Normal Topic Polygraph helps coerce false confession (Read 20100 times)
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Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Aug 7th, 2002 at 3:25pm
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A federal judge in Manhattan took the unusual step yesterday of ordering federal prosecutors to investigate how the F.B.I. had obtained a confession from an innocent Egyptian student who was detained in connection with the attack on the World Trade Center... Mr. Higazy asked for a polygraph exam to prove his innocence, the judge said, and an F.B.I. agent administered it without his lawyer present. But at some point, the F.B.I. agent, who has not been identified, stopped, and reportedly began to question Mr. Higazy, who then confessed, [in an admission now known to be untrue] the judge noted. The confession fueled suspicions he might be tied to the hijackers... He [Judge Jed S. Rakoff] also gave the government until Friday to object to the release of any portions of documents that he feels should now be made public.
  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #1 - Aug 7th, 2002 at 7:53pm
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beech trees,

What happened to Mr. Higazy was truly evil. An employee at a Manhattan hotel claimed to have found a radio used by pilots in Mr. Higazy's hotel room safe when the hotel was inspected after the events of September 11, 2001. (The hotel had been evacuated.)

Mr. Higazy was questioned by the FBI about the radio, and denied any knowledge of it. That's when the FBI's zealous polygrapher, gunning for a confession, coerced a false one. Using the "confession" as evidence, the U.S. Government held Mr. Higazy in solitary confinement on a perjury charge.

The hotel employee, it turns out, had fabricated the claim, and confessed when the radio's actual owner stepped forward to claim it. But by the time this came to light, Mr. Higazy had spent a month in jail thanks to the hotel employee's perfidy and the FBI polygrapher's unethical conduct.

If the true owner of the radio in question had not come forward, Mr. Higazy would still be wasting away in jail based on a coerced false confession.

Now the judge in the case has ordered the FBI to investigate itself on this issue. It is to be hoped that this investigation will be more than a whitewash.

Indeed, Mr. Higazy's experience speaks to the need for all criminal interrogations (whether the polygraph is used as a prop or not) to preferably be videotaped but at minimum be audiotaped. There is no excuse for not doing this.
  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #2 - Aug 7th, 2002 at 8:47pm
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For more on the Higazy case, see New York Times correspondent Benjamin Weisman's 1 July 2002 article, "U.S. Judge may probe 'confession.'"
  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #3 - Aug 8th, 2002 at 3:28am
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beech trees,

What happened to Mr. Higazy was truly evil.


I concur George. I hope that the Judge is able to release the details concerning the coercion. I certainly hope (but doubt) the polygrapher is sanctioned-- he's probably being patted on the back by his peers for his astounding interrogation tactics.
  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #4 - Aug 8th, 2002 at 3:46am
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FBI reliance on the polygraph shows a real absence of critical thinking, as does overreliance on the liar who said Higazy had an aviation radio in his room.

I'd like to know whether the witness testimony was in any way corroborated, and exactly what indicia of reliability (please forgive the legalese) it had.  Probably not much.

It's not hard to imagine Higazy confessing.  He simply reached a point where the benefits of ending the harrowing interrogation, even through lying, exceeded the perceived costs, which were much less immediate and more difficult to discern.  In other words, he wanted the hell out of there.
  
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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #5 - Aug 30th, 2002 at 8:26pm
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Earlier this month (August 2002), U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff publicly released much of the documentation in the Higazy case. Unfortunately, he did not make this information available on the Internet, and the public had no way of reviewing it except to make an in-person visit to inspect the documents in his lower Manhattan offices.

John Young, who runs the website Cryptome.org, has done just that, made copies, scanned them, and converted the text to HTML format. These documents may now be reviewed here:

http://cryptome.org/usa-v-higazy.htm

I've only had a quick look at these documents so far, but it seems that Judge Rakoff has little faith in the pseudoscience of polygraphy.

The identity of the FBI polygrapher who extracted the false confession has been redacted from the released documents.
  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #6 - Oct 29th, 2002 at 1:36pm
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Today's (29 Oct. 2002) New York Times features an article by Benjamin Weiser titled, "Federal Report on Confession from Egyptian Is in Dispute."
  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #7 - Oct 29th, 2002 at 4:14pm
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Today's (29 Oct. 2002) New York Times features an article by Benjamin Weiser titled, "Federal Report on Confession from Egyptian Is in Dispute."


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Prosecutors said they were also concerned about making the findings public if the agent, who has denied the allegations, is exonerated.

Perhaps I'm getting jaded, but I find it doubtful that any finding except exoneration for all federal agents involved will be concluded in this matter. The Old Boy Network lives...
« Last Edit: Oct 30th, 2002 at 3:44am by beech trees »  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #8 - Nov 16th, 2002 at 12:24pm
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Yesterday's (Friday, 15 Nov. 2002) New York Times included a short report about legal action seeking release of the federal report on the Higazy case, which I'll cite here in full:

"MANHATTAN: MEDIA SEEK F.B.I. REPORT
Four news organizations have asked a federal judge for access to a secret government report on how the F.B.I. obtained a confession from an Egyptian student once suspected of being a Sept. 11 conspirator. The student, Abdallah Higazy, contends that an F.B.I. agent administering a polygraph test coerced Mr. Higazy into falsely confessing that he owned a radio useful in guiding aircraft that was found in a hotel near the World Trade Center. Prosecutors filed their report with the judge, Jed S. Rakoff, but want it kept sealed. The New York Times, CNN, Newsday and The Daily News asked for the report's disclosure, citing the First Amendment. Release of the report was separately requested by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which is helping to represent Mr. Higazy.
Benjamin Weiser (NYT)"
  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #9 - Nov 17th, 2002 at 9:50pm
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I'm kind of curious patriotic george. Who translated this document? One of your Al-Qaeda operatives ? Also who's conclusion are these. Yours??
  
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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #10 - Nov 17th, 2002 at 10:44pm
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I'm kind of curious patriotic george. Who translated this document? One of your Al-Qaeda operatives ? Also who's conclusion are these. Yours??


Umm.... the report was written in the King's Own English.

Here's hoping you scrutinize those charts more carefully than these discussions. Shocked
  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #11 - Nov 18th, 2002 at 1:34am
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That is why I asked george WHO TARNSLATED IT.   
Maybe you should read a little more and write a little less and you just might learn something. Remember what I told you befor "When adults are talking STAY OUT of the conversation"
  
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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #12 - Nov 18th, 2002 at 1:42am
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Quote:
That is why I asked george WHO TARNSLATED IT.  
Maybe you should read a little more and write a little less and you just might learn something. Remember what I told you befor "When adults are talking STAY OUT of the conversation"


Question 1. What is the topic of this thread?
Answer 1. The FBI's judge-mandated in-house investigation into how an FBI polygrapher managed to coerce a confession out of an innocent subject.

Question 2. In what language is the FBI report written?
Answer 2. English.

Question 3. Don't you feel stupid now?
Answer 3. Yes, most assuredly.
  

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Re: Polygraph helps coerce false confession
Reply #13 - Nov 23rd, 2002 at 9:23am
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The government has withdrawn its objection to the release of its report on the Higazy affair. Here's an excerpt from an Associated Press report published in Newsday:

Quote:
NEW YORK -- Federal prosecutors have withdrawn their objection to releasing a report on their probe into how anti-terror investigators obtained a "false confession" from an Egyptian student detained in the Sept. 11 probe.

In a letter delivered Thursday to a judge, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kelley said the government no longer opposed the unsealing of the report as long as the names of witnesses were withheld.


I suppose the names must be withheld to protect the guilty... Nonetheless, this is a very positive development.

Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times has written a more detailed report titled, "F.B.I. Report on Student in 9/11 Case to Be Public."
« Last Edit: Nov 23rd, 2002 at 10:00am by George W. Maschke »  

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Polygraph helps coerce false confession

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