Kansas City Star correspondent Kevin Murphy reports. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON – All but a few of 700 FBI agents and employees passed lie detector tests as part of an internal security overhaul at the bureau, Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday.
Mueller outlined for reporters the FBI’s broad plan for preventing security lapses, such as those that allowed agent Robert Hanssen to spy for the Soviet Union for 15 years.
Mueller said security was a “substantially elevated priority” at the FBI. A special review of FBI security by former FBI and CIA Director William Webster is expected to be released within a few days.
Polygraph tests were given to about 700 agents and others with access to the most highly classified information. Less than 1 percent, fewer than seven persons, failed the tests on a narrow set of subjects, Mueller said.
“We are heartened that less than 1 percent of the 700 tests raise issues that require further investigation,” Mueller said.
He would not comment on the status of those employees while they were being investigated further.
Polygraph tests are being planned for hundreds of other key employees. The bureau also is considering giving random, unannounced tests to other agents and employees, officials said.
“While nobody likes taking a polygraph — I didn’t particularly enjoy taking a polygraph — we all understand the necessity if it’s going to expose a Hanssen down the road or be a deterrent to another Hanssen,” Mueller said.
Nancy Savage, president of the FBI Agents Association, said agents did not object to random polygraph tests, which she compared to random urine tests they take for drugs. All agents take polygraph tests before being hired.
Unlike drug tests, lie detector “tests” have no scientific basis and are likely to falsely implicate the innocent while the guilty go undetected. FBI Agents Association president Nancy Savage should know better.