Accused WikiLeaks CIA Vault 7 Source Joshua Adam Schulte Knew the Lie Behind the Lie Detector

Joshua Adam Schulte

An exhibit (PDF) submitted by prosecutors in the Espionage Act trial of Joshua Adam Schulte for allegedly providing a collection of CIA hacking tools dubbed “Vault 7” to WikiLeaks shows that Schulte understood that polygraph “testing” is bogus. has previously reported that Schulte passed multiple CIA polygraphs despite having allegedly downloaded child pornography before seeking CIA employment.

The exhibit, which appears to be an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) transcript, begins with “John” sending “Josh” (Schulte) a link to’s free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, noting that he was reading it and that it “seems kind of interesting.”

John asks Schulte for his opinion on polygraphs, and he responds that “they’re a means of social engineering” and provides a (no-longer available) link to video of the Penn & Teller Bullshit! documentary series episode on lie detectors.

The chat, which took place over the course of about 11 minutes on January 15th of an unspecified year, concludes with Schulte pasting the following selection from The Lie Behind the Lie Detector and remarking “rofl”:

On Monday, 21 February 1994—just seven days before the Joint Security Commission issued its report—the FBI arrested CIA counterintelligence officer Aldrich Hazen Ames and charged him with spying for the former Soviet Union and later, Russia. Since beginning his betrayal in 1985, Ames had passed two CIA polygraph “tests” during which he falsely denied having committed espionage, first on 2 May 1986 and again on 12 and 16 April 1991.

(In the chat log, the numerals do not appear as a result of the formatting of earlier editions of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.)

It is not clear what legal argument the chat log is intended to support, but it does help to document the growing understanding of those who are subject to polygraph screening that it is, as Penn and Teller put it, bullshit. has transcribed the exhibit (PDF), which was first made available by reporter Matthew Russell Lee (@MatthewLeeICP):

Jan 15 13:18:05 <John> i'm reading this:
Jan 15 13:18:09 <John> seems kind of interesting
Jan 15 13:18:29 <John> what's your opinion on polygraphs
Jan 15 13:19:03 <Josh> they're a means of social engineering
Jan 15 13:19:16 <Josh> Penn and Teller did a good episode of Bullshit! about polygraphs
Jan 15 13:19:39 <John> yeah
Jan 15 13:20:03 <Josh>!/Season%207/S07E05%20-%20Lie%20Detectors.avi
Jan 15 13:20:06 <Josh> :)
Jan 15 13:20:09 <Josh> you?
Jan 15 13:20:23 <John> yeah that's basically my opinion too
Jan 15 13:20:26 <Josh> the dude was right, it's the polygraphers who are complete douchebags
Jan 15 13:20:41 <John> i just wonder how hard it is for say a spy to get through an nsa polygraph
Jan 15 13:21:00 <John> like i'd imagine the background checks do a lot more to keep out spies than the polygraph
Jan 15 13:21:21 <Josh> the problem is once someone is in, then the background checks do very little
Jan 15 13:21:32 <Josh> Like, as long as you believe in your lie then you can pass it pretty easily
Jan 15 13:21:44 <Josh> Also, I hear that a lot of people go "inconclusive" in polygraphs
Jan 15 13:21:58 <Josh> meaning there is no clear indicator to the polygraphers
Jan 15 13:22:07 <John> but "inconclusive" means you don't get the clearance
Jan 15 13:22:18 <Josh> nope
Jan 15 13:22:21 <Josh> you can still get it
Jan 15 13:22:24 <John> wtf
Jan 15 13:22:24 <Josh> and you can maintain it
Jan 15 13:22:27 <John> here you don't
Jan 15 13:22:32 <Josh> even if you fail it, you get many more chances to re-take it...
Jan 15 13:22:36 <Josh> says who
Jan 15 13:22:52 <John> i forget
Jan 15 13:22:58 <Josh> I bet it's the same because I know NSA trains your polygraphers
Jan 15 13:23:07 <John> hmmm
Jan 15 13:23:33 <Josh> I mean, it's about the polygraphers and what kind of shit they can get out of you
Jan 15 13:23:38 <Josh> not really about the test itself
Jan 15 13:24:31 <Josh> you can still fail it though, I've heard of some people who dont get a clearance because they outright fail the polygraph
Jan 15 13:24:54 <Josh> and that can be for a number of reasons from nervousness to simple physiology
Jan 15 13:25:21 <John> i heard that a lot of co-ops failed to get their clearance because they lied about not having done weed
Jan 15 13:25:33 <Josh> heh
Jan 15 13:25:46 <Josh> that's actually the question I had the most trouble with
Jan 15 13:25:52 <Josh> and apparently I kept failing it
Jan 15 13:25:58 <Josh> even though I've never done drugs...
Jan 15 13:26:02 <John> lol
Jan 15 13:26:20 <Josh> I think the guy was just phishing because he didn't think a college kid had never even tried drugs before :P
Jan 15 13:26:26 <John> haha
Jan 15 13:26:32 <Josh> so fuck that guy
Jan 15 13:26:46 <Josh> he was such a fucking dick
Jan 15 13:27:06 <Josh> he told me, well, you'll probably be on your way back to texas wish you hadnt lied here
Jan 15 13:27:14 <Josh> I was like wtf
Jan 15 13:27:31 <Josh> I even decided if I had to retake it that I'd just tell them to forget it
Jan 15 13:28:16 <Josh> dude there were some people in my access class that failed it like 4-5 times...
Jan 15 13:28:23 <Josh> and others who took 6 years to get cleared
Jan 15 13:28:26 <Josh> I was like, jesus
Jan 15 13:32:16 <Josh> "On Monday, February —just seven days before the Joint Se-
Jan 15 13:32:16 <Josh> curity Commission issued its report—the FBI arrested CIA counter-
Jan 15 13:32:16 <Josh> intelligence officer Aldrich Hazen Ames and charged him with spying
Jan 15 13:32:16 <Josh> for the former Soviet Union and later, Russia. Since beginning his
Jan 15 13:32:16 <Josh> betrayal in , Ames had passed two CIA polygraph "tests" during
Jan 15 13:32:17 <Josh> which he falsely denied having committed espionage, first on
Jan 15 13:32:19 <Josh> May and again on and April .
Jan 15 13:32:21 <Josh> "
Jan 15 13:32:47 <Josh> he went inconclusive
Jan 15 13:39:20 <Josh> hmmm
Jan 15 13:39:25 <Josh> rofl:

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