“Police Look for Liars at City Hall”

Annette Phillips reports for the Kingston Whig-Standard of Kingston, Ontario, Canada regarding a polygraph dragnet at City Hall. Excerpt:

Local News – Councillor Don Rogers says he will not take a lie-detector test to help police trace the leak of a confidential council document.

“I find the idea of being subjected to a lie-detector test truly offensive,” Rogers said yesterday.

“I have co-operated with the police investigation, but I will absolutely not, under any circumstances, in any investigation, take a lie-detector test.”

The Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets squad is continuing its investigation into how documents from an Oct. 9 in-camera council meeting were leaked to The Whig-Standard.

Council authorized Mayor Isabel Turner to launch a probe into the leak. The mayor handed the investigation over to police, who are questioning councillors and asking for fingerprints and lie-detector tests.

Rogers said he was asked to attend an interview with OPP officers last week, at which time he was asked to submit to the polygraph machine.

He took a lawyer to the meeting, found out that he was not legally required to take the lie-detector test, and refused to do so.

He acknowledges that some might perceive his actions as those of a guilty man.

“I would certainly hope the public would perceive me as a councillor who is not going to permit his civil liberties to be eroded,” Rogers said.

“Polygraph Says DiCicco Told Truth”

Mark McDonald reports for the Philadelphia Daily News. Excerpt:

AFTER AN inconclusive result on his first lie-detector test of the day, City Councilman Frank DiCicco late last night passed a second test, giving weight to his allegation that colleague Rick Mariano made an ethnic slur against Irish-Americans.

Mariano, refusing to submit to a polygraph himself, has steadfastly maintained that he never labeled Irish-American residents in Kensington’s 31st ward as “trailer-park Irish trash.”

A two-term Democrat, Mariano said that he’s half Irish-American and a member of an Irish fraternal organization, and that he would never make such a crack.

But DiCicco’s test results, according to examiners, suggest that his recollection of the meeting during which Mariano allegedly made the comment was accurate and that Mariano, who has put his foot in his mouth on many occasions in the past, made the comment.

DiCicco, who has been warring with Mariano’s patron, Electrician’s Local 98 boss John Dougherty, said that Mariano uttered the comment during a Dec. 20 meeting with him, Mayor Street and Councilman Darrell Clarke.

Wearily emerging from the Locust Street office of Keystone Intelligence Network after the second test, DiCicco said: “It is grueling, but your life and reputation is in the hands of a machine. I know he said it and people can now decide.”

He urged Mariano to take a polygraph to put the issue to rest. But upon hearing that DiCicco passed the test, Mariano reacted testily.

“It doesn’t say I’m lying, because I didn’t take a lie-detector test,” Mariano said. “It says he thinks he’s telling the truth. Make sure that gets in there.”

Nathan Gordon, the polygrapher who tested DiCicco, said flatly, “I think he’s telling the truth.”

Nathan Gordon’s opinion may be right (or wrong), but it has no scientific basis, and the Philadelphia Daily News’ decision to sponsor this polygraph “test” and make a front page story of it is a shameless exercise in yellow journalism.

“Philadelphia Councilman Takes Second Polygraph Test”

WPVI.com provides an Associated Press report on Philadelphia Councilman Frank DiCicco’s polygraph examination as well as a RealPlayer video file with reporter Dann Cuellar’s news story. Excerpt from the Associated Press report:

PHILADELPHIA – February 19, 2002 –

Maybe Frank DiCicco should start raising campaign funds on ABC’s “The Chair.” DiCicco, a Philadelphia councilman, seems to relish high-pressure test questions with the glare of TV cameras, money on the line and a few electrodes thrown in for fun.

“I may be changing my position on capital punishment,” DiCicco joked as a private investigator strapped wires to his chest and hands in preparation for a lie-detector test Tuesday that was sponsored by the Philadelphia Daily News.

DiCicco had put himself on the hot seat, so to speak, by alleging that a rival on council insulted Irish-Americans in a closed-door meeting over redistricting. Results of the first lie detector were inconclusive, but the test was taken again on Tuesday night and showed DiCicco was telling the truth, according to the paper.

The alleged speaker, who is half-Irish, denied debasing his people. “It never happened,” Richard Mariano said. “I got my way on redistricting and he didn’t.”

The results from the second test taken late Tuesday night showed that DiCicco had been telling the truth, said Kurt Heine, the newspaper’s city editor. “Now we know he’s telling the truth,” Heine said.

“Feuding Phila. Council Members: ‘Sez You!'”

Tony Romeo reports for KYW news radio. This short article from the KYW website is cited here in full:

Results are inconclusive following a lie detector test administered to a Philadelphia city councilman who accused another councilman of an ethnic slur

The spat between First District councilman Frank DiCicco and Seventh District councilman Richard Mariano stems from the bitter dispute over council redistricting.

In a December meeting in Mayor Street’s office, DiCicco alleges that Mariano called some residents of Kensington’s 31st ward “trailer park Irish trash.” Mariano denies it.

Enter the Daily News. A la mayor Frank Rizzo in 1973, the paper arranged for DiCicco to take a polygraph test.

But the results of the test are inconclusive. City editor Kurt Heine says the polygraph operator asked the operative question three different ways:

“In this case, each time he asked the question, the results stayed in a range that were inconclusive. It didn’t go the positive or the negative that would allow him to make a conclusion.”

But it’s not over yet. Heine says DiCicco has agreed to another polygraph test.

“No Lie, DiCicco’s Taking a Polygraph”

Mark McDonald reports for the Philadelphia Daily News. Excerpt:

DID CITY Councilman Rick Mariano refer to residents of Irish descent in the 31st Ward in Kensington as “trailer-park Irish trash?”

Councilman Frank DiCicco is so sure of it, he’s taking a Daily News-sponsored lie-detector test today to prove it.

DiCicco says Mariano made the remark during a meeting with Mayor Street, Councilman Darrell Clarke and others.

Mariano denies it. Clarke says he never heard the comment. A mayoral source said Street had not heard the comment either.

Still, DiCicco is so sure of himself that he’ll be strapped to a polygraph today. The test will be administered by Nate Gordon of the Keystone Intelligence Network.

“Jordanian Testifies About Alleged Abuse in Sept. 11 Probe”

Chicago Tribune national correspondent Evan Osnos reports on the pre-trial testimony of Osama Awadallah, who faces federal perjury charges. Excerpt:

Awadallah, a permanent U.S. resident whose trial is set to begin May 20, testified that the government’s intimidation began with his earliest conversations with the FBI on Sept. 20, when, he said, 15 to 20 agents pressured him into an interview at FBI offices without an attorney. The following morning, he said, authorities also dissuaded him from bringing an attorney to a polygraph test.

The agent said, “`Look, you don’t need your lawyer. It’s going to be a short test,'” said Awadallah, a college student. “`You are going to take it and go back to your home and we won’t bother you anymore.'”

In earlier testimony, several FBI agents had estimated the total number of FBI and local police officials to be less than 10 at the time of Awadallah’s initial contact. They also testified that they repeatedly told Awadallah he was not under arrest.

After the polygraph test on Sept. 21, Awadallah said, agents told him he had lied on a question that indicated prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 plot.

“They told me, `You did it. You are one of the terrorists,'” Awadallah said during questioning by his attorney Jesse Berman.

Polygraph “testing” is often little more than a cynical ploy to interrogate a suspect without the benefit of legal counsel, as seems to have been the case here. The suspect is deliberately misled into believing that he is simply agreeing to submit to a scientific test, but is surprised with a hostile interrogation after being informed that he “failed” the “test.”

“Strip-Search Jordanian: FBI Trampled My Rights”

William R. Gorta reports for the New York Post. Excerpt:

February 19, 2002 — A Jordanian charged with lying to a grand jury recited to a federal judge a list of alleged law-enforcement abuses at his pre-trial evidence-suppression hearing yesterday.

Osama Awadallah, 21, said he was physically abused by jail guards, denied access to a lawyer, forced to strip in front of women and denied food that complied with Islamic dietary laws.

He testified he was stopped on Sept. 21, 2001, by FBI agents outside his home in San Diego and questioned for several hours. He said he was allowed to return home that night after agreeing to a lie-detector test the next morning.

But when he tried to delay the polygraph until he could speak to a lawyer, agents told him [that] would mean he was hiding something and he would be arrested after they obtained a warrant, Awadallah testified.

“I find there is no choice but to take the test,” said Awadallah, who was informed by the FBI polygraph expert he failed the test. “I felt threatened and under great stress.”

“Jordanian Student Testifies in Court”

Associated Press correspondent Larry Neumeister reports on Osama Awadallah’s courtroom testimony. Excerpt:

NEW YORK (AP) – A Jordanian student testified Monday that FBI agents accused him of being one of the Sept. 11 terrorists after saying he failed a lie detector test.

Osama Awadallah, 21, said agents told him he would be freed but after he’d completed a voluntary polygraph test Sept. 21, they said it proved he’d lied and had advance knowledge of the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center .

“`You did it. You were one of the terrorists,”‘ Awadallah said he was told by one agent. “`You knew they were going to do it.”‘

The student at Grossmont College, in El Cajon, Calif., who is free on $500,000 bail, said he denied being a terrorist and responded: “I tell the truth all the time.”

On Saturday, FBI polygrapher J. Antonio Falcon testified that the results of Awadallah’s polygraph examination “appeared to be consistent with deception.”

When FBI polygrapher J. Antonio Falcon testified that Awadallah’s polygraph examination “appeared to be consistent with deception,” he made a claim that has no scientific basis. Because polygraphy lacks both standardization and control, it can have no validity or diagnostic value.

“FBI Agent Says Jordanian Student Was Deceptive”

Associated Press correspondent Frank Eltman reports on the case of Osama Awadallah, who faces perjury charges stemming at least in part from an FBI polygraph interrogation. Excerpt:

NEW YORK (AP) – An FBI agent testified Saturday that a Jordanian student with alleged links to two of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers was deceptive during a polygraph examination that was given before his arrest.

Osama Awadallah voluntarily took the polygraph test while being questioned by FBI agents over a two-day period in September, agent Frank Teixiera said in federal court.

“He stated that he was quite certain that he would pass the polygraph,” Teixiera said.

But Awadallah’s answers about whether he had any knowledge of people planning to commit acts against the United States , or whether he had any knowledge about anyone planning the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, led agents to believe there were “inconsistencies and discrepancies” in Awadallah’s story, Teixiera said.

Also Saturday, FBI polygrapher J. Antonio Falcon said the results of Awadallah’s polygraph examination “appeared to be consistent with deception.”

Falcon said he administered the polygraph to Awadallah, who had read and signed a release for the examination and a list of his Miranda rights. The tone of the FBI’s interactions with Awadallah turned from cooperative to combative after the polygraph examination, Falcon said.

The testimony came on the second day of a hearing on whether evidence against Awadallah should be thrown out.

Awadallah, 21, a student at Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif., is charged with twice lying to a grand jury in New York . If convicted, he could get 10 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ordered the evidentiary hearing after suggesting last month that Awadallah “may have been the victim of coercion and intimidation.”

Alabama Governor Seeks Polygraph “Testing” of State, Federal Prosecutors

Tom Gordon reports for the Alabama News in an article titled, “Siegelman hires criminal lawyer.” Excerpt:

Gov. Don Siegelman has hired a prominent Birmingham criminal defense lawyer to investigate who leaked information about subpoenas issued for the governor’s personal financial records.

David Cromwell Johnson, who represented former Gov. Jim Folsom eight years ago in an ethics investigation, on Friday suggested, but stopped short of charging, that leaks could have come from the offices of Republican Attorney General Bill Pryor and Montgomery U.S. Attorney Leura Canary. Canary and Pryor’s offices have been investigating no-bid contracts issued by the Siegelman administration.

The Birmingham News reported Sunday that state and federal prosecutors have subpoenaed the governor’s financial records.

Johnson mailed letters Friday asking Pryor and Canary to investigate possible leaks in their offices and to give polygraph tests to all members of their staffs.