Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher (Read 25735 times)
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The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Jul 16th, 2003 at 12:36pm
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On 17 January 1991, U.S. Navy pilot Lieutenant Commander (now Captain) Michael Scott Speicher's F/A-18 Hornet was shot down by an air-to-air missile fired by an Iraqi plane. Although the wreckage of his aircraft was located in Iraq's western desert some years later and visited by a U.S. excavation team in 1995, Cdr. Speicher's body was never found, leading to speculation that Iraq may have taken him prisoner and might have continued to hold him years after the end of the Gulf War.

Belief that Speicher might still be alive and in Iraqi custody was bolstered by information provided by an Iraqi defector who claimed to have driven Speicher from the crash site to an Iraqi military facility in 1991. According to a Chicago Tribune report by Christine Spolar titled "U.S. Hunts for POW of '91 War" and reprinted in Newsday on 24 April 2003:

Quote:
The defector, who passed three polygraph tests and picked Speicher out of lineup of photos, said the pilot was taken alive. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence requested a CIA-Defense Department review of the case. That review, released in late 2000, confirmed suspicions that Speicher likely lived through his crash and was captured.


On 11 October 2002, the U.S. Navy changed Speicher's status from "killed in action" to "prisoner of war." Associated Press writer Matt Kelly reported:

Quote:
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said an Iraqi defector told officials that 11 years ago he drove a wounded American pilot to a hospital.
"He was a credible witness," said Nelson, who said the man had given information on other topics that was correct. He had also passed a polygraph exam, Nelson said.


But Washington Times staff writer Rowan Scarborough reports in an article in today's (16 July 2003) edition titled "Navy pilot's fate now looks grim" that a secret Pentagon report provided to the Times casts serious doubt on whether CPT Speichert was ever taken prisoner:

Quote:
A secret Pentagon report states that once-promising leads in the hunt for Capt. Michael Scott Speicher in Iraq have turned up no evidence of his whereabouts, contradicting public official comments that the search was producing positive results.

The classified document also cast serious doubt on the credibility of the Iraqi defector who first raised hopes in the United States that the Navy pilot was alive and a captive in Iraq after his plane was shot down in 1991.

The defector claims to have seen Capt. Speicher alive in 1998. But Iraqis interviewed by U.S. investigators say he is lying, according to the report prepared for Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

The internal report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, quotes one Iraqi as saying the defector is a "born liar." U.S. officials are said to now have serious questions about the unnamed defector's veracity.

...

The report reveals that the main source for a report last year that Capt. Speicher survived the crash is a defector from Saddam Hussein's Special Security Organization (SSO), which maintained the dictator's rule in Baghdad.

The defector, whom U.S. officials call "defector No. 2314," provided names of witnesses who he says support his story. But when contacted by the U.S. search team, the Iraqis deny the defector's account.

"None of the information provided by 2314 has proven accurate," the Pentagon report states.

...

...[T]he defector's story, in part, prompted the Navy to change his status to missing-captured and to promote him from commander to the rank of captain.

This information created a storm of prewar news coverage that Saddam might still be holding an American he was supposed to release, with all other prisoners of war, after the March 1991 cease-fire.

But the secret Pentagon report lists a number of leads that turned out to be bogus:
  • Defector No. 2314 provided the names of several doctors who he said had knowledge of Capt. Speicher's whereabouts. "All denied having any knowledge; two have passed a polygraph exam," the Pentagon report says.
  • The defector said his supervisor at SSO also knew of Capt. Speicher's imprisonment. But the supervisor denied this, passed a polygraph and called No. 2314 "a born liar."
  • The source said a psychiatrist at the Rashid prison worked there during Capt. Speicher's purported captivity. But the psychiatrist "denied any knowledge."
  • U.S. Central Command has recovered thousands of POW-related files in Iraq. "To date, analysts have found only one reference to Speicher. The reference indicates he ejected and lists his status as 'unknown.' "

...

Concludes the report, "U.S. CentCom has searched every known location associated with Speicher. Other than at Hakimiyah prison, where U.S. forces found the initials 'MSS' carved in a cell wall, no significant evidence of his status has been discovered."

The Iraq Survey Group cell was also to interview an ethnic Iraqi U.S. citizen who had been held at another Baghdad prison, Abu Ghurab. "This individual reported to U.S. Marines that he heard Iraqi guards discussing the 'U.S. pilot.' "

The paper says the cell administered a polygraph exam to the defector, but it does not give the results. It says the military has asked the CIA "to conduct an independent polygraph of 2314."

A CIA spokesman yesterday said the agency does not comment on polygraph issues.


The Speicher investigation seems to be yet another example of the failure of the polygraph to differentiate truth from deception. Pseudoscientific polygraph chart readings should not be relied upon in such important matters as determining the status of missing U.S. military personnel.
« Last Edit: Aug 3rd, 2009 at 3:41am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #1 - Jul 16th, 2003 at 3:52pm
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George

Shame on you!  You have sunk to a new level by using the fate of a US service member to highlight your employment woes.  Since you did drag it in let's take a closer look at the article.   

"Defector No. 2314 provided the names of several doctors who he said had knowledge of Capt. Speicher's whereabouts. "All denied having any knowledge; two have passed a polygraph exam," the Pentagon report says. 

The paper says the cell administered a polygraph exam to the defector, but it does not give the results. It says the military has asked the CIA "to conduct an independent polygraph of 2314." 

It appears as though through the use of polygraph, the investigators have discredited the source (defector).  Am I reading this wrong?

Also, regardless of the technology involved, wouldn't we as a nation use anything within our powers to find a US service member?  Regardless of the scientific validity?

Once again, shame on you. ???
  
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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #2 - Jul 16th, 2003 at 4:41pm
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Saidme,

I am not using CPT Speicher's fate to "highlight" any "employment woes" but rather to call attention to, and invite discussion of, our government's misplaced reliance on an invalid test in its search for him.

As for whether we should or should not use anything within our power to locate a missing service member, regardless of validity, certainly not. For example, we shouldn't be relying on psychics, astrologers, or remote viewers for such purposes. While I have no in-principle objection to the use of the polygraph as an interrogational prop in such circumstances, no reliance should be placed on a polygrapher's interpretation of the polygraph charts.

It's clear from the leaked Pentagon report that DoD is using the polygraph as more than just an interrogational prop: they are using polygraph chart readings to bolster their conclusion that Defector #2314 is a fabricator. That DoD has asked the CIA "to conduct an independent polygraph of 2314" suggests that his DoD polygraph results did not fit the Pentagon's current investigative theory. Such governmental reliance on the polygraph is entirely inappropriate and could well lead to investigative misdirection.
  

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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #3 - Jul 16th, 2003 at 5:50pm
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George

You're doing a lot of speculating.  I think you call it wild conjecture.
  
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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #4 - Jul 16th, 2003 at 6:22pm
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It's not speculation to say that DoD has been relying on the polygraph as more than just an interrogational prop. The Pentagon report leaked to the Washington Times makes that quite clear.
  

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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #5 - Jul 16th, 2003 at 6:29pm
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That would be your interpretation!  Of course you're somewhat biased. Wink
  
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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #6 - Jul 16th, 2003 at 7:17pm
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Saidme,

I don't claim to have a monopoly on truth. One of the reasons that this message board is uncensored is so that any errors or misperceptions that might arise from bias may be corrected.

I do think that Senator Bill Nelson's reference to the first informant's having passed a polygraph test, and the Pentagon report's mention of polygraph outcomes and the fact that Defector #2314 was referred to the CIA for more polygraph testing are pretty strong indications that DoD has been relying on polygraph chart readings, and not just admissions gained by the polygraph.

If you have a different view, why not express it? Your bland assertion that I am "somewhat biased" adds little to the discussion.
  

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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #7 - Jul 17th, 2003 at 12:14am
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George:  Your statement that is board is "uncensored" is a blatant lie and you know it.  I know for a fact that you have blocked people that you don't want posting here.
  
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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #8 - Jul 17th, 2003 at 1:52am
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Come to think of it, haven't heard from Batman lately. Shocked
  
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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #9 - Jul 17th, 2003 at 2:25am
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I truely hope you don't sensor this site in any way shape or form George.

Open discussion is the backbone of our plight.  Regardless of how ignorant your opposition may seem.

  
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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #10 - Jul 17th, 2003 at 3:14am
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Quote:
George:  Your statement that is board is "uncensored" is a blatant lie and you know it.  I know for a fact that you have blocked people that you don't want posting here.



BSDETECTOR


Please identify those who CANNOT post to this message board. I am very doubtful that Mr. Maschke would block ANYONE from posting to this message board.

If you took the time to read the message header you will notice that it states:
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Anyone may post a message here. All points of view are welcome
 


Step up to the plate


Fred F. Wink
  
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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #11 - Jul 17th, 2003 at 4:25am
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Let George answer this charge himself.  I know he has blocked people and he knows it too.  And his statement that the board is uncensored is a lie.
  
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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #12 - Jul 17th, 2003 at 7:20am
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No one has been blocked from posting on this message board. You will note that we have even provided links to a variety of anonymous proxies to facilitate anonymous posting.

Posts are not censored, either. If you look around, you'll see a broad spectrum of views expressed, including ones critical of AntiPolygraph.org or of me personally. See, for example, Lies in The Lie Behind the Lie Detector or Al-Qaeda Documentation on Lie Detection (in the latter thread I was accused of treason).

The only posts deleted have been blatant and off-topic commercial advertising, duplicate posts, or posts by unregistered users whose authors have contacted AntiPolygraph.org requesting removal.
  

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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #13 - Jul 17th, 2003 at 8:38am
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A follow-up report by Rowan Scarborough in today's (17 July 2003) Washington Times  ("Senator asks Navy for report on pilot") suggests that Defector #2314 did indeed pass a DoD polygraph examination:

Quote:
The CIA plans to administer a new polygraph on the defector, who is said to have passed one conducted by the Pentagon.
  

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Re: The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher
Reply #14 - Jul 17th, 2003 at 9:09am
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The CIA could learn a lesson or two from the FBI- when the polygraph results don't match your theory (of the moment)-- blame Canada!   

Maybe the Pentagon polygrapher was a visiting friend from the frozen north.  Yes of course! Thats it!  This time will do it ourselves!  Guess what defector # 2314 ,we've got a problem.  Your holding something back! Look at this chart.  No, not the one you passed, this one!
  
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The Polygraph and the Search for CPT Speicher

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