Normal Topic Polygraphy and the FBI Reform Act of 2002 (Read 3389 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Polygraphy and the FBI Reform Act of 2002
Mar 1st, 2002 at 12:11pm
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On 28 February 2002, Senators Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) and Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) unveiled the FBI Reform Act of 2002, which would, among other things, expand polygraph screening of current FBI employees.

An Associated Press article by Jesse J. Holland on the bill is available on the Washington Post website under the title, "Senators Call for FBI Oversight Legislation."

A section-by-section analysis of the FBI Reform Act of 2002 is available on Senatator Leahy's website. The relevant portion states:

Quote:
TITLE IV. FBI Counterintelligence Polygraph Program. This title would require the Attorney General to establish an FBI Counterintelligence Polygraph Program for personnel in exceptionally sensitive positions that reflects the results of a pending National Academy of Sciences review of the validity of the polygraph, within 6 months after publication of that review. The regulations would be prescribed in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act. A similar requirement for the Department of Energy was passed in the latest Defense Authorization Act.

Sections 401-404. Definitions, Establishment of Program, Regulations, Report

Section 402 requires the establishment of a counterintelligence screening polygraph program consisting of periodic polygraph examinations of employees and contractors with access to sensitive compartmented information, special access program information, or restricted data. This program shall be established within 6 months of the publication of the results of the report of the Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph of the National Academy of Sciences. Section 403 directs that the program have procedures that address "false positive" results and ensure quality assurance and control in accordance with guidance from the DoD Polygraph Institute and the DCI. No adverse personnel action could be taken solely by reason of physiological reaction on an exam without further investigation and personal decision by the Director. Employees could have prompt access to unclassified reports of their exams that relate to adverse personnel action. Section 404 requires a report within 9 months of the enactment of the Act on any further legislative action appropriate in the personnel security area.


In addition, Senator Leahy's remarks on the introduction of the bill are also available on his website. The relevant portion states: "We improve security both inside and outside the FBI...by establishing a polygraph program to increase security at the same time as protecting employee rights..."



  

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Re: Polygraphy and the FBI Reform Act of 2002
Reply #1 - Mar 2nd, 2002 at 7:17pm
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Hi George,

It's a surprise that no one has inquired further concerning this proposed act here. What are your thoughts? I guess at this time that takes away any chance to get help from the subcommittee to eliminate poly tests in the pre-employment screening process (unless the pending lawsuit is successful).  I also believe that FBI current employees who fail the test will be afforded due process and opportunity to be heard; they won't be just terminated. This due process was and is denied to applicants in pre-employment procedures who are automatically disqualified w/ no opportunity to defend themselves and or bring the truth to light.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: Polygraphy and the FBI Reform Act of 2002
Reply #2 - Mar 2nd, 2002 at 10:54pm
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Fightback,

In the current political climate, I think that this bill is likely to receive wide bipartisan support and to be passed by Congress and signed by the President with little public debate (and with the polygraph provisions of Title IV intact). Despite this likelihood, I think it is important that we do what we can to attempt to avert this mistake by calling and/or writing to our elected representatives. Even if the legislation cannot be entirely thwarted, it might be possible to get portions amended. For example, the Senate might be amenable to adding a requirement that all polygraph interrogations conducted under this Act be videotaped, which would add an important protection for FBI employees.

One thing I find disturbing is the clause in Section 402 that mandates that "the program shall be established within 6 months of the publication of the results of the report of the Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph of the National Academy of Sciences." What if the NAS report agrees with the consensus of the scientific community that polygraph screening is completely invalid and should be stopped? Do Senators Leahy and Grassley have some foreknowledge that the NAS is going to bow to political pressure and endorse continued polygraph screening? I don't know, but it's an interesting question. If the NAS recommends against polygraph screening, then the authors of the FBI Reform Act of 2002 will be publicly embarrassed.

Which leads to another concern: with the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on the record as supporting polygraph screening, it seems unlikely that the committee will support a Comprehensive Polygraph Protection Act (essentially the 1988 Employee Polygraph Protection Act with the governmental and other exemptions removed) any time soon.

And while the bill purports to address false positive results, I see nothing whatsoever in the analysis posted on Senator Leahy's website that would prevent a repeat of the abuses that Mark Mallah suffered, and the careers of those who become false positives are almost certain to be adversely affected, even if no "adverse personnel action" (as legally defined) is taken.

  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
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Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
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Polygraphy and the FBI Reform Act of 2002

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