Is Being Targeted By the NSA?

An e-mail received by in August from a U.S. Navy petty officer suggests that may be targeted for electronic surveillance. The petty officer wrote: I was recently polygraphed by the DOD and they had logs of websites I had visited the night before from my ISP and mentioned this site by name and […]

Cain Backpedals on Lie Detector, Cites “Layered Voice Analysis”

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has backed off from his declaration at a press conference convened to address allegations of sexual harassment  that he was “absolutely” willing to do a lie detector test. In an interview with Neil Cavuto of Fox News, Cain conditioned his willingness to do a lie detector test on the willingness […]

DoD Updates Polygraph Directive

On 4 February 2011, the US Department of Defense published an amendment (PDF) to Directive 5210.48 (“Polygraph and Credibility Assessment Program”). The amended directive reflects the transfer of DoD polygraph program management from the defunct Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) to the director of the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC), a sub-unit of the […]

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

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 […]

John Dullahan, DIA Analyst Fired After Failing Polygraph, Profiled in Washington Post

Washington Post staff writer Peter Finn reports in an above-the-fold front page article on the case of retired army lieutenant colonel and Defense Intelligence Agency analyst John Dullahan, whose security clearance was suspended in February 2009 after he failed three polygraph “tests.” Then DIA director LTG Michael D. Maples fired Dullahan in March 2009 (his last […]

The Truth About the Polygraph (According to the NSA)

The National Security Agency (NSA) has produced a video about its polygraph screening program. Watch it here, along with’s commentary: The original source video is available here. For commentary on the NSA’s accompanying polygraph leaflet, see our earlier blog post, NSA Leaflet: Your Polygraph Examination. For a thorough debunking of polygraphy, with extensive citations […]

Polygraph Operator Sally VanBeek Doesn’t Think Sociopaths Can Beat the Lie Detector

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Seattle 911 blog today featured a video report by Parella Lewis of KCPQ-TV’s Washington’s Most Wanted show. Lewis interviewed Detective Sally VanBeek, a polygraph operator with the Everett Police Department, who opined that sociopaths cannot beat the polygraph. Is VanBeek, who is also president of the Northwest Polygraph Examiners Association, somehow unaware […]

Lee Anthony Evans, Cleared As Suspect by Polygraph, Arrested for 1978 Murders

WCBS TV reports that Lee Evans, an early suspect in the 1978 disappearance of five Newark, New Jersey teenagers, has been arrested for their murder along with another as-yet-unidentified man. The Associated Press reports that Evans had earlier been eliminated as a suspect after passing a polygraph test: The boys, Melvin Pittman and Ernest Taylor, […]

Ohio Judge Orders Victims in Sexual Assault Cases to Submit to Lie Detector Tests

Rachel Dissell of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge Alison Floyd has ordered the victims in four sexual assault cases to submit to polygraph “testing.” In addition, Floyd has ordered the perpetrators of the assaults, who have already been found guilty, to submit to polygraph tests for sentencing purposes. It […]

Kaiser Fung on Lie Detectors has received a complementary copy of statistician Kaiser Fung’s new book, Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probability and Statistics on Everything You Do (New York: McGraw Hill, 2010), a short primer on statistics written for a general audience. In Chapter 4, Fung addresses the trade-off between false positives and false negatives […]