NSA Leaflet: Your Polygraph Examination

Your Polygraph Examination
Detail from NSA Polygraph Leaflet

AntiPolygraph.org has obtained a copy of an NSA leaflet (1.7 mb PDF) titled, “Your Polygraph Examination: An Important Appointment to Keep.” This leaflet, which has blanks for filling in the time, date, and place of an appointment, merits some discussion.

The leaflet begins with a section on what to do before the polygraph:

Prior to Your Appointment
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Follow your usual routine
  • Take your regular medications
  • Don’t skip any meals
  • Come in with an open mind
  • It’s a unique experience each time
  • Allow enough time in your schedule

This much is fairly uncontroversial. But while the NSA urges keeping an “open mind” about the polygraph, we should also heed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’ wise counsel: “By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” The National Academy of Sciences in 2002 found polygraph screening to be completely invalid, concluding that “its accuracy in distinguishing actual or potential security violators from innocent test takers is insufficient to justify reliance on its use in employee security screening in federal agencies.” Continue reading NSA Leaflet: Your Polygraph Examination