Customs and Border Protection Polygraph Screening: A Critical Commentary on the Center for Investigative Journalism’s Recent Reporting

On 4 April 2013, the Center for Investigative Reporting published two articles by Andrew Becker on U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s pre-employment polygraph screening program. The first, which has garnered considerable attention and was featured on Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast, is “During polygraphs, border agency applicants admit to rape, kidnapping.”1 Becker’s reporting is based […]

Can Polygraphs Really Keep Racists Out of Law Enforcement?

News organizations across America yesterday carried an Associated Press story about how the police chief of a small town in Tennessee was using polygraphs to “weed out racists” from the hiring process: Police Chief’s Polygraph Targets Racist Applicants By SHEILA BURKE Associated Press COOPERTOWN, Tenn. March 8, 2013 (AP) A police chief hired to rebuild […]

Russia Today on Polygraph Screening in the United States

Marina Portnaya of Russia Today (RT) reports on polygraph screening by the federal government of the United States. Those interviewed include retired CIA polygraph examiner John Sullivan, McClatchy reporter Marisa Taylor, and Professor Stephen Fienberg, who headed the National Research Council’s Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph: Ironically, the Russian interior ministry […]

Obama Administration Blows Off Criticism of Polygraph Screening

  Marisa Taylor of McClatchy Newspapers reports that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is drafting a new national policy on polygraph screening. Excerpt: WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is drawing up a new national polygraph policy in the wake of allegations that federal agencies are pushing legal and ethical limits during screenings of job […]

McClatchy Investigative Series on Polygraph Screening

McClatchy Newspapers investigative reporter Marisa Taylor has published a new series of well-researched articles on federal polygraph screening programs: Feds expand polygraph screening, often seeking intimate facts As polygraph screening flourishes, critics say oversight abandoned Federal polygraph programs are secret even to researchers U.S. polygraphers questioned accuracy of tests on detainees overseas Apart from numerous […]

Chris French on Polygraph Screening of Sex Offenders

Professor of psychology Chris French writes for the Guardian on why mandatory polygraph screening of convicted sex offenders is a bad public policy choice. Excerpt: It is clear that offenders only have to spend five minutes on Google to realise that experts generally agree that polygraph testing is in fact not a reliable technique for […]

Tom Chivers on Lie Detectors

In “The Awkward Truth About Lie Detectors,” Tom Chivers of The Telegraph comments on the growing use of lie detectors to screen sex offenders in the United Kingdom. The money quote: Polygraphy relies on suspects believing that lie detectors work, which in turn relies on them not knowing how to use Google (or reading this article).

Sen. Grassley Calls for DoD IG Inspection of NRO Polygraph Program

In a follow-up to her excellent investigative series on polygraph practices within the National Reconnaissance Office, McClatchy reporter Marisa Taylor writes that Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) thinks that the DoD inspector general should investigate whether NRO is in compliance with DoD polygraph regulations: WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials are scrambling to look into allegations of abusive […]

Senate Intelligence Committee Invites Increased Polygraph Screening

As noted by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, “the Senate Intelligence Committee’s markup of the 2013 intelligence authorization bill includes 12 provisions that are intended to combat unauthorized disclosures of classified information.” Among these provisions is a requirement that within 120 days of enactment, the Director of National […]