AntiPolygraph.org has obtained a copy of the National Center for Credibility Assessment’s documentation of the polygraph screening technique “used by federal law enforcement agencies during the pre-employment process.”
The 23-page document, dated 3 March 2016, provides instructions for administration of the so-called “Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test” (LEPET), to which applicants for employment with such agencies as the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Secret Service are subjected.
In 2004, AntiPolygraph.org published an earlier version of this document, dated January 2002, which remains available. The LEPET manual has changed little since this earlier version.
When we first published this document, then recently retired FBI supervisory special agent, scientist, and polygraph expert Drew Campbell Richardson observed regarding it:
This is more or less THE SCRIPT for what you will see and what you will hear. You will see the order, even the very language and characterizations of the foolishness that we have come to know as polygraph screening. This document is sufficiently important that it requires your careful attention and then your careful attention again.
The LEPET manual will remain of great interest to anyone seeking employment with a federal law enforcement agency with a polygraph screening requirement.
On Thursday, 14 November 2013, the Washington Postreported that Ignacio Zamora Jr., a U.S. Secret Service senior supervisor who oversaw members of President Obama’s security detail, was removed from his assignment and is under investigation for alleged misconduct. Excerpt:
A call from the Hay-Adams hotel this past spring reporting that a Secret Service agent was trying to force his way into a woman’s room set in motion an internal investigation that has sent tremors through an agency still trying to restore its elite reputation.
The incident came a year after the agency was roiled by a prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, prompting vows from senior officials to curb a male-dominated culture of hard partying and other excesses.
The service named its first female director, Julia Pierson, seven months ago, and an extensive inspector general report on the agency’s culture launched in the wake of the Cartagena scandal is expected to be released in coming weeks.
The disruption at the Hay-Adams in May involved Ignacio Zamora Jr., a senior supervisor who oversaw about two dozen agents in the Secret Service’s most elite assignment — the president’s security detail. Zamora was allegedly discovered attempting to reenter a woman’s room after accidentally leaving behind a bullet from his service weapon. The incident has not been previously reported.
In a follow-up investigation, agency officials also found that Zamora and another supervisor, Timothy Barraclough, had sent sexually suggestive e-mails to a female subordinate, according to those with knowledge of the case. Officials have removed Zamora from his position and moved Barraclough off the detail to a separate part of the division, people familiar with the case said.
Readers of AntiPolygraph.org may be familiar with the name Ignacio Zamora Jr. In 1998, Zamora subjected Bill Roche, a police officer who had applied to become a U.S. Secret Service special agent, to a harsh and demeaning polygraph interrogation, falsely accusing him of deception.
But as emeritus professor of psychology John Furedyhas observed, polygraph operators can no more divine truth from the examination of polygraph charts than ancient Roman haruspices (entrail readers) could divine future events from the examination of intestines. Make believe science yields make believe security.
Norah O’Donnell reports for CBS News that the U.S. Secret Service “wants to polygraph a number of agents and officers involved” in a scandal wherein they allegedly hired prostitutes while in Cartagena, Colombia as part of President Obama’s security detail. It should be noted, however, that the unscientific polygraph is in part responsible for the selection of personnel with such poor judgment: all Secret Service agents and uniformed officers are required to undergo to pre-employment polygraph screening.
While polygraphy has an inherent bias against truthful persons, liars can easily beat the polygraph using simple countermeasures that polygraph operators cannot detect. The Secret Service would do well to terminate its reliance on this unreliable pseudoscience.
Update: ABC News reports that the Secret Service personnel suspected of consorting with prostitutes will be “forced to submit to lie detector tests.” CBS’s earlier reporting suggested that any such “testing” would be voluntary.