Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) What's more effective than the polygraph? (Read 39707 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Gordon H. Barland
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What's more effective than the polygraph?
Mar 30th, 2002 at 11:40pm
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George,

If I understand your position correctly, you believe that the polygraph is counterproductive to the national security  because spies can so easily be trained to beat it, it gives a false sense of security to security personnel, and it causes too many false positives.

Let me ask you this:  What single security screening measure do you believe is better than the polygraph at catching spies?

Peace.

Gordon
  

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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #1 - Mar 31st, 2002 at 1:42am
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If I may add how about a more comprehensive background investigation?  I couldn't agree with George more that if one is proficient in their application of countermeasures that it will be counterproductive to the national security.
  
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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #2 - Mar 31st, 2002 at 3:11am
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Therock,

That's like saying, "A more accurate polygraph."  I'm talking about today's reality, not tomorrow's dream.

Peace.

Gordon
  

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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #3 - Mar 31st, 2002 at 4:14am
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Gordon,

I'm not aware that any screening measure exists that is capable of catching spies, and it's high time the U.S. Government stopped pretending to have found such a method in the polygraph.

Because CQT polygraphy has no validity and is easily beaten through the use of countermeasures, and because it is likely to misdirect investigative resources by wrongly casting suspicion on the innocent, counterespionage efforts would be enhanced by scrapping the polygraph.
  

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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #4 - Mar 31st, 2002 at 4:25am
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Dr. Barland,

Will you be addressing the questions raised in this thread anytime soon?
  

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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #5 - Mar 31st, 2002 at 6:05am
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What do you mean by today's reality.  Unless I'm misunderstanding, background investigations have been around for a long time and will continue to do so.  Please let me know if I'm misunderstanding anything.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Gordon H. Barland
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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #6 - Mar 31st, 2002 at 7:00am
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Therock,

I was referring to your statement about "a more comprehensive" background investigation.  I thought you were referring to something more complete than is currently conducted.  

There is a lengthy backlog of background investigations.  It takes about half a year from the time a request is submitted until the results are back...not because the investigation is so thorough, but because of the backlog.  My personal belief is that it is unlikely that future investigations will become more thorough in most cases.

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Gordon
  

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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #7 - Mar 31st, 2002 at 7:04am
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George,

I'm glad to see you don't think background investigations are very effective at catching spies.  We agree on that point.

My point is that a number of spies and would-be spies HAVE been detected by the polygraph.  The polygraph's failures at doing so are widely trumpeted; its successes are largely unsung.  

I believe that the polygraph is the single most effective screening procedure for catching spies.

Peace,

Gordon
« Last Edit: Apr 1st, 2002 at 3:44pm by Gordon H. Barland »  

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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #8 - Mar 31st, 2002 at 4:05pm
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Gordon,

I think the most effective technique for catching spies is probably to recruit spies/defectors from the intelligence services of the competition.

Polygraphy may be useful for bluffing admissions out of deluded subjects who believe in the lie detector, but as Drew Richardson observed in a memo to the FBI Laboratory director, "a technique which has no diagnostic value would require such a universal bluff and disinformation campaign as to be impractical, if not comical, to continue over a period of time."

How long do you suppose the polygraph charade can continue?

And are the admissions gained worth the substantial harm caused to the innocent people who are falsely accused in the process?
  

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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #9 - Mar 31st, 2002 at 4:20pm
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Quote:
My point is that a number of spies and would-be spies HAVE been detected by the polygraph.  The polygraph's failures at doing so are widely trumpeted; its successes are largely unsung.


I'd like to learn more about these cases, ones in which spies have been caught with the polygraph. Would you mind posting any that you feel are demonstrative? Thank you,

bt
  

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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #10 - Apr 1st, 2002 at 3:24am
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Quote:
I'd like to learn more about these cases, ones in which spies have been caught with the polygraph. Would you mind posting any that you feel are demonstrative? Thank you,

bt


BT

The poly sure didn't catch Aldrich Ames or Ana Belen Montes. Wen Ho Lee passed many and the poly gods said impossible.

Go Figure

Fred F. Wink
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Gordon H. Barland
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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #11 - Apr 1st, 2002 at 4:06pm
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George,

You said
Quote:
I think the most effective technique for catching spies is probably to recruit spies/defectors from the intelligence services of the competition.


    I agree that most major spies we've caught were turned in by somebody from a foreign intelligence.  But, as you know, it is extremely difficult to recruit anybody in a foreign intelligence service (FIS).  As with our own intelligence services, the vast majority of such people are loyal to their country, hard working, security conscious, and dedicated patriots.  

    Most American intelligence personnel who became spies after the 1960s were not recruited by an FIS; they volunteered their services to the other side.  Same thing with the vast bulk of FIS personnel who gave us information about who our spies were: they were not recruited through our efforts, they volunteered their services, usually by defecting.

    As such, counting upon FIS personnel to tell us who our spies are is reactive, not proactive.  It's not good security policy to sit back and pray for a defector.

Peace,

Gordon
  

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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #12 - Apr 1st, 2002 at 7:27pm
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Quote:
It's not good security policy to sit back and pray for a defector.


Nor is it good security policy to make believe that we have a machine that can detect lies and make it the centerpiece of our counterintelligence policy. But we Americans have done just that. Again I ask you, how long do you suppose this polygraph charade can continue?
  

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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mark Mallah
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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #13 - Apr 1st, 2002 at 8:23pm
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Gordon,

As they say in medicine:  First, do no harm.

By allowing spies to go undetected while ravaging the lives of innocent people, and lulling us into a false state of security, the polygraph most certainly inflicts harm.  Even without introducing another screening technique, elimination of the polygraph will improve national security.  Just like a doctor who discontinues prescribing medication whose side-effects exceed in harm the disease being treated.

Please also not the distinction between defectors and recruitments.  Recruiting a foreign intelligence officer or someone "in place" to provide valuable information is not a passive exercise.  Neither, for that matter, is encouraging and facilitating defections.  Nor should we exclusively rely on those channels.  They are, however, far more powerful and successful than polygraphs in uncovering spies.
  
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Re: What's more effective than the polygraph?
Reply #14 - Apr 1st, 2002 at 9:41pm
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beech trees,

Hang in there, good buddy.  I'm replying to the arguments by going down the list.  But at the risk of repeating myself, my time is limited.  I leave shortly for the University of Virginia, where I'm teaching in an advanced course to another group of Federal polygraph examiners.  The work counts towards a Master's degree.  Those who claim the polygraph isn't scientific choose to ignore the continual upgrading of standards and training.

Peace,

Gordon
  

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What's more effective than the polygraph?

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