length of a typical barber college.
James F. Tomsheck and the whole Internal Affairs Unit of the CBP should not only be investigated, they should be prosecuted! This investigation should also include a very thorough investigation into the actions of Special Agent Douglas Robbins of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Internal Affairs, CBP Senior Special Agent Fred C. Ball, Jr. and CBP polygraph unit chief John R. Schwartz. They all neglected their duty, choosing instead to mount a vicious and unlawful attack on me.
Instead of “investigating individual cases of alleged wrongdoing” they put their emphasis “toward assisting other agencies, including the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Homeland Security inspector general” – i.e. “OPERATION LIE BUSTERS”.
During “OPERATION LIE BUSTERS”, they spent thousands of man hours and untold amounts of money trying to persecute and intimidate me (and others) for telling the truth about the waste, fraud and abuse in their polygraph unit. Rather than do the job they were assigned to do (internal affairs investigations), they conducted an unscrupulous, unconstitutional attack on me! Robbins himself told me that they had been investigating me for over three years!
Schwartz, one of the men behind “OPERATION LIE BUSTERS”, said he thought that those who “protest the loudest and the longest” against polygraph testing “are the ones that I believe we need to focus our attention on.” And so it was that James F. Tomsheck and his crew hatched a plan to “focus attention” on the one man who best fit this description, the man all polygraph operators have hated for almost forty years – one who helped put tens of thousands of them out of business in 1988 with the passage of the EPPA – yours truly, Douglas G Williams.
The “Schwartz” quoted there is John Schwartz, a Customs and Border Patrol official who is involved in the investigations. So, yeah, that’s a federal government agent specifically claiming that he wants to focus his criminal investigatory power on those who speak out against polygraph testing (rather than do the job he was assigned to do – investigating allegations of wrong doing in his own agency).
One blogger, commenting on the investigation of me, put it this way: “That sounds a hell of a lot like a police state, where federal agents publicly declare that they’re going to use their criminal investigation powers to target people who oppose a program they support. Talk about chilling effects and a massive First Amendment violation. To have a federal official, with investigatory power, who’s already involved in existing investigations flat out say that he wants to target those who speak out, is incredible. That’s not the way our government is supposed to work.”
This story goes much deeper than the “lack of diligence” in doing their job, and I hope there is an in-depth investigation. These men all used (misused, and abused) the power of their office and violated my constitutional rights under color of law. This is a story of how a group of pro-polygraph men, most of whom are polygraph operators, used their authority as federal agents in pursuit of a personal vendetta against me. They should not only be investigated, they should be prosecuted!