NSA Blocks AntiPolygraph.org on Twitter

The NSA (@NSAgov) has blocked AntiPolygraph.org (@ap_org) from following and viewing the NSA’s tweets:

Screen shot of the NSA’s Twitter profile as viewed from AntiPolygraph.org’s Twitter account, 3 November 2018

Curious about what may have prompted this action, we used Google to search twitter.com for matches including both “ap_org” and “NSAGov.” We found two replies that we posted to tweets the NSA made on 9 July 2018. Here is the first reply:

And here is the second reply:

We have asked the NSA to explain why they blocked us and will share their reply with an update here when received:

Update (12 November 2018): The NSA has not responded to our inquiry and continues to block AntiPolygraph.org on Twitter.

Mark Harris on Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Polygraph Screening

Mark Harris (Twitter profile)

Wired has published a major investigative article on law enforcement’s use of pre-employment polygraph screening. In The Lie Generator: Inside the Black Mirror World of Polygraph Job Screenings, science/technology writer Mark Harris (@meharris on Twitter) reports based on, among other sources, data gleaned from numerous public record access law requests filed with police and sheriff’s departments across the United States. Excerpt:

Data obtained by WIRED showed vast differences in the outcomes of polygraph tests depending on the examiner each candidate faced. Consider another law enforcement agency that uses polygraphs in its employment process: the Washington State Patrol (WSP). Between late October 2011 and the end of April 2017, the WSP conducted 5,746 polygraph tests on potential recruits. This was the largest data set WIRED received, including copious data on both applicants and examiners. While one examiner failed less than 20 percent of candidates, others failed more than half the applicants they screened. And while two examiners disqualified just four people in more than 1,000 applicants for supposedly having sex with animals, one of their colleagues failed more than 10 times as many for bestiality—around one in 20 of all job seekers. The same examiner was also twice as likely as the rest of his peers to fail applicants on the grounds of child pornography.

There were no further hearings trials for these supposed crimes, and no jury to convince or judge to adjudicate, just scores of otherwise qualified applicants who would now not become Washington state troopers.

“We don’t know which, if any, of the examiners are accurate, but the disparity between them suggests the test is not being used in a way that is at all reliable,” says John Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Arizona. And tests that are not reliable, Allen says, cannot be valid.

Harris’ article is too important for any summary posted here to do it justice. Go read it in its entirety.

The AntiPolygraph.org Podcast: Episode 1 – Polygraphs and the Kavanaugh Nomination

In this episode, podcast host George Maschke discusses Professor Christine Blasey Ford’s polygraph examination in connection with her allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, critical journalism on polygraphy inspired by this development, a proposed polygraph dragnet at the White House, a recent interview of polygraph critic Doug Williams on the Lions of Liberty podcast, and AntiPolygraph.org’s 18th anniversary online. (Direct download, 7.9 MB MP3)

Show notes:

On Professor Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh:

“California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault,” by Emma Brown. The Washington Post, 16 September 2018.

“Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation at Risk After Accusation by Christine Blasey Ford,” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg. The New York Times, 16 September 2018.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls on Brett Kavanaugh to take a lie detector “test.”

General reporting on polygraphy:

“Polygraph tests don’t work as lie detectors and they never have: It’s time to stop pinning our hopes on pseudoscience” by Eleanor Cummins in Popular Science.

“Why Do We Still Believe in Polygraphs?” by Alice B. Lloyd in the Weekly Standard.

“The Truth About Polygraph Tests: They’re junk science, inadmissible in court, and about as reliable as a pack of Tarot cards,” by Claire Berlinski in City Journal.

Senator Rand Paul Suggests Lie Detector “Tests” to Identify Author of New York Times Op-Ed

John Odermatt’s interview of polygraph critic Doug Williams on the Lions of Liberty podcast show, Felony Friday.

How to Contact AntiPolygraph.org.

 

DHS OIG Whitewashes CBP Polygraph Complaints (or, CBP Dismisses 5 out of 6 Valid Complaints Against Its Polygraph Operators)

On 26 July 2018, the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General published report OIG-18-68, titled “Most Complaints About CBP’s Polygraph Program Are Ambiguous or Unfounded” (PDF).

The 17-page report’s findings are summarized on page 5:

Review of CBP’s Polygraph Complaints
We reviewed 157 complaints to determine whether CBP had an effective process and whether the complaints were true. The complaints fell into three categories — those missing information or otherwise too vague to review; those which were not true (the allegation was not substantiated by an audio review); and those which were true (the allegation was substantiated by an audio review). Of the 157 complaints, we determined that:

  • 130 (83 percent) were either not specific or did not have enough information to review;
  • 21 (13 percent) were not true based on the allegation; and
  • 6 (4 percent) were true.

We determined CBP did not adequately address five of the six substantiated complaints. For the complaint it addressed adequately, CBP conducted an audio review and allowed the applicant to retest.

What stands out is that 83% of complaints were judged as either “not specific” or “did not have enough information to review.” No breakdown is provided between these two categories, and no examples of such complaints are provided. However, it seems likely that DHS OIG would have placed in this category any complaint by any CBP applicant who alleged she told the truth yet was accused of lying by her CBP polygraph operator , simply because one cannot prove the negative in such a situation. That is, there is no way any CBP applicant falsely accused of lying can prove that she did not lie. It appears DHS OIG therefore dismisses such complaints out of hand. Yet complaints of being falsely branded as a liar by CBP polygraph operators are by far the most common ones heard.

The above citation also shows that “CBP did not adequately address five of the six substantiated complaints.” A more informative title for this DHS OIG report would be “CBP Dismisses 5 out of 6 Valid Complaints Against Its Polygraph Operators.”

NITV Hires Disgraced Ex-Cop Jerry W. Crotty II as Director of Law Enforcement Operations

The National Institute of Truth Verification, which markets a voice-based “lie detector” called the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA), has hired disgraced ex-cop Jerry W. Crotty II to serve as its “Director of Law Enforcement Operations”:

NEW DIRECTOR OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OPERATIONS

NITV Federal Services (NFS) is pleased to welcome Detective Jerry Crotty as its Director of Law Enforcement Operations. Jerry will oversee all aspects of law enforcement operations for NFS and provide direct advice and assistance to law enforcement agencies worldwide, as well as oversee our Technical Services Division.

Jerry joins the NSF team from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in Florida where he served for 20 years in various positions, including supervisory positions in such specialized disciplines as Crimes Against Children, Domestic Violence and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC).  While assigned to the State and Federal ICAC Task Force, Jerry developed ground-breaking techniques for using the CVSA® to identify and bring to justice serial child predators, which are now taught nationally.  These techniques were so significant and effective that in 2015 he received the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts (NACVSA) annual Professor James L. Chapman Award for Excellence.  Jerry is considered an expert in interviewing and interrogation and has a confession rate well above 95%.  He is also an expert utilizing the CVSA and is highly experienced in conducting specialized covert and structured examinations.  Jerry holds a Master’s Degree in Science from the University of Central Florida.

Charles Humble, Founder of NITV Federal Services and the developer of the CVSA, states “We are very excited to have an individual with the qualifications and strong moral character of Jerry Crotty joining our team.  With his law enforcement background, especially in the ICAC arena, Jerry will bring a new dimension to an organization that is already recognized as the Gold Standard for our industry.”

In February 2018, Jerry Crotty, then a supervisor in the Manatee County, Florida Sheriff’s Office Child Protection Investigative Division, “retired to avoid a demotion and discipline,” as Jessica de Leon reported in April for the Bradenton Herald. Excerpt:

Former supervisor of Manatee sheriff’s child protection division opts to retire after demotion and facing suspension

April 04, 2018 06:08 PM
Updated April 05, 2018 09:46 AM

A former supervisor in the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Child Protection Investigative Division has retired to avoid a demotion and discipline after an internal affairs investigation concluded he had been inappropriate and demeaning toward child protective workers. His supervisor was suspended and reassigned after a related internal affairs investigation concluded he did nothing to stop the behavior and participated in the berating of others.

Former Sgt. Jerry Crotty announced he would be retiring in a letter dated Feb. 4 to Capt. Brian Schnering in the Professional Standards Section. According to an internal affairs investigation concluded on Feb. 20, allegations that Crotty violated three general orders — harassment on the basis of disability, conduct unbecoming and failing to adhere to general orders — were sustained against him.

“Over the last year, my physical and mental health has been pushed beyond its limits and this time off of work has given the clarity that I need moving forward,” Crotty wrote. “When I started my career in 1997, I told my family that the day it was no longer fun and felt like work, I would resign. That day has come now.”

Crotty had been on medical leave but anticipated being cleared by his doctors on Feb. 19, he said. His resignation as a result was effective Feb. 20, just two days after his demotion to deputy in the Crime Against Children Section became effective, according to his personnel file. Crotty also said in his resignation letter that he wished to discuss the investigation with Schnering so that it could be closed properly and because he did not wish to resign while he was under investigation.

After a related investigation, Crotty’s supervisor, Lt. Barry Overstreet, was suspended for six days without pay and reassigned to the patrol division.

Crotty and Overstreet both supervised the Crimes Against Children section of the Child Protection Investigative Division, which handles criminal investigations, often working investigations in tandem with the Child Protection Section. The Child Protection Section handles all child welfare investigations in Manatee County for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

“Based upon a review of all documentation, evidence and interviews, it is apparent Sgt. Crotty demonstrated harassment based on a disability when he purposely spoke in a diminished tone in an effort to force Deputy Director Connie Keehner, a hearing impaired employee, to ask him to repeat himself,” Sgt. Paul Davis stated in the internal affairs report. “Furthermore, it is evident Sgt. Crotty utilized a pattern of influential comments, actions and/or omissions, as well as deliberately phrased electronic communications to forge a mindset of separation and contempt between his subordinates and the employees of the Child Protection Section.”

Read the rest of the story here.
It may seem curious that NITV founder Charles Humble would consider Jerry Crotty to be an individual of “strong moral character.” But then again, Humble doesn’t think there is anything wrong with his passing himself off as a Ph.D. based upon a “diploma” received following a 6-hour course of study at a strip mall Bible school.
It should also be noted that the National Institute for Truth Verification has admitted in federal court that the Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer “is not capable of lie detection.”

“Nailing the Pretest Interview”: A Presentation by Skip Webb

AntiPolygraph.org has obtained a copy of a 2005 PowerPoint presentation prepared by former U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) Supervisory Agent and American Polygraph Association past president and past chairman of the board of directors Milton O. “Skip” Webb, Jr.

Titled “Nailing the Pre-Test Interview: The key to reducing no opinion tests,” this presentation has been a favorite at polygraph conferences for years.

With a focus on specific issue polygraph interrogations conducted in criminal investigations, the opening slides offer a candid acknowledgement of the sort of examiner bias and error that can beset polygraph “tests.” This documentation may be useful to any attorney who needs to challenge the reliability of a client’s polygraph “test.” The following slides speak for themselves:

The entire 44-slide presentation may be downloaded as a 6.5 MB PDF file or as a 269 kb PPT file.

Polygraph Discussion on Witwatersrand University Radio Academy Program “The Science Inside”

Among the topics addressed in the 26 June 2018 episode of the Witswatersrand (Wits) University radio program and podcast “The Science Inside” was polygraph “testing.” Those interviewed for this segment by program editor Elna Schütz include Niel Visser, a retailer who has been subjected to workplace polygraph “testing,” Clifton Coetzee, a practitioner of a variety of pseudosciences including polygraphy, voice stress analysis, statement analysis, and physiognomy, and AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke. The polygraph segment begins about 36 minutes into the program.

Google De-lists AntiPolygraph.org on Key Search Terms

Search DuckDuckGo for “polygraph” and you’ll find AntiPolygraph.org, which hosts more documentation on polygraphs than any other site on the Internet, in the top 10 results. The same is true for searches on “polygraph” with Microsoft’s Bing search engine (in the United States), with Russia’s Yandex search engine, and with the open-source searX search engine.

But search Google for “polygraph” and you very likely will not be shown any links to any pages on AntiPolygraph.org.

This has not always been true. For years since going online in 2000, AntiPolygraph.org was Google’s top search result for “polygraph.” Eventually, the Wikipedia article titled “Polygraph” took the number 1 spot, but AntiPolygraph.org long remained among the top 10.

Then, around the time the federal government launched Operation Lie Busters, which targeted the owners of websites that provided information on how to pass (or beat) a polygraph “test” for entrapment and criminal prosecution, AntiPolygraph.org’s Google ranking for “polygraph” slipped, often appearing on the second, third, or later pages of results. AntiPolygraph.org has reason to believe that co-founder George Maschke was targeted in Operation Lie Busters, and that visitors to AntiPolygraph.org have been the target of electronic eavesdropping.

AntiPolygraph.org provides documentation on polygraphy that the U.S. government’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies do not want the public — especially those who face polygraph “testing” — to know, including the precise questions asked in various polygraph techniques (PDF), how to pass or beat a polygraph “test” (PDF), and the federal government’s unscientific and ineffective methodology for attempting to detect polygraph countermeasures.

In 2018, it appears that Google has effectively de-listed AntiPolygraph.org for such relevant keywords as “polygraph” and “lie detector.” We first noticed this early in the year; the de-listing has persisted for at least four months.

Google Search Analytics shows that from 29 March 2018 to 26 June 2018, there were no clicks via Google searches on “polygraph” to any page on AntiPolygraph.org:

There were only 7 clicks via Google searches on “lie detector” to any page on AntiPolygraph.org:

Similarly, there were zero clicks via Google searches on “polygraphs” or “lie detectors.”

For comparison purposes, during the same period, there were 165 clicks via Google searches on the exact phrase “where to find underage porn,” even though the linked page does not remotely address this question:

It seems that something is not kosher here. AntiPolygraph.org is a non-profit, public interest website. We host no advertising and we don’t engage in spam, link-farming, or other abusive practices.

Reader thoughts are welcome.

Update (30 June 2018): The situation appears to be worse than we imagined, as illustrated in this screenshot from Google Search Console Beta:

The chart shows that over the past 16 months, Google reports 146,576 impressions for the search word “polygraph,” with an average position of 8.4, but only 381 total clicks, for an average click through rate of just 0.3%!

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Polygraph “Test for Espionage, Sabotage, and Corruption” Exposed

In 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, unable to fill available positions because of the agency’s roughly 70% pre-employment polygraph failure rate (1 MB PDF), began a “pilot program” whereby instead of using the probable-lie Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test (1 MB PDF) technique used by other federal law enforcement agencies, CBP applicants would instead be subjected to a new directed-lie technique based on the Test for Espionage and Sabotage, which is used by the Departments of Defense and Energy for security screening.

CBP’s new polygraph screening technique is called the “Test for Espionage, Sabotage, and Corruption” or “TES-C.” AntiPolygraph.org has obtained, and is publishing, CBP documentation regarding this procedure, including the precise questions asked, and their order.

Those who face CBP pre-employment polygraph screening can familiarize themselves with this information to prepare and help protect themselves against a false positive outcome, which is common in this scientifically baseless procedure.

The TES-C consists of two main question series, “Sub-test A” and “Sub-test B.” These are XML files (originally with the LXQ file extension associated with the Lafayette Instrument Company’s LX Polygraph Software; AntiPolygraph.org has substituted the XML extension to make the files readable in web browsers).

The questions, in order, with types, on Sub-test A are:

X Start of Chart Please remain still, the test is about to begin.

I1 Irrelevant/Neutral Are the lights on in this room?

I2 Irrelevant/Neutral Are you now sitting down?

SRQ Sacrifice Relevant Concerning/Regarding the security issues we discussed, do you intend to answer each question truthfully?

1C1 Control/Comparison Did you ever commit a minor traffic violation?

1R1 Relevant Have you been involved in terrorism against the US?

1R2 Relevant Have you deliberately compromised any classified information?

1C2 Control/Comparison Did you ever take any (government/company) supplies for your personal use?

2R1 Relevant Have you been involved in terrorism against the US?

2R2 Relevant Have you deliberately compromised any classified information?

2C1 Control/Comparison Did you ever commit a minor traffic violation?

3R1 Relevant Have you been involved in terrorism against the US?

3R2 Relevant Have you deliberately compromised any classified information?

2C2 Did you ever take any (government/company) supplies for your personal use?

XX End of Chart This part of the test is now over, please remain still.

The questions, in order, with types, on Sub-test B are:

X Start of Chart Please remain still, the test is about to begin.

I1 Irrelevant Are the lights on in this room?

I2 Irrelevant Are you now sitting down?

SRQ Sacrifice Relevant Concerning / Regarding the security issues we discussed, do you intend to answer each question truthfully?

1C1 Control/Comparison Did you ever say anything in anger that you later regretted?

1R3 Relevant Have you been involved in any serious criminal activity?

1R4 Relevant Have you deliberately hidden any foreign contact from CBP?

1C2 Control/Comparison Did you ever say anything derogatory about another person behind their back?

2R3 Relevant Have you been involved in any serious criminal activity?

2R4 Relevant Have you deliberately hidden any foreign contact from CBP?

2C1 Control/Comparison Did you ever say anything in anger that you later regretted?

3R3 Relevant Have you been involved in any serious criminal activity?

3R4 Relevant Have you deliberately hidden any foreign contact from CBP?

2C2 Control/Comparison Did you ever say anything derogatory about another person behind their back?

XX End of Chart This part of the test is now over, please remain still.

The scope of the relevant questions is outlined in a Suitability Scoping Guide (28 kb PDF). A PowerPoint presentation titled “CBP Route Maps” also shows the scope of the relevant questions, revealing, among other things, that the question about “serious criminal activity” includes a wide array of crimes ranging from, among other things, “viewing, downloading, searching, distributing, selling, [or] producing” child pornography, drug possession or use in the past three years, and drug transactions anytime.

A CBP Polygraph TES-C Pre-Test Outline lays out in detail the script to be followed by the polygraph operator administering the TES-C. Applicants are required to sign a CBP Applicant Release of Liability form (92 kb PDF) agreeing “not to sue CBP, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), and CBP’s and DHS’s employees, officers, and agents, their heirs, successors, or assigns (the “Released Parties”), and agree to hold the Released Parties harmless of and from any and all actions or omissions, rights or causes of actions, suits, damages, judgments, claims, and demands whatsoever, present or future, in law or in equity, whether known or unknown, which arise out of, result from, occur during, or are connected in any manner with my polygraph examination….”

What other pre-employment test requires such bureacratic CYA?

The pre-test outline also reflects CBP’s fear of polygraph countermeasures, which CBP and other federal agencies have no reliable means of detecting. Step 5 of the pre-test outline instructs the polygraph operator as follows:

5. Countermeasure Statement

  • Tell me what you know about Polygraph.
  • Have you conducted any research on Polygraph?
  • If the examinee answers “No”, let the examinee know that most information on the Internet is opinion based and often incorrect and misleading.
  • Tell the examinee that they should NOT do anything to alter their polygraph examination.
  • If the examinee says “Yes”, they have conducted polygraph research, ask them what information did they learn and where did they get the information.
  • Again, tell the examinee that “most information on the Internet is incorrect and misleading.”

Inform the examinee that they should NOT do anything to alter their polygraph examination.

Polygraph operators want their examinees to be ignorant about polygraphy. They are not nearly so much concerned about examinees getting “incorrect and misleading” information about polygraphy as they are about them getting factual and correct information about polygraphy and polygraph countermeasures. The polygraph operator will likely arbitrarily accuse any examinee who states that he or she has visited AntiPolygraph.org, or otherwise researched polygraphy, with having employed polygraph countermeasures.

Those facing CBP pre-employment polygraph screening will want to read the entire TES-C Pre-Test Outline and additional TES-C documentation available at the AntiPolygraph.org Reading Room. They will also want to read our free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 MB PDF) to learn how to protect themselves against the high risk of a false positive outcome associated with this pseudoscientific procedure.

WikiLeaks CIA Vault 7 Leak and Child Pornography Suspect Joshua Adam Schulte Passed Multiple Polygraphs

Joshua Adam Schulte

On 23 August 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted former CIA employee Joshua Adam Schulte for receipt, possession, and transportation of child pornography dating back to 2009.

In 2010, Schulte sought and obtained employment with the CIA. All CIA applicants are required to pass a pre-employment polygraph as well as periodic polygraph screening after hire. The relevant questions asked typically include computer crimes including possession of child pornography. In a proceeding held on 24 August 2017, Schulte’s lawyer, Kenneth F. Smith, stated that Schulte had passed a CIA polygraph that addressed the issue of child pornography:

MR. SMITH: …Pursuant to his employment and his security clearances, he has undergone extensive and extreme vetting, including numerous polygraph examinations. He was subjected to polygraph examinations in the beginning, when he started, and continuing throughout his career. And, Judge, particularly I think it’s important to note  in those polygraph examinations and as a part of that vetting, he was asked specifically about this conduct, and he passed all of those polygraphs with flying colors.

Judge, it’s important because…

THE COURT: He was asked about child pornography in the polygraphs?

MR. SMITH: That’s correct, Judge.

On 18 June 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a superseding indictment additionally charging Schulte with, among other things, “illegal gathering of national defense information…for the purpose of providing it to, and causing it to be provided to, an organization that purports to publicly disseminate classified, sensitive, and confidential information (“Organization-1″), which posted the Classfied Information on the Internet.”

“Organization-1” is widely understood to be WikiLeaks, and the national defense information in question is widely understood to be WikiLeaks’ “Vault 7” release of CIA hacking tools, publication of which began in March 2017.

The indictment alleges that Schulte gathered this information in 2016, the year he left CIA employment. It is unknown whether Schulte was polygraphed after the time that he allegedly gathered information allegedly provided to WikiLeaks.

In any event, if the child pornography charges against Schulte, which again date to 2009, a year before the CIA hired him, are true, and if the polygraph is capable of detecting deception, as the CIA and other federal agencies claim, then the polygraph should have eliminated Schulte from consideration for CIA employment. But it didn’t.