Financial data disclosed in federal court by NITV Federal Services, LLC, which markets the scientifically baseless Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) to law enforcement agencies, reflect flat revenue and a multi-year sales slump.
The financial data was divulged in NITV v. Dektor (Case No. 9:18-cv-80994 in the Southern District of Florida) to support a claimed loss of more than $2 million in revenue.
Financial figures for the privately held NITV, which was founded by pseudoscientist Charles W. Humble to market his CVSA device and operator training, is not generally publicly available. A declaration prepared on behalf of NITV by certified public accountant Kevin R. Foyteck includes (at Appendix B) quantitative historical data on NITV’s revenue and customer base. Using Foyteck’s data, AntiPolygraph.org has prepared charts of NITV’s revenue and sales.
The data show that between 2015 and 2018, NITV’s revenue remained flat at an average of U.S. $1,710,251 per annum:
The data also show that NITV has had difficulty finding new customers, with the number of new customers per year steadily declining since 2011. It would appear that the market for bogus voice-based lie detectors is approaching its saturation point:
At this time, Dektor’s website (www.dektorpse.com) is offline, and Dektor and its sole proprietor, Arthur Herring III, remain under a permanent injunction essentially enjoining them from communicating any information critical of NITV, its CVSA product, or its founder, Charles Humble, to anyone.
In 2011, AntiPolygraph.org reported that a consortium of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies had created a “Polygraph Law Enforcement Accreditation” (PLEA) program and had in 2010 promulgated a 65-page “Polygraph Guide for Standards and Practices,” a copy of which we obtained and published (1.9 MB PDF).
The PLEA consortium continues to function and by 2018 included the Greenville, South Carolina Police Department, the Houston Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the North Carolina Bureau of Investigations, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Virginia State Police, and a federal representative from the National Center for Credibility Assessment.
AntiPolygraph.org has obtained a newer, 78-page copy (1 MB PDF) of the PLEA Polygraph Guide for Standards and Practices dated 25 October 2018. Like the 2010 edition, it is marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive” on each page, with an additional caveat: “Do Not Copy.” Oh well.
The 2018 edition of the guide includes three new chapters covering, respectively, the Directed Lie Comparison Test (Ch. 11), the Directed Lie Screening Test (Ch. 12), and the Concealed Information Test (Ch. 13).
AntiPolygraph.org has obtained an unredacted copy of the regulation governing the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA’s) polygraph program. The document, marked “For Official Use Only” and titled “Credibility Assessment Program” is DIA Instruction 5200.002 dated 3 July 2014. Of special note is Section 4.22, which seemingly provides for the possible removal of DIA personnel based solely on failure to pass a polygraph screening “test.”
To our knowledge, this policy document has not previously been made public.
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. AntiPolygraph.org 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 AntiPolygraph.org’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.
Jan 15 13:18:05 <John> i'm reading this: https://antipolygraph.org/lie-behind-the-lie-detector.pdf 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> https://cryptm.org/data/shows/Bullshit!/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:
On Tuesday, 10 December 2019, Anca Pennington, 30, of Omaha, Nebraska purchased three bottles of Tylenol, each containing 24 pills, after passing through security at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey. She then proceeded to a restroom stall, swallowed all of the pills, and laid down to die.
Earlier that day Pennington, a single mother of four, had appeared on the set of the Comcast-owned, NBCUniversal Television Distribution-produced Steve Wilkos Show in Stamford, Connecticut, where host Steve Wilkos had announced that she had miserably failed a polygraph test regarding whether she had burned her infant daughter with cigarettes. The show’s in-house polygraph operator, Daniel D. Ribacoff, had come on stage to support his polygraph results.
Ribacoff, a member of the American Polygraph Association, has previously claimed on the show, “We have tests that are 99.4% accurate, which is way more accurate than most medical tests, and way more accurate than any jury trial.”
And in a 2016 Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread, in response to a question Steve Wilkos averred, “The lie detector tests are like 99% accurate.”
In fact, however, polygraph “testing” has not been shown through peer-reviewed research to reliably work at better-than-chance levels of accuracy under field conditions. Alan P. Zelicoff and Steven E. Rigdon have conducted a peer-reviewed statistical analysis of the best available field studies of polygraphy. Based on that analysis, Dr. Zelicoff opines that “if a subject fails a polygraph, the probability that she is, in fact, being deceptive is little more than chance alone; that is, one could flip a coin and get virtually the same result for a positive test based on the published data.”
As Pennington recalls, Wilkos told her on stage that she was disgusting, that she was never going to see her kids again, and that she was going to go to jail. The audience booed her.
Pennington recounts that she had looked up to Steve Wilkos as a father figure and had never questioned polygraphs. Afraid that no one would believe her and that she would lose her children, Pennington made the decision to end her life during the ride to the airport for her flight home, writing a suicide note on the sheet of paper with her flight information that was given to her by the show’s producers.
Lying on the airport restroom stall floor after consuming the Tylenol, whose active ingredient, acetaminophen, can cause fatal liver damage in sufficiently large doses, Pennington began to feel warm, and her heart started racing. She became scared, thought of her children, and called 911. An ambulance came. After nearly a week of hospitalization, she was released and returned home to Omaha, having escaped any permanent liver damage.
While in hospital, Pennington showed nurses pictures of lesions on her infant daughter’s leg: lesions that she had suspected were pinch marks or cigarette burns inflicted by the daughter’s father, who had left them, or by the father’s new girlfriend, both of whom also appeared as guests on The Steve Wilkos Show and passed polygraphs. As Pennington recalls, the nurses immediately recognized the lesions as ringworm, a common fungal infection that is easily treated.
Later in December 2019, lesions reappeared on the infant’s leg, and a medical examination confirmed a ringworm infection, for which clotrimazole, an antifungal medication, was prescribed.
Before contacting The Steve Wilkos Show, Pennington had also contacted the Nebraska Division of Family Services regarding her suspicion that her daughter had been abused. In a letter dated 3 December 2019, a full week before her appearance on the show, but which Pennington states she received only after her return to Omaha, Children and Family Services specialist Nicole Powers reported, “Based on the information obtained during this investigation, it has been determined that the allegation will be listed as ‘Unfounded.'”
Pennington reports that on Wednesday, 22 January 2020, The Steve Wilkos Show contacted her and told her that the episode in which she appeared will air in February. Pennington stated that she was “devastated and traumatized.”
AntiPolygraph.org has written to Steve Wilkos Show producer Jillian Calandra, who coordinated Pennington’s appearance on the show, and polygraph operator Daniel Ribacoff seeking comment. At the time of writing, no replies have been received.
In May 2019, the long-running British tabloid television program The Jeremy Kyle Show, which bears similarities to The Steve Wilkos Show, was abruptly canceled after Steve Dymond, who “failed” a polygraph “test” conducted for the show, committed suicide.
In December 2019, Pennington shared her story in a series of video clips that AntiPolygraph.org has assembled as a YouTube playlist:
Update (28 January 2020): On 26 January 2020, The Steve Wilkos Show released a 30-second video clip titled “THE COLD HARD TRUTH…ALL NEW…ALL FEBRUARY LONG!” with snippets of episodes to be aired in February 2020:
At 22 seconds into the video, a few seconds of the as-yet-unaired episode in which Anca Pennington appeared are shown. Steve Wilkos is seen gesticulating at her and shouting, “You’re the one burning your children!”
Pennington replies, “I did not do that!”
The Steve Wilkos Show‘s apparent decision to air this episode, despite compelling evidence that no one burned her child, may be explained by the fact that February 2020 is a Nielsen “sweeps” period during which audience measurements are taken.
AntiPolygraph.org’s inquiries to Steve Wilkos Show producer Jillian Calandra and polygraph operator Daniel D. Ribacoff remain unanswered.
On 27 July 2018, the so-named National Institute of Truth Verification (NITV) of West Palm Beach, Florida, which markets a scientifically baseless “lie detector” called the Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) filed a federal lawsuit against the marketer of a rival pseudoscientific voice based lie detector, Dektor Corporation, and its sole proprietor, Arthur Herring III of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania.
NITV alleged “false advertisement, unfair competition, and product disparagement under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)” and “deceptive and unfair trade practices under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act” and originally sought a total of $4,080,000 in claimed damages. NITV later increased its total claim to $17,871,977.36.
Dektor and Herring, who ultimately proceeded pro se, failed to timely file responses to pleadings in the lawsuit, and the court, which also found that Herring committed “substantial discovery violations,” ultimately entered default judgments against both Dektor and Herring personally.
On Monday, 16 December 2019, the court issued its final judgment, ordering Dektor and Herring to pay NITV $424,673.96 in base damages, which was doubled to $849,347.92 “in light of Defendants’ willful violation of the Lanham Act, misuse of the internet to convey materially disparaging information about Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s product, and discovery misconduct leading to an additional unknown amount of actual damages.”
The final order includes a permanent injunction essentially prohibiting Dektor and Herring from communicating any information critical of NITV, its CVSA product, or its founder, Charles Humble, to anyone.
As previously reported on AntiPolygraph.org, an earlier default judgment in the case ordered, among other things, that Herring remove from the internet a website with content critical of NITV that Herring had created. Much of the content of that website was nonetheless substantially true, and a mirror of the banned website remains available online via Archive.org’s Wayback Machine.
The “Test for Espionage and Sabotage” is the primary counterintelligence-scope polygraph screening format employed by the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy. The procedure is described in detail in a 2016 National Center for Credibility Assessment administration guide (1.2 MB PDF) obtained by AntiPolygraph.org.
The guide, marked “For Official Use Only,” sets forth the relevant, “control”/comparison, and irrelevant questions asked. Appendix A (“Scoping Guide for Relevant Questions”) provides detailed information about the topics covered by the relevant questions.
Topics that are off-limits (“unless these issues are revealed by the examinee as having relevance to responses or admissions made in connection with counterintelligence questions posed during the examination”) include:
Religious beliefs or affiliations
Beliefs and opinions regarding racial matters
Political beliefs and affiliations
Opinions regarding the constitutionality of legislative policy
Use of drugs or alcohol (except for purposes of assessing suitability)
Affiliation with labor unions
In other words, if the examinee doesn’t bring up these topics, the polygraph operator is not supposed to do so. AntiPolygraph.org has nonetheless heard reports of some polygraph operators ignoring these restrictions, and we invite any readers with knowledge of such practices to privately contact us.
Appendix F (“TES Outline”) will be of special interest, as it provides the basic script for conduct of the Test for Espionage and Sabotage. It is essentially a synopsis of the entire monkey drill.
There is no documented instance of the Test for Espionage and Sabotage ever catching a spy or saboteur.
The polygraph community is quite concerned about polygraphy’s vulnerability to simple, effective countermeasures that they cannot detect, and the TES therefore includes a “Countermeasures statement,” which the guide explains thus:
10.2. Countermeasures statement: It is important to provide some form of countermeasures statement to make the examinee aware that non-cooperation or deliberate efforts to influence testing will adversely affect the examination process. There are a number of approaches to this issue. The following is one such approach:
10.2.1. “It is not uncommon for people who have to take a polygraph examination to research information on the topic. Often, they come across sites or read articles that suggest they have to perform some activity to help them through their polygraph examination. Such sites and articles often provide bogus information. In fact, when people attempt to influence the outcome of their polygraph examination in various ways, such activity reveals that they have abdicated their responsibility to tell the truth and are being non-cooperative. Can I count on you not to involve yourself in such activity?”
It is ironic (and hypocritical) for polygraph operators, whose techniques require that they lie to and attempt to deceive those whom they “test,” to speak of any “responsibility to tell the truth.” For discussion of the trickery behind the Test for Espionage and Sabotage, see AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke’s article, “The Lying Game: National Security and the Test for Espionage and Sabotage.”
Those who wish to learn more about polygraphy’s scientific shortcomings—and what can be done to mitigate the risk of a false positive outcome—will want to download a copy of AntiPolygraph.org’s free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.
AntiPolygraph.org has obtained a copy of the National Center for Credibility Assessment’s documentation of the polygraph screening technique “used by federal law enforcement agencies during the pre-employment process.”
The 23-page document, dated 3 March 2016, provides instructions for administration of the so-called “Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test” (LEPET), to which applicants for employment with such agencies as the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Secret Service are subjected.
In 2004, AntiPolygraph.org published an earlier version of this document, dated January 2002, which remains available. The LEPET manual has changed little since this earlier version.
When we first published this document, then recently retired FBI supervisory special agent, scientist, and polygraph expert Drew Campbell Richardson observed regarding it:
This is more or less THE SCRIPT for what you will see and what you will hear. You will see the order, even the very language and characterizations of the foolishness that we have come to know as polygraph screening. This document is sufficiently important that it requires your careful attention and then your careful attention again.
The LEPET manual will remain of great interest to anyone seeking employment with a federal law enforcement agency with a polygraph screening requirement.
AntiPolygraph.org has received a rather unpleasant letter from James D’Loughy, a lawyer representing NITV Federal Services, LLC (NITV), which markets a scientifically baseless voice-based lie detector called the “Computer Voice Stress Analyzer,” and its president, self-described “Renaissance Man” “Dr.” Charles Humble (who has not received a doctoral degree from any accredited institute of higher education).
AntiPolygraph.org is a non-profit, public interest website dedicated to exposing and ending waste, fraud, and abuse associated with polygraphs and other pseudoscientific “lie detectors,” including voice stress analyzers.
NITV’s contention that its judgment against Dektor binds AntiPolygraph.org is absurd. Through our counsel, noted attorney (and former Westchester County, New York police commissioner) George N. Longworth of the law firm Grant & Longworth, we have declined NITV’s demand to remove the twelve links.
While NITV’s demand is without merit, it does serve to highlight the content on AntiPolygraph.org that most upsets NITV and “Dr.” Charles Humble, so it’s worth examining these links here:
AntiPolygraph.org has published a set of documents concerning the San Diego Police Department’s polygraph practices. These documents, which date to 2017, focus primarily on pre-employment polygraph screening.
“DLST” stands for “directed-lie screening test.” Directed-lie “control” questions are ones in response to which the examinee is told to “lie,” unlike probable-lie “control” questions, in which the operator attempts to manipulate the examinee into lying. For more on directed-lie “control” questions, see Chapter 3 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (beginning at p. 107 of the 5th edition).
The pre-employment script shows that the “test” consists of a “Subtest A” and a “Subtest B.” The relevant questions on Subtest A are:
R1 As an adult, have you received any (other) formal discipline at work?
R2 As an adult / In the last 10 years, have you had any (other) personal involvement with illegal drugs?
There is also an unscored “sacrifice relevant” question:
SR Do you intend to answer the formal discipline and drug involvement questions truthfully?
The directed-lie “control” questions are:
C1 Did you ever lose your temper?
C2 Did you ever violate a minor traffic law?
There are also two irrelevant, or in SDPD’s parlance, “neutral” questions. These are not scored:
N1 Are you now in San Diego?
N2 Are the lights on?
Subtest B includes the following relevant questions:
R3 Have you ever committed any (other) serious crime?
R4 Have you ever committed any (other) sex crime?
The sacrifice relevant question for Subtest B is:
SR Do you intend to answer the “serious crime” and “sex crime” questions truthfully?
The directed-lie “control” questions for Subtest B are:
C3 Did you ever say anything about someone that wasn’t true?
C4 Did you ever violate a rule or regulation?
And finally, the irrelevant questions for Subtest B are:
It should be borne in mind that polygraphy has no scientific basis, and it is common for truthful people to wrongly be branded as liars. If you are facing a polygraph “test,” be it with the San Diego Police Department or any other agency, be sure to download a copy of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector for more on polygraphy’s scientific shortcomings, the simplistic methodology on which it relies, and pointers on what you can do to mitigate the risk of wrongly failing when you’re telling the truth.