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Topic Summary - Displaying 3 post(s).
Posted by: Just Me
Posted on: Mar 3rd, 2021 at 9:45am
  Mark & Quote
This was a great virtual event, and it had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day.  LOL.  These panelists discussed the polygraph in great detail and even made some stunning revelations! 

My takeaway from this event is that detecting lies is a 50/50 coin toss.  Neither the polygrapher (Thomas Mauriello), the AI researcher (M. Ehsan Hoque) nor the psychologist (Jennifer Vendemia) were able to convincingly say that the polygraph results are accurate and valid.  The polygrapher has to try to determine if the subject is lying based on the baseline data, the polygraph charts, and the personality of the subject.  Each subject is different.  There is just no sure way to know if the subject is being deceptive.

Here are some points that I noted:

Thomas Mauriello never mentioned that he worked for the NSA.  He doesn’t even mention NSA on his company bio.  However, he mentions the National Security Agency Police Department on his resume and on the Security Services page of his company page. Thomas admits that the polygrapher is NOT A LIE DETECTOR.  Most people do not understand how it works.  The polygraph community has not done a good job of educating the general public. Polygraphs are most effective on criminal suspects on for a single issue such as murdering someone.  The U.S. government makes the use of the polygraph difficult by asking a number of different questions to applicants when screening them for a security clearance.

Thomas Mauriello acknowledges one of the questions that federal polygraphers ask is, “Have you ever committed a serious crime?”  He says this is difficult to answer because “serious” is subjective; he and his fellow federal polygraphers define “serious” as something the subject can get arrested or fined for (which I will add must include littering because you can get fined for that too).  Thomas tells the story of one of his polygraph subjects, an engineer seeking a security clearance for a government job, who reacted to the “serious crime” question several times. The subject eventually broke down and confessed that the “serious crime” on his mind was cheating on his wife 30 years ago!  I bet Thomas was hoping for a more adverse confession.

Thomas says that subjects are asked during the pretest what do they know about the polygraph, and if the subject mentions, it is because there is more anti-polygraph material online than pro-polygraph material!  LOL.  He even says that the polygraph community needs to recognize that it is 2021 and people are going to Google anything they can, especially if it is something new to them, and it is normal and does not indicate attempted intentional deception.

Someone in the audience asked the question, “Can the polygraph be beaten?”  Thomas only answers that there are additional attachments to detect movements.  Those attachments are the butt pad, feet sensor, along with the usual chest tube, finger clips, and arm cuff.  So he somewhat circumvented the question.

Mark S. Zaid, the host, says that the polygraphers of federal agencies using polygraphs for pre-employment screening do not know the answers to the questions. The polygraphers are fishing and trying to get subjects to make an adverse admission.  All the panelists nodded in agreement.

Jennifer Vendemia said that people have never lost a chance at employment for a “deception indicated” result on a polygraph alone.  This is not true and Thomas corrected her by explaining that applicants for federal agencies have had their careers ruined for this exact reason.

Mark says that people who are athletic may have a different heart or breathing rate than a normal subject and the polygrapher may interpret this as a countermeasure.  This is exactly what happened to me with the CIA, and I even wrote this is my appeal letter.

Thomas says the polygraph is just an investigative tool and should not be the “end all.”  He says the U.S. government should do full background investigations and not just rely on the polygraph squiggly lines, which is “crazy.”  He also admits the polygraph gets criminals to confess to major crimes.

Mark says that the polygraph has a utility which is it gets people to make adverse admissions that polygraphers obtain information that they would have otherwise never found out about if it wasn’t for the subject making an admission.  He also concludes that Hollywood shows are significantly contributing perpetuate the myth that the polygraph works.

Good stuff.
Posted by: George W. Maschke
Posted on: Mar 2nd, 2021 at 6:35pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
The International Spy Museum has posted a video recording of its online event on lie detection to its YouTube channel:
Posted by: Administrator
Posted on: Feb 3rd, 2021 at 9:19am
  Mark & QuoteQuote
On Thursday, 11 February 2021 at 5:30 PM Eastern time, the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC will be hosting an online event (via Zoom) that will address the history of lie detection techniques. National security lawyer (and polygraph critic) Mark S. Zaid will be hosting the event, which will also include former NSA polygraph operator Thomas Mauriello and University of Rochester associate professor M. Ehsan Hoque.

Registration is required, but is free: