Israel: “Bills to Prevent Compelled Polygraph Exam”

IsraelNationalNews.com reports in a short article that is cited here in full:

(IsraelNN.com) The Knesset Social Affairs & Health Committee is preparing two bills for a first reading in the Knesset, both aimed at making a compulsory polygraph exam for job applicants illegal. The bills are authored by MKs Yehiel Hazan (Likud) and Zahava Gal-On (Meretz).

The two legislators believe compelling one to take a lie-detector test is a violation of one’s rights.

Senate Bill Envisages Research into Polygraph Alternatives

U.S. Senate Bill 1025, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, envisages future research into alternative technologies to the polygraph. The relevant section of S. 1025 is cited in full here:

SEC. 355. COORDINATION OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESEARCH ON SECURITY EVALUATIONS.

    (a) WORKSHOPS FOR COORDINATION OF RESEARCH- The National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall jointly sponsor not less than two workshops on the coordination of Federal Government research on the use of behavioral, psychological, and physiological assessments of individuals in the conduct of security evaluations.
    (b) DEADLINE FOR COMPLETION OF ACTIVITIES- The activities of the workshops sponsored under subsection (a) shall be completed not later than March 1, 2004.
    (c) PURPOSES- The purposes of the workshops sponsored under subsection (a) are as follows:
    • (1) To provide a forum for cataloging and coordinating Federally-funded research activities relating to the development of new techniques in the behavioral, psychological, or physiological assessment of individuals to be used in security evaluations.
    • (2) To develop a research agenda for the Federal Government on behavioral, psychological, and physiological assessments of individuals, including an identification of the research most likely to advance the understanding of the use of such assessments of individuals in security evaluations.
    • (3) To distinguish between short-term and long-term areas of research on behavioral, psychological, and physiological assessments of individuals in order maximize the utility of short-term and long-term research on such assessments.
    • (4) To identify the Federal agencies best suited to support research on behavioral, psychological, and physiological assessments of individuals.
    • (5) To develop recommendations for coordinating future Federally-funded research for the development, improvement, or enhancement of security evaluations.
    (d) ADVISORY GROUP- (1) In order to assist the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology Policy in carrying out the activities of the workshops sponsored under subsection (a), there is hereby established an interagency advisory group with respect to such workshops.
    (2) The advisory group shall be composed of the following:
    • (A) A representative of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Directorate of the National Science Foundation.
    • (B) A representative of the Office of Science, and Technology Policy.
    • (C) The Secretary of Defense, or a designee of the Secretary.
    • (D) The Secretary of State, or a designee of the Secretary.
    • (E) The Attorney General, or a designee of the Attorney General.
    • (F) The Secretary of Energy, or a designee of the Secretary.
    • (G) The Secretary of Homeland Security, or a designee of the Secretary.
    • (H) The Director of Central Intelligence, or a designee of the Director.
    • (I) The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a designee of the Director.
    • (J) The National Counterintelligence Executive, or a designee of the National Counterintelligence Executive.
    • (K) Any other official assigned to the advisory group by the President for purposes of this section.
    (3) The members of the advisory group under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2) shall jointly head the advisory group.
    (4) The advisory group shall provide the Foundation and the Office such information, advice, and assistance with respect to the workshops sponsored under subsection (a) as the advisory group considers appropriate.
    (5) The advisory group shall not be treated as an advisory committee for purposes of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).
    (e) REPORT- Not later than March 1, 2004, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall jointly submit Congress a report on the results of activities of the workshops sponsored under subsection (a), including the findings and recommendations of the Foundation and the Office as a result of such activities.
    (f) FUNDING- (1) Of the amount authorized to be appropriated for the Intelligence Community Management Account by section 104(a), $500,000 shall be available to the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology Policy to carry out this section.
    (2) The amount authorized to be appropriated by paragraph (1) shall remain available until expended.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has also published a Report on the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2004 that explains the provisions of Section 355 as follows:


Coordination of United States Government research on security evaluations

In October 2002, the National Academies of Science released a report entitled, `The Polygraph and Lie Detection’–`a scientific review of the research on polygraph examinations that pertains to their validity and reliability, in particular for personnel security screening.’ In the report–the first comprehensive assessment of the polygraph since the 1983 study by the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment–the National Academies stated:

[W]e recommend an expanded research effort directed at methods for deterring and detecting major security threats, including efforts to improve techniques for security screening. * * * We cannot guarantee that research related to techniques for detecting deception will yield valuable practical payoff for national security, even in the long term. However, given the seriousness of the national need, an expanded research effort appears worthwhile. * * * The research program we envision would seek any edge that science can provide for deterring and detecting security threats. It would have two major objectives: (1) to provide Federal agencies with methods of the highest possible scientific validity for protecting national security by deterring and detecting espionage, sabotage, terrorism, and other major security threats; and (2) to make these agencies fully aware of the strengths and limitations of the techniques they use.

In Section 355, the Committee authorizes $500,000 from the Intelligence Community Management Account for the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology to convene components of the U.S. Government to provide a forum to catalogue and coordinate Federally-funded research activities relating to the development of new techniques in the behavioral, psychological, or physiological assessment of individuals to be used in security evaluations. This effort is intended to serve as an important step in developing a more focused research effort leading to the development of alternatives to the polygraph as a security evaluation tool for the U.S. Government. By March 1, 2004, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology are required to jointly submit to Congress a written report identifying the research most likely to advance the understanding of the use of such assessments of individuals in security evaluations; distinguish between short-term and long-term areas of research in order to maximize the utility of short-term and long-term research on such assessments; identify the Federal departments and agencies best suited to support such research; and develop recommendations for coordinating future Federally-funded research for the development, improvement, or enhancement of security evaluations. The components of the Federal Government who will participate in this effort include DoD, DoE, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Counterintelligence Executive.

Senators Call for Expanded FBI Polygraph Program

Associated Press writer Jesse J. Holland reports in an article published in the Washington Post under the title, “Senators Call for FBI Oversight Legislation.” Excerpt:

WASHINGTON – Two senators called for sweeping changes in the FBI Thursday, including mandated lie detector tests of people working with sensitive information, letting Justice Department investigators independently look at the agency and protecting whistle-blowers.

“We hope to have a better FBI as a result,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A bill by Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, includes proposals to make clear that the Justice Department’s inspector general has jurisdiction over the FBI, inclusion of FBI employees under the Federal Whistleblower Act, creation of an FBI internal security division and additional reporting requirements to Congress.

“This bill and continued oversight work are about restoring law and order inside the FBI so that public confidence and public safety and security can be restored on the outside,” Grassley said.

Under the senators’ proposals, FBI employees working with sensitive information would be required to take periodic polygraph tests. Leahy said lie detector tests aren’t perfect, but one might have caught FBI spy Robert Hanssen.

“When you don’t have them at all, that’s a major mistake,” he said.

Actually, Senators Leahy and Grassley are making a major mistake by supposing that a polygraph test might have caught FBI spy Robert P. Hanssen, as Dr. Richardson explained in an unheeded memorandum to former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh titled, “Polygraph Screening in Light of the Robert Hanssen Espionage Investigation.”

For more on this new bill, see the AntiPolygraph.org message board thread “Polygraphy and the FBI Reform Act of 2002.”

DOE Polygraph Policy to Be Repealed

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy in Government Project reports in today’s Secrecy News electronic newsletter:

DOE POLYGRAPH POLICY TO BE REPEALED

The controversial Department of Energy counterintelligence polygraph program that was enacted by Congress three years ago will be repealed and replaced by a new program, according to the Defense Authorization Act of 2002.

The previously mandated polygraph program, which required the polygraph testing of perhaps twenty thousand national laboratory personnel, drew stiff resistance from scientists and others. A newly reconfigured DOE polygraph program will be based on the results of a pending National Academy of Sciences study.

See the new defense authorization provision on polygraph testing here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2001/poly.html

Last week, a federal judge rejected government efforts to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges the use of polygraph testing for screening of federal employees. The lawsuits were brought against the FBI, DEA and Secret Service by eleven plaintiffs, represented by attorney Mark S. Zaid, who were denied employment based on polygraph tests. See:

http://antipolygraph.org/litigation.shtml

Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 Contains Voice Stress Analysis Provision

Section 109(a)(7) of this legislation states that the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security may: Provide for the use of voice stress analysis, biometric, or other technologies to prevent a person who might pose a danger to air safety or security from boarding the aircraft of an air carrier or foreign air carrier in air transportation or intrastate air transportation.

Voice stress analysis “tests,” like polygraph “tests,” are junk science and should by no means be relied upon for the purpose contemplated by this legislation.

“Senate Eases DOE Energy Policy”

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy in Government Project reports in today’s Secrecy News electronic newsletter:

SENATE EASES DOE POLYGRAPH POLICY

Buried in the Defense Authorization Act approved by the Senate this week is language that would repeal the Department of Energy’s controversial polygraph policy and replace it with a more measured polygraph program.

Under the new interim procedures, anyone who does not have routine access to “Top Secret Restricted Data” could be exempted from polygraph testing. In practice, there is very little information that is classified at the TS/RD level.

The legislation directs the Secretary of Energy to develop a new counterintelligence polygraph policy, but wisely refrains from dictating the specific content of that policy.

The text of the new polygraph legislation, which must still be considered in a House-Senate conference, is posted here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2001/100301_poly.html

“As we all know, the initial response prompting … the polygraph program … was the situation of security breaches in our nuclear laboratories,” said Senator Jack Reed on September 24. “We hope and believe that is a thing of the past.”

Senate Orders Assessment of Alternative Technologies to the Polygraph

Senate Report 107-63 “authorizing appropriations for fiscal year 2002 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account of the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes” includes a directive to the FBI, CIA, and DoD to report on polygraph alternatives by 1 March 2002. Excerpt:

Assessment of alternative technologies to the polygraph

The FBI, the CIA and the Department of Defense are directed to conduct jointly an assessment of the accuracy, reliability and desirability of the TruthScan technology (developed by Dr. Michael Tansey), particularly for counterintelligence purposes, as an investigative tool to supplement the use of the polygraph. The report should be provided to the appropriate oversight committees of the Congress no later than March 1, 2002. The report should include an assessment of other alternative technologies to the polygraph which have been examined by the FBI, the CIA or the Department of Defense and the prospects for their use as investigative tools.

“Senators Propose Limited Polygraph Policy”

Roger Snodgrass of the Los Alamos Monitor reports. Excerpt:

New Mexico’s senators teamed up on Monday to strike another blow to a controversial polygraph testing program in the nation’s weapons laboratories.

Senate Bill 1261 [sic, correct 1276], cosponsored by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-NM, and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, would narrow the focus of Department of Energy polygraph tests to those who would most realistically pose an individual threat to American security secrets.

The statements of both senators on introducing the legislation were critical of the recent history of lie-detector escalation, which was imposed on the national laboratories in 1999 and expanded last year. The bill is intended to grant more flexibility to the Energy Secretary and the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), directly in charge of the labs, to put in place a less restrictive polygraph policy.

NNSA Administrator Gen. John Gordon also has acknowledged the connection between polygraph testing and low morale in the weapons laboratories’ workforce.

“We have yet to convince the current workforce of the validity of the polygraph test as a screening tool,” Gordon testified to a House Armed Services Committee Hearing in April.

LANL employees have voiced their concerns since the first polygraph crackdown was imposed. The “Ask the Director” feature on the lab’s web page has produced four special editions answering questions about the polygraph policy.

In answer to one question, LANL Director John Browne wrote, “I have been very concerned about the significant increase in required polygraph testing among DOE contractors that was mandated by Congressional law last year.”

“I have been consistent in arguing that screening polygraphs do not add much value to security, unless you believe that they serve as a deterrent to people contemplating espionage,” he added, noting there are many examples to suggest that the deterrence value is low.

“Having stated this opinion,” he said, “we are required by our contract to follow the laws of the land.”

Browne’s answers were in response to employees who, among other complaints, pointed out inconsistencies in LANL’s official policies that define polygraph testing as voluntary, and yet treat a refusal to submit to a mandatory polygraph by leave without pay and termination with loss of severance pay.

“New Bill Would Limit DOE Polygraphs”

Steven Aftergood of the American Federation of Scientists’ Secrecy in Government Project writes in today’s edition of Secrecy News:

NEW BILL WOULD LIMIT DOE POLYGRAPHS

A bill introduced in the Senate yesterday by Sen. Pete Domenici and Sen. Jeff Bingaman would reduce the number of Department of Energy (DOE) employees and contractors who are subject to polygraph testing, thereby reversing congressional action taken last year.

“The effect of past legislation was to require polygraphs for very broad categories of workers in DOE and in our DOE weapons labs and plants,” said Senator Domenici. “But the categories specified are really much too broad, some don’t even refer to security-related issues.”

Senator Domenici noted further that “Polygraphs are simply not viewed as scientifically credible by Laboratory staff.”

Senator Bingaman echoed that observation: “I’ve heard directly from many laboratory employees who question the viability of polygraphs and who have raised legitimate questions about its accuracy, reliability, and usefulness.”

“It has become clear that the [existing] provision has had a chilling effect on current and potential employees at the laboratories in a way that could risk the future health of the workforce at the laboratories,” Senator Bingaman said.

The new bill would reduce the number of DOE employees and contractors subject to the polygraph, limiting testing to those who have access to “the most sensitive” nuclear weapons secrets.

Senator Bingaman stressed that the proposed legislation is an “interim” measure and that further changes to DOE polygraph policy would be expected after a National Academy of Sciences study is completed next year.

See the July 31 floor statements of Senators Domenici and Bingaman introducing their new bill (S. 1276) here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2001/s073101.html

“Hendricks Discusses VSA Controversy at NHCCJA Meeting”

Humble Observer managing editor Martin L. de Vore reports on a talk given by Humble, Texas police polygrapher Kelly Hendricks. Excerpt:

Braving cloudy skies and a light misty rain, North Harris County Criminal Justice Association (NHCCJA) members who attended the organization’s April meeting got an inside look at the controversy surrounding the use of voice stress analysis (VSA) technology by police.

Hendricks then spent the next 30 minutes of the meeting covering the VSA controversy and the pending legislation that would affect its use in the state of Texas. Hendricks said that VSA technology is not reliable and should be eschewed in favor of current polygraph technology.

“Voice Stress Analysis (VSA) is only right about 48 percent of the time,” Hendricks said. “That’s less than fifty-fifty. Thirty-two different reliability studies since 1982, that individually range from 90 percent to 100 percent in accuracy and reliability, indicate that polygraph is the way to go instead of VSA. When all those figures are combined, in reality, what the figures show is that there is less than a two percent possibility of error with polygraph use. Compare that to the accuracy figures on VSA and it proves that VSA is not reliable and that polygraph is. If VSA or CVSA worked, we’d be first in line to use it.”

Hendricks also shared his views on the identical bills House Bill 817 (HB 817) and Senate Bill 1221 (SB 1221) that are currently being considered by the Texas Legislature.

HB 817 is a bill involving VSA that was filed on Jan. 22, 2001, by District 61 state Rep. Phil King of Weatherford. It was still pending in committee at the time of the NHCCJA meeting on April 3.

SB 1221 was filed on March 7, 2001, by District 15 state Sen. John Whitmire of Houston. At the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice’s hearing on April 4, it was also left pending in committee following testimony from both the bill’s advocates and from its opponents (including Hendricks, who testified against SB 1221 on behalf of the Humble Police Department).

HB 817 and its companion bill, SB 1221, relate to the use of a computerized voice stress analyzer by a licensed peace officer during a criminal investigation. Briefly, Hendricks listed some of the components of the proposed legislation:

A licensed peace officer who is a certified voice stress examiner is not required to be licensed under this chapter to use a computerized voice stress analyzer during a criminal investigation.

The certification to use a voice stress analyzer must be made by the company who manufactured the voice stress analyzer; or the governmental entity who appointed or employs the peace officer.

The act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.

If the act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, the act takes effect September 1, 2001.

Hendricks strongly opposes the bill and asked those in attendance to contact their state representatives and senators to voice their opposition to it.

Polygraphers are quick to point out the shortcomings of the competing pseudoscience of “Computerized Voice Stress Analysis” (CVSA). But polygraphy, like CVSA, has not been shown by peer-reviewed research to work at better than chance levels in the field. The “research” Hendricks invokes to support his claim that “there is less than a two percent possibility of error with polygraph use” appears either in non-peer-reviewed trade journals or, where published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, involves laboratory experiments with paid volunteers who committed “mock” crimes and had little or nothing to lose in the event of a false positive outcome: motivational conditions that do not apply to the field. Moreover, such studies purporting to support the high validity of polygraphy fail to take into consideration the effect of polygraph countermeasures (such as those discussed in Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector).