Polygraph Screening Sidelined Dozens of Afghan Interior Ministry Officers

U.S. embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan

AntiPolygraph.org has previously reported and commented on U.S. government efforts to foist the pseudoscience of polygraphy on other countries and on local employees at U.S. diplomatic facilities. For example:

Now, for the first time, a victim of such efforts has publicly shared his story with AntiPolygraph.org. An officer in the Afghan Ministry of the Interior who specialized in anti-corruption eforts relates, among other things, how he and some 40 of his colleagues had their careers arbitrarily sidelined in 2018 when they were required to submit to polygraph screening conducted at the U.S. embassy in Kabul. His statement helps to document the ongoing harm caused by America’s stubborn reliance on this pseudoscience. See the Polygraph Statement of Sherzai Sulimany.

Enduring Freedom? ISAF Deletes Criticism of U.S. Government’s Handheld Lie Detector

On Tuesday, 14 May 2013, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan posted to its Facebook page a story about a program whereby U.S. forces in Afghanistan have been training Afghans in the use of a handheld “lie detector,” the Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System (PCASS)  developed by the National Center for Credibility Assessment at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina:

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 7.57.06 AM

As you see above, AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke posted two comments and relevant links regarding PCASS that same day. By the following day, ISAF had deleted those comments:

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The deleted comments included a link to the AntiPolygraph.org message board post, “How to Beat the Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System (PCASS)” and to the YouTube video post, Warning to U.S. Troops on Hand-held Lie Detector:

Why did ISAF delete these comments? ISAF’s Facebook page provides the following commenting guidelines:

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Nothing in the deleted comments included profanity, sexual content, hate speech or commercial, overly graphic, disturbing, abusive or offensive material, or was off-topic. ISAF’s censorship of critical commentary bespeaks an authoritarian mindset inconsistent with the “freedom” that NATO purports to be bringing to Afghanistan.

Afghan President’s Half-Brother Volunteered to Take Polygraph Test

Ahmad Wali Karzai

Who’s afraid of a polygraph test? Not Afghanistan’s most notorious reputed drug lord, who is on the CIA payroll.

Jeff Stein reports in his Washington Post SpyTalk column that a secret State Department cable recently published by Wikileaks reveals that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, wanted a polygraph test to clear himself of narcotics allegations. The relevant paragraph of the cable, dated 25 February 2010, is this:

Drug Trafficker: Where is the Polygraph?
—————————————-
¶7. (S//Rel NATO, ISAF) Unprompted, [Ahmad Wali Karzai] raised allegations of his involvement in narcotics, telling the [U.S. Senior Civilian Representative Frank Ruggiero] that he is
willing to take a polygraph anytime, anywhere to prove his
innocence and that he has hired an attorney in New York to
clear his name.  He suggested that the coalition pay mullahs
to preach against heroin, which would reduce demand for poppy
cultivation.  AWK dismissed the narcotics allegations as part
of a campaign to discredit him, particularly by the media,
saying the allegations are “like a spice added to a dish to
make it more enticing to eat.”

The document does not indicate whether the United States government took Karzai up on the offer. That Karzai, reputedly the wealthiest narcotics trafficker in Afghanistan, is not afraid of a polygraph “test” about whether he is involved in narcotics trafficking should give the U.S. Government pause about its continued reliance on polygraphy, which has no scientific basis and is vulnerable to simple countermeasures that anyone can learn.

Perhaps this Afghan drug lord on the CIA payroll understands more about polygraphy than the CIA does.

Special Forces Reportedly Using CVSA in Iraq, Afghanistan

A report about Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) on the website of Central Ohio television station WBNS (“Tool Catches Fibbing Suspects”) concludes by mentioning that the Special Forces are using CVSA to interrogate suspected terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. The entire report is reproduced here:

More and more police departments in Ohio are turning to technology used in war zones to question suspected terrorists and to determine if someone is telling the truth.

Critics call it “junk science,” but a central Ohio detective swears it turns suspects into confessors.

When Detective Dave King walks into an interrogation room, he brings a secret weapon. It’s a computer that measures stress in a person’s voice.

Detective King says the computer never lies. “These computers are now used in more than 140 Ohio police departments. At $10,000 a piece, they are actually a cost saver to departments that can’t afford a full time polygraph unit,” says King.

Critics say the voice stress computer is junk science and officers are using trickery to gain confessions.

10-TV Reporter Kevin Landers put the computer to a test.

Detective King hooked a microphone to him, and answered two questions. One question he answered truthfully and one with a lie. King says the results from the machine tell him when Kevin is lying.

King says, “There have been times when people come in and I totally bought their story.”

Then he turns the machine on.

“Had it not been for CVSA, I, and other investigators, would have believed what they told us and they would have gotten away with it,” says King.

Voice stress analyzers are also in use in Iraq and Afghanistan. Special Forces units use them to interrogate suspected terrorists.

The critics who call CVSA junk science are supported by the National Institute of Truth Verification (the company that peddles CVSA) itself, which has reportedly acknowledged in a court filing that CVSA “is not capable of lie detection.”

That the U.S. Government is relying on the junk science of voice stress analysis to interrogate suspected terrorists is corroborated by the testimony of a former Guantanamo detainee. See the AntiPolygraph.org discussion thread, Polygraph & Voice Stress Test Relied on at Gitmo.