“White House Won’t Rule Out Polygraphs”

CNN reports. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The White House pledged full cooperation Wednesday with a Justice Department probe into the leak of a CIA operative’s name and has followed proper procedures so far, a spokesman told reporters Wednesday.

Press secretary Scott McClellan strongly intimated that President Bush would expect White House aides to take polygraph examinations if the Justice Department asked for them.

“Full cooperation is full cooperation,” McClellan said.

All White House employees have been instructed to preserve documents dating to February 2002 that could be relevant to the investigation.

“Is . . . John Ashcroft Willing to Ask Karl Rove to Submit to a Polygraph?”

As reported by Wayne Washington of the Boston Globe in an article titled, “US Begins criminal probe of CIA leak,” Senator Dick Durbin raised the question on the floor of the U.S. Senate in the context of the Justice Department investigation into who leaked Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA employee:

Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, described how FBI agents, at the behest of the Bush administration, asked that he submit to a lie detector test to help them uncover who leaked classified information that had been provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which Durbin is a member.

He argued that the Justice Department won’t be as aggressive in pursuing White House officials. “Is . . . John Ashcroft willing to ask Karl Rove to submit to a polygraph?” Durbin asked.

South Africa: “IFP Resorts to Lie Detectors”

Jaspreet Kindra reports for the Mail and Guardian. Excerpt:

The Inkatha Freedom Party apparently wants to subject its national council members to a lie detector test to establish whether they have leaked confidential information to the media and other organisations.

The IFP’s intentions were disclosed at its council meeting during the party’s national conference in Ulundi two weeks ago, the Mail & Guardian has established.

The M&G has learnt that the IFP had engaged the services of Durban-based company LieTech to conduct the tests, and the company had already started doing some work for the party.

National council members at the conference were asked to fill in a questionnaire prepared by the company. Among the questions were:

  • “Will you be willing to undergo a lie detector test?”
  • “Have you ever leaked National Council minutes?”
  • “Have you ever leaked the speech of our president, Prince MG Buthelezi?”
  • “Who do you suspect is the mole within our party?”
  • “What must happen to the mole? Must he be suspended from the party?”

The IFP’s national organiser, Albert Mncwango, said he was not aware that the party had hired the services of a lie detecting concern, nor had he filled in any questionnaire.

He said, however, that the party had the “right to do whatever it takes to beef up its internal security”.

LieTech’s Ben Lombaard said he could neither confirm nor deny that the IFP had hired the services of his company. “We respect our client’s confidentiality,” he said.

The IFP’s lie detector tests come shortly after the M&G revealed that the party was plotting to use taxpayers’ money to enhance the profile of its provincial ministers and to weaken the African National Congress ahead of the 2004 elections.

“Irondale Officials Want Answers”

Birmingham Post-Herald reporter Taylor Bright covers the developing scandal in Irondale, Alabama, whose mayor had sought polygraph testing at city hall in an attempt to find a whistleblower. Excerpt:

Two Irondale City Council members want some answers — and perhaps an investigation into their own Police Department.

Councilman Simpson Berry said he has received many inquiries from Irondale residents after questions were raised about an incident in which police say they found a city councilman’s son with 3 pounds of what officers believed was marijuana. The 19-year-old son has never been charged in the incident, police and court documents show.

Berry, who said the city of Irondale also is being portrayed in a bad light on local talk radio stations, said he wants to put an end to the controversy by getting some questions answered.

“We want the public to have correct information, and we want the correct information,” Berry said Thursday. “Sometimes we can be blinded.”

Berry and Councilman Jack Boone called a public meeting for 4 p.m. today to discuss bringing in an outside person to investigate the Police Department.

“There might be some things we all need to know and possibly consider bringing some additional experts in to look at this whole affair,” Berry said.

“Just from the council, city attorney and the mayor, we need some other people to come in … and suggest to us some things that we can do and some things we should have done,” Berry said. “Maybe some of us are a little too close to the situation.”

The controversy centers on a police report detailing how police stopped Matthew Chandler Jackson, son of Irondale Councilman Ray Jackson, on April 28 and found three gallon-size bags of a substance believed to be marijuana in his car.

Matt Jackson was never charged with a crime nor booked into Irondale jail for the incident. The Jefferson County district attorney’s office is investigating whether a charge should have been brought.

Irondale city attorney Greg Morris declined to comment on the meeting or the councilmen’s request for an investigation.

Boone and Berry also said they want to find out whether the City Council was informed adequately about a request made by the Birmingham Post-Herald to see the police report. City officials made the report public after first giving an array of answers why the Post-Herald couldn’t see it.

“We can let the public know we are credible people; we’re not trying to hide anything and we want the truth,” Berry said.

Berry also said he wanted to discuss the demand by Mayor Allen Ramsey that city employees take lie-detector tests after a copy of the police report was leaked to the media, which led to the Jackson incident coming to light. Ramsey wanted polygraph tests to find out who released the report. He since has relented from the demand.

For discussion of this story, see the AntiPolygraph.org message board thread, Irondale, Alabama Mayor Orders Polygraph Dragnet at City Hall.

“Investigation Continues into Leak”

Birmingham News staff writer Anita Debro reports on the scandal in the Irondale, Alabama city government. Excerpt:

Irondale officials remained tight-lipped Monday about an investigation into the police department and who may have leaked information about a drug case involving a city councilman’s son.

Irondale’s Public Safety Committee, charged with handling the internal investigation into who leaked information about the drug investigation, has yet to interview any employees or ask any to take a polygraph test as Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey had suggested.

Ramsey requested last week that City Hall employees be interviewed and given a polygraph test if necessary to find out who gave a police report about the drug investigation to radio talk show hosts Russ and Dee Fine.

City Attorney Greg Morris said no polygraph tests are scheduled for the near future. He denied published reports that the committee has backed off giving the lie detector tests altogether.

“We may have to (ask for a polygraph), but we may not have to,” he said. “We are just in the fact-finding stage.”

Before Ramsey turned the investigation over to the committee, several police officers had already submitted to the polygraph tests, including acting Police Chief Norman Stapp.

Irondale Polygraph Inquisition Shelved

In an article titled, “Councilman’s son faces jail term,” Birmingham Post-Herald reporter Taylor Bright writes that Irondale, AL mayor Allen Ramsey’s planned polygraph dragnet at city hall has been put on hold, and that the mayor himself is now under investigation.

The son of an Irondale city councilman is expected to be sentenced to prison today, but not for a police incident that led to the city’s mayor demanding polygraph tests of employees.

Matthew C. Jackson, 19, son of Irondale Councilman Ray Jackson, pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery and is expected to be sentenced to the St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, according to court records. Jackson was charged with robbing a Domino’s Pizza in Leeds and CVS Pharmacy in Trussville in March 2002. Both counts are felonies.

According to records in the Jefferson County criminal clerk’s office, Circuit Judge James Hard is expected to sentence Matt Jackson to 20 years, of which three will be served in St. Clair. He will receive five years’ probation after that, and if he completes the probation without incident, the rest of his sentence will be suspended.

In an unrelated incident, the Jefferson County district attorney’s office has begun an investigation into how the Irondale Police Department handled a case involving Matt Jackson.

“We are looking at whether there was a criminal case or should have been a criminal case, but we’re not interested in the leak of information, as it’s been called,” said Roger Brown, chief deputy district attorney for Jefferson County. Brown declined to name the individuals involved.

According to police reports provided to the Birmingham Post-Herald, Irondale police stopped Matt Jackson in front of his parents’ home, where they found three gallon-size plastic bags containing a substance that appeared to be marijuana.

According to the report, Jackson fled after the discovery, and police pursued for several blocks. Although the report stated “felony warrants are pending,” no charges were filed and there is no record of Jackson being booked into the Irondale Jail for the incident, according to the Irondale Police Department Jail Log.

An unidentified person released the report detailing the incident to morning talk show hosts Russ and Dee Fine at WYDE (101.1 FM).

Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey at first demanded city employees take lie-detector tests to find out who sent out the report, which he called “confidential information.” The city won’t release the report and late last week denied it exists.

The plan for lie-detector tests demanded by Ramsey have been abandoned, said Greg Morris, Irondale city attorney.

“The fact is no other actions are being taken at this point,” Morris said.

Morris said the city would cooperate with the district attorney’s investigation and said Ramsey and Ray Jackson are not involved in any internal investigation led by the City Council Public Safety Committee.

“Because the mayor and Councilman Jackson have been alleged to have been involved in some type of scheme, they have withdrawn from any discussions of this matter with me and or the Public Safety Committee, and that’s probably rightfully so,” Morris said.

Irondale continues has not released the incident report, even though public-records experts say the report is a public record.

“The attorney general has come out with an opinion that the front page (of the police report) is a public record and he said the claim that the rest of the report is not a public record is somewhat specious unless there is some danger in releasing the names like a rape case,” said Ed Mullins, chairman of the journalism department at the University of Alabama.

Late last week, Irondale officials gave varying answers to why the report could not be seen.

The clerk who is in charge of letting the public see reports said the report regarding Jackson could not be seen without going through the mayor or Norman Stapp, the interim Irondale police chief. A sergeant at the station said the records could not be viewed because it’s an “active investigation.”

Stapp later said the records did not exist.

“There’s not an arrest report. I can say that. There’s not one,” Stapp said.

Stapp had no comment when a reporter produced a copy of the police report detailing Matt Jackson’s marijuana incident and deferred to Morris.

“We might should have it, we maybe have it,” Morris said. Morris wouldn’t release any information and demanded that a written request be submitted to him.

Mullins called the demand to file a written request “a harassment.”

“D.A. Targets Irondale: Drug Case Against Official’s Son Probed”

Taylor Bright of the Birmingham Post-Herald reports on the scandal in Irondale, Alabama in which the mayor has ordered wide-ranging polygraph “testing” of municipal employees. Excerpt:

The mayor of Irondale has gone on the offensive to find the person who released a police report naming a city councilman’s son in a marijuana trafficking incident.

Jefferson County District Attorney David Barber is now investigating police handling of the case, according to a published report, and Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey is demanding police officers take lie detector tests to find out who gave the police report to a morning radio talk show.

“We’re looking into it. That’s all I’m going to say,” Barber said.

An Irondale police report names Matt Jackson, 19, son of Councilman Ray Jackson, as the defendant in an April 28 marijuana trafficking incident. Officers found 3 gallon-sized plastic zipper bags of a green, leafy substance “believed to be marijuana” in the car he was driving, according to the police report.

In the report, an Irondale officer wrote that he told an Irondale detective “that the subject (Jackson) was under arrest for possession of marijuana.” The report stated the offense was trafficking marijuana. Marijuana trafficking is a felony offense.

Jackson, according to the report, ran from the officers, who lost him after pursuing him for a few blocks. The report also stated that “felony warrants are pending.”

It was not clear this morning whether Jackson was ever formally charged.

A Jefferson County District Attorney’s office official said today that normally, when someone is arrested for a felony, that person is taken before a judge within 72 hours, and charges and a bond are determined there.

Ramsey said at a City Council meeting Tuesday that the police reports are confidential.

However, Dennis Bailey, an attorney who specializes in freedom-of-information cases and works with the Alabama Press Association, disagrees.

“It should raise questions as to why this individual report was not available to the public except by a whistleblower,” Bailey said.

“By and large these reports are made available to the public and they should be to prevent this situation from happening, i.e., a connected person doesn’t have their report made available while if it were Joe Blow on the street it would be public record for them.”

At the council meeting Tuesday, Ramsey said he wanted to submit city employees to a polygraph test.

None of the Irondale City Council members contacted Wednesday would comment on the police report. Messages left for Irondale Police Chief Norman Stapp were not returned Wednesday.

The district attorney’s investigation began after someone gave Russ and Dee Fine, morning radio hosts at WYDE (101.1 FM), a copy of the arrest report detailing the arrest.

“I think it smells bad. I think it appears as though Ray Jackson’s son is receiving preferential treatment,” Dee Fine said.

Fine said she notified Ramsey, then Barber and the FBI.

She said she was surprised by Ramsey’s reaction to the information she brought him. Instead of launching an investigation into the fact that Matt Jackson had never been charged, Ramsey “circles the wagons,” Fine said.

The plan to use a lie detector on city police officers has Irondale council members divided.

“I’ll be the first one in line to take it,” Councilwoman Sue Miles said.

Miles said she didn’t want to say anything else because of Barber’s investigation.

Other members remain steadfast against the test.

“I’m not in favor of giving the lie detector test,” Councilman Ronald Bagwell said. Bagwell said he wouldn’t take the test.

Councilman Jack Boone said he wouldn’t take a test, but he would vote for giving the test to others if the polygraph operator came from outside the city of Irondale.

“I wouldn’t have any problem voting for it if we brought somebody from outside that wasn’t affiliated with anybody in the city,” Boone said.

Councilman Pete Crye wouldn’t comment on the lie detector tests, but he said he objected to what he called the release of “confidential information” from the Police Department.

“The front (of the report) is (public record), the back isn’t,” Crye said.

Crye said the back could include witness names and addresses, which he said weren’t public record. There are no names of witnesses on the report for Matt Jackson, except the police officer’s names. Bailey said, in some instances, the backs of police reports are not made public ‹ usually if there is some investigative work included on the back.

There is only a recount of the incident on the back of the report, as shown in a copy obtained by the Birmingham Post-Herald.

“Irondale [Alabama] Spending $200 Per Truth Test”

Staff writer Anita Debro reports for the Birmingham News. Excerpt:

The City of Irondale will spend $200 for each polygraph test given to employees and city officials in an effort to find out who leaked confidential police information.

There are about 60 people who work in the municipal complex on 20th Street South who could be asked to take the test.

Money for the tests will come from Irondale’s general fund, Mayor Allen Ramsey said Wednesday.

Ramsey said earlier this week that he would ask every employee at Irondale City Hall to submit to a polygraph test to find out who gave radio show hosts Russ and Dee Fine information about an ongoing police investigation.

Ramsey said that whoever leaked the information may have endangered the lives of those involved in the police investigation.

Ramsey has volunteered to take a lie detector test and encouraged the seven other City Council members to do the same.

City Council members Ron Bagwell and Jack Boone said Wednesday they would not take a polygraph test.

“I believe it’s a trap,” Boone said. “They are out to get somebody.”

Boone said testing so many employees is a waste of money for a city that had to lay off 30 employees last fall.

“Irondale [Alabama] Plans Lie Detector Tests: Mayor Orders City Hall Polygraphs to Trace Leaks”

Staff writer Anita Debro reports for the Birmingham News. Excerpt:

Irondale Mayor Allen Ramsey is ordering all City Hall employees to undergo a polygraph test to determine who may have leaked confidential police information.

Ramsey said Tuesday night he will submit to the testing and he is also asking members of the Irondale City Council to do the same.

“In leaking confidential police information, those persons are guilty of impeding an active ongoing investigation,” Ramsey said.

According to Ramsey, someone made allegations of misconduct in the Irondale Police Department and leaked confidential information to radio talk show hosts Russ and Dee Fine late last week.

The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office is now investigating claims of wrongdoing in the Irondale Police Department.

For discussion of this story, see the message board thread Irondale, AL Mayor Orders Polygraphs at City Hall.

Israel: “Ministry Tells El Al Not to Subject Staff to Lie Detector Tests”

Zohar Blumenkranz reports for Ha’aretz. Excerpt:

The Justice Ministry has prohibited El Al from subjecting its employees to polygraph tests aimed at discovering who in the company has been leaking information to the media. The ministry directive is based on a ruling by the attorney general opposing the use of these kinds of tests in public companies.

The airline’s director-general, Amos Shapira, decided last month to hire a private investigation agency and have the company’s executives undergo lie-detector tests in order to find out who leaked data from the company’s financial statements for the first half of the year. Shapira was also upset that some of his conversations with the chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee had also been leaked to the press.

In a letter to El Al’s chairman of the board, Michael Levy, the deputy attorney general, Edo Baum, wrote: “The attorney general has asked me to call your attention to the summary of a discussion held in our office in March 2001 on the subject of polygraph tests aimed at identifying leaks in one of the statutory authorities that is not part of a police investigation. It is stated there: The attorney general stressed the difficulty of polygraph tests in cases like this, when juxtaposed against a person’s dignity and freedom.”

The summary cited in the letter notes that asking an employee to undergo a polygraph test puts the employee in an uncomfortable and inappropriate situation. In addition, this kind of testing has not proved to be successful in uncovering leaks, the letter notes.