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Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01 (Read 9890 times)
Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box Mark Mallah
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Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Dec 12th, 2001 at 8:08pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
Tonight (12/12/01) at 8 p.m. local time, 60 Minutes II will air a segment on polygraph screening.  I think readers and participants on this site will find it very interesting, and will recognize many names, including George Maschke.  I was also interviewed for the segment.

Hope you will be able to tune in.

Mark Mallah
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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #1 - Dec 12th, 2001 at 8:48pm
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Mark,

Depending on the viewer's time zone, 60 Minutes II might be shown at a time other than 8:00 PM. I agree that readers of this site should find the segment very interesting. Check your local TV guide for scheduling information.
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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #2 - Dec 12th, 2001 at 10:58pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
http://www.tvguide.com has an excellent online "TV Listings" feature.

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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #3 - Dec 13th, 2001 at 7:12pm
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George and Mark

Congratulations on the show!!!!

I was suprised to see Dr. Honts gulping all that air when he responded to the questioning regarding validity. His "test" study really didn't show any "reaction" other than a slight increase in perspiration. He probably did his cause more harm than good. If you didn't pay attention you could have missed that they admitted Aldrich Ames "passed" his polygraph.


Dr. Reed suprised me with her revelations about polygraphy. Has she always had that stance or did she have a change of heart? 

Finally Ed Rollins(Rawlings?) the DOE polygraph guru had the great quote "I would only be polygraphed by a guy with 20 years of experience". I wonder what he is afraid of from a "rookie" Deception perhaps?



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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #4 - Dec 13th, 2001 at 9:01pm
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Fred F. wrote on Dec 13th, 2001 at 7:12pm:
Finally Ed Rollins(Rawlings?) the DOE polygraph guru had the great quote "I would only be polygraphed by a guy with 20 years of experience". I wonder what he is afraid of from a "rookie" Deception perhaps?


Fred, the person in question was former Department of Energy counterintelligence chief Ed Curran, who was seconded to DOE from the FBI. Curran had previously overseen the polygraph jihad at the CIA after the 1994 arrest of convicted spy Aldrich Ames (who beat the polygraph). Mr. Curran has recently retired from the Bureau.

Here's an impromptu transript of the exchange to which you refer:

Scott Pelley: One of the most effective things about the polygraph is fear of the polygraph.

Ed Curran: Absolutely. There's no question about it. I fear the polygraph.

Scott Pelley: It's all about the examiner, isn't it?

Ed Curran: It's -- exactly. Absolutely.

Scott Pelley: It's not the machine.

Ed Curran: It -- absolutely. Absolutely. Nothing to do with the machine. Any machine that [unclear] measure your pulse rate, your blood pressure, whatever -- it's the examiner, how he sits down with the person beforehand, the type of questions he asks, his interpretation of those questions, and you have to rely heavily -- that's why I'm saying -- I don't want to see some young kid out of polygraph school. I want to see somebody that's been doing it twenty years, when they polygraph me.


Curran's last comment raises the question, "With which hapless souls are polygraphers to gain their 20 years of experience before they become fit to polygraph the likes of Ed Curran?"
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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #5 - Dec 13th, 2001 at 9:26pm
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George wrote:

"Curran's last comment raises the question, "With which hapless souls are polygraphers to gain their 20 years of experience before they become fit to polygraph the likes of Ed Curran?""

Great question George; it brought a good chuckle.  Ultimately though, the question is moot because the typical federal polygraph examiner who has been at it for twenty years does not really have twenty years experience; he has one year of experience repeated twenty times, or maybe 6 months of experience repeated 40 times.


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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #6 - Dec 13th, 2001 at 9:34pm
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Mark Mallah wrote on Dec 13th, 2001 at 9:26pm:
Ultimately though, the question is moot because the typical federal polygraph examiner who has been at it for twenty years does not really have twenty years experience; he has one year of experience repeated twenty times, or maybe 6 months of experience repeated 40 times.


Well said.
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George W. Maschke
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Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"

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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #7 - Dec 13th, 2001 at 10:31pm
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George, Mark, et al.

Congratulations.  I hope this coup will help hasten the polygraph's demise.  Mr. Curran's very last comment hit particularly close to home.  His reason for wanting an "experienced" polygrapher should he be polygraphed was very telling.  He said:

...because, you know...any little problem [with the polygraph] here...you know, I'm, I'm finished.

Finished? Do you think?  Many of us are living the nightmare, Mr. Curran.

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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #8 - Dec 13th, 2001 at 11:09pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
Firstly, I would like to say thank you to all those leading the fight against the fraud known as the polygraph.  George, I am particularly appreciative and glad to know that someone as persistent, articulate, motivated, and extremely intelligent as yourself is leading the way.  Keep up the incredible work--and fight!  I hope you are getting the thanks you deserve.  Mark Mallah said it best when I mentioned your name in an email:  "They messed with the wrong hombre." 

Secondly, I would like to say that the "60 Minutes II" segment on polygraphs was a complete success in helping to further the revelation of the fraud known as a polygraph test.

The entire tone of the segment was anti-polygraph.
It started with a demonstration on how the polygraph can wrongfully ruin one's life--no matter how classy the person may be, was filled up in the middle with negative research findings that suggest the polygraph is useless,  and ended with a historical note revealing that the inventor of the polygraph was also some whack-job who was responsible for a comicbook series.  I think most who saw the segment were left SERIOUSLY questioning the use of the polygraph (atleast in a pre-employment screening setting).

Here are some interesting notes:

1.They never mentioned ANYTHING about countermeasures, or the growing problem of countermeasures.  This was surprising considering George Maschke and Charles Honts were two of the people interviewed....?

2.The interviewed stated to Honts, "No one in the FBI polygraph community believes in a False-Positive," yet Ed Curran himself stated, "We need to face the fact that someone who comes up deceptive on the charts MAY be lying."  What happened to the idea of a full-proof assurance that someone who comes up deceptive is definitely lying?
Ed Curran himself admitted there is room for error!

3.The statement by Curran that the polygraph is important because of the fear factor it creates was a big mistake for him.  When someone hears a statement like the one made by Curran, it will only prompt them to do research to see what the test is all about.  In doing that research, people will surely come across info about countermeasures.  He basically is admitting that the test itself is junk by making such a statement.  People will undoubtedly avoid making confessions, and turn to the use of countermeasures as the result of his statement.


4.WHAT THE HELL ARE PEOPLE SUPPOSED TO THINK WHEN THEY GO IN AND GET A POLYGRAPH DONE by someone who has only been in the business for a few years (considering Ed Curran said that he hopes he gets one done by someone who has been around in the business for 20 years!).  What an absolute joke!  Sure...let everyone else have a shot at getting screwed by the polygraph because of an inexperienced examiner...just let ME get a good one.
If you read this message Ed, you can burn with others like yourself...brainwashed bastard.

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Unofficial Transcript
Reply #9 - Dec 14th, 2001 at 5:48am
Mark & Quote Quote 
AntiPolygraph.org has received an unofficial transcript prepared by a viewer.

Final Exam
Produced by Shawn Efran
60 Minutes II Show, Broadcast 12/12/2001
Segment Narrator/Interviewer: Scott Pelley


- Show Preview/Introduction (recording started slightly late) -

[Scenes/images: Honts' Lab, strip chart on computer screen, panel interview, Shiela Reid]

Pelley: ...after September 11'th it's become an urgent question, because just when America needs its best and brightest in the war on terror, qualified men and women like these are being turned away by the FBI and the CIA because they failed the test. A test, whose creator tells us tonight, is no better than Voodoo.

- Main Segment, Approximately 14 minutes, 30 seconds -

[Scenes/images: Pelley in front of giant strip chart comic/graphic in background, with people jumping and falling in front of it.]

Pelley: You're about to meet several people who want to lend their talents to the war on terrorism, but they have been barred from serving their country by a test, a test that they call a scientific fraud. Because of serious doubts about its accuracy, the polygraph or lie detector test, is banned in nearly every court, and has been outlawed for use in private business. But still, thousands of the nation's best and brightest, involved in national security are required to pass it. For some, it becomes their final exam.

One of them is Mark Mallah. His job as an FBI agent was hunting down Russian spies. His career was on the rise. Until one day, he and some of his colleagues in the New York office were summoned for their polygraph exam.

[Scenes/images: close-up of Mallah]

Mark Mallah: I'm just bewildered, absolutely bewildered, because I'm sitting there telling the truth, and he's insisting that I'm lying to him.

[Scenes/images: photo of Mallah being presented a badge]

Pelley: Mallah says the FBI had no reason to be suspicious of him. The bureau wouldn't comment on his case, but Mallah told us that most of the members of the counter-intelligence unit were being screened.

[Scenes/images: close-up of Mallah, back and forth from Pelley to Mallah]

Pelley: You weren't singled out?

Mallah: Absolutely not.

Pelley: The heart of the question was, had you been meeting with any foreign intelligence officers, off the books if you will, without the FBI knowing about it.

Mallah: Right, exactly.

Pelley: And you told them what?

Mallah: I told them no.

Pelley: That was true?

Mallah: Absolutely.

[Scenes/images: close-up of needles and paper of chart recorder; Pelley]

Pelley: But the FBI polygraph examiner didn't think so. After that polygraph, and another, Mallah became the target of a spy hunt. They suspended him, took his badge and his gun. FBI agents searched his home and carried away his bank records, his computer, even his love letters to his wife. Mallah says he was under surveillance 24 hours a day, sometimes even from the air.

[Scenes/images: close-up of Mallah, back-forth between Pelley and Mallah]

Mallah: So I looked up and I saw an airplane right above my car. I go home. I look up. The airplane is circling above my home. When I saw that, I just couldn't believe it. I thought, you know, these people have lost it. That this has gotten really irrational. And, essentially, this is war.

[Scenes/images: strip chart paper with squiggly lines, video of Ames in custody, Hansen photo, Lee being released]

Pelley: Thousands of federal employees know, and fear, these lines. Polygraph screening is spreading rapidly after spy scandals including the CIA's Aldridge Ames, the FBI's Robert Hansen and the Wen Ho Lee investigation at Los Alamos.

[Scenes/images: Honts' lab, with female student in chair, being prepared for examination.]

Honts: The first sensors that are placed on are the respiration sensors.

[Scenes/images: blood pressure cuff being put onto arm, Honts at computer]

Pelley: The basic idea hasn't changed since the 1920's. The polygraph measures breathing, blood pressure, and sweating, looking for stress that might betray a lie. Doctor Charles Honts is a leading authority. He's chair of the psychology department at Boise State University in Idaho. He showed us the latest machine with one of his students.

[Scenes/images: close-up of sensors on fingers]

Honts: There are two sensors that go on the fingers that measure how much the hand is sweating.

Pelley: Now, watch her tell a lie.

Honts: Before the year 2000 did you ever tell even one lie in your entire life?

Student: No.

Pelley: No change in the top two lines. That's her breathing, but look at the third.

[Scenes/images: zooms to close-up of computer screen displaying strip charts]

Honts: And you'll notice that Wendy is, in fact, responding to that.

Pelley: That's the sweat test.

[Scenes/images: various views around the lab/office]

Pelley: Strictly speaking, the lines that we see going across the screen, they don't tell us whether Wendy is lying or not?

Honts: That's true.

Pelley: What do they say?

Honts: Well, what they tell us is what questions are most important to her.

Pelley: That's critical because an innocent person might react to a question for many reasons, even if they're being honest.

Honts: I think the most common one would be that a person has been falsely accused, they're nervous about taking the test, they may not be confident in the polygraph examiner.

Pelley: Sometimes they're concerned about how they answer, even though they're going to answer truthfully.

Honts: Yeah, that's correct.

Pelley: It's up to the examiner to decide whether any given reaction is a lie. When an innocent person shows a reaction, that's called a false positive. And, the federal screening program relies on the belief that false positives are extremely rare. We've been told by people who have run polygraph programs for the federal government that there's no such thing as a false positive, that there's always something behind it when somebody shows deception on a polygraph chart.

Honts: I think that's ridiculous. All the research that's been done in the laboratory - we get true false positives in the laboratory. We know from the field research that occasionally there are innocent people that are accused of crimes and they fail tests even though they absolutely had nothing to do with the crime. So, I think that's ridiculous.

Pelley: You believe in the polygraph. Let's be clear.

Honts: Yes

Pelley: You think it works?

Honts: On criminal cases, yes.

Pelley: When you're asking specific questions about specific crimes.

Honts: Absolutely.

Pelley: But, as a screening device for tens of thousands of federal employees?

Honts: I think every piece of scientific evidence says that it does not work well in that setting.

Pelley: Doesn't work well because screening questions by their nature are broad, as opposed to a criminal investigation in which the questions are more specific, such as "did you fire the gun?"

Honts: If you're asked that very broad kind of question, then the person has to think, about did I do that or didn't I do that? What's covered by this? What isn't covered by that? So, it's much more difficult than if I'm asking, "Did you shoot John Doe?"

[Scenes/images: office with Curran]

Pelley: Ed Curran does not believe in false positives. He's a former FBI agent who oversaw screening at the CIA after the Ames case.

[Scenes/images: Video of Ames in custody, Curran]

Curran: People who can't get through a polygraph are not being honest with you. I mean, you've gotta face the fact that that person may be lying.

[Scenes/images: Office of Counterintelligence sign, Curran at desk using phone]

Pelley: When Congress ordered the testing of more than eighteen thousand employees of the nuclear labs, Curran was put in charge of that screening program for the Department of Energy.

[Scenes/images: Curran in office]

Curran: I think the polygraph is an invaluable technique as long as it's used in conjunction with other investigative techniques - background investigation, interviews.

Pelley: Mr. Curran, there is not a court in this land who would accept this
as evidence.

Curran: Absolutely.

Pelley: There is a federal law that prevents every private company out there from using polygraphs to screen employees.

Curran: Absolutely.

Pelley: Why is the government all out there, by itself using, embracing, the polygraph for national security?

Curran: Ah, look at Mr. Hansen. Look at Aldrich Ames. These are not Wal-Mart employees. These people have done tremendous damage to the United States intelligence community, to the United States government. They have spied. They're traitors. And we have to, as a government, have procedures in place to defend ourselves against that.

[Scenes/images: video of Ames in custody, Hansen photo]

Pelley: For the record, Ames got through his polygraph, and Hansen never took one.

[Scenes/images: six people in two rows of chairs facing Pelley.]

Pelley: Often the people who are blackballed by the polygraph are people like these. So, if the polygraph examiners are to be believed, I am sitting with spies, liars and drug addicts.

Voices from Group: pretty much, yes, that's correct...

Pelley: All of them say the polygraph kept them from serving their country. Eric Croddy applied to the FBI. He's a chemical and biological terrorism researcher who also speaks Chinese.

Croddy: From all I could tell, it seemed like pretty much a done deal. Then it was time to face a polygrapher, who basically told me I was being deceptive about drug use. I've never used drugs in my life.

Pelley: Never?

Croddy: Never.

[Scenes/images: Maschke, old photo holding rifle, letters signed by Sessions, Freeh]

Pelley: George Maschke is an Army reserve captain who speaks Arabic. He translated for the FBI during the Gulf War and the '93 World Trade Center bombing. Two FBI directors praised his work. So, he applied for a job.

Maschke: I was accused of having released classified information to unauthorized persons, of having unauthorized contact with a foreign intelligence service, with selling drugs, with using drugs, and falsifying my application, at a time when I held a Top Secret clearance.

Pelley: So, he was saying you were a spy.

Maschke: In so many words, yes.

[Scenes/images: Group, McGuckin]

Pelley: Dave McGuckin applied to the Secret Service. He says he had trouble for a reason that he never would have imagined.

McGuckin: When he asked me the questions about foreign contacts, being a spy, etc., etc., and he comes back and says, well you're having a little trouble with this area. The machine's reading sorta funny.

Pelley: The espionage area?

McGuckin: Yes, the espionage area. And I'm thinking to myself - What? Is this for real? I mean, what's going on here?

Pelley: What was your job when you applied for the Secret Service?

McGuckin: Ahm, a teacher. I'm a school teacher.

[Scenes/images: Sheila Reid]

Pelley: Why would a school teacher, an army captain, and an FBI agent all be accused of espionage? We asked the scientist who developed the espionage test, in the mid-nineties.

[Scenes/images: front of DODPI facility from outside]

Pelley: Doctor Sheila Reed was a researcher at the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute. This is the temple of polygraph. It's where all federal examiners are trained. Reed has a PhD in psychology, and was the lead scientist on the espionage test.

[Scenes/images: Reed being interviewed]

Pelley: You developed something at the polygraph institute called the Test for Espionage and Sabotage.

Reed: Yes.

Pelley: The Department of Energy is slated to test eighteen thousand employees, against your test. What do you think of that?

Reed: It scares me. Uhm, the whole issue of screening scares me.

Pelley: Reed says her espionage test did work most of the time in the laboratory, but was never dependable in the field. Tens of thousands of federal employees stake their careers on it, every few years.

Reed: That's true.

Pelley: And now you're telling us that you don't believe it works.

Reed: I don't believe it works. I don't believe the process works, and I don't believe in the accuracy of any format, in that situation.

Pelley: Does your test catch spies?

Reed: No.

Pelley: It's the gold standard, Doctor. It's used all over the federal government.

Reed: That doesn't make it any more valid or accurate or useful.

[Scenes/images: Zooming out viewing DoDPI facility]

Pelley: Reid left the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute in 1996, and not on good terms, but no one who would talk to us questioned the quality of her work. Even scientists who are still with the Defense Polygraph Institute have their doubts about screening. Last summer, no less than the chief of research at the Institute told the national academy of sciences that polygraph suffers from what he called "an extreme dearth of research."

[Scenes/images: Honts in lecture hall]

Pelley: And listen to what Charles Honts found when he measured the reliability of one espionage test in an experiment that he worked on for the Defense Polygraph Institute.

Pelley: What were the chances that you would catch a spy with that test?

Honts: Ah, about one in five, as I recall.

Pelley: 20 Percent?

Honts: Yes. So it was actually worse than flipping a coin.

[Scenes/images: Curran, counterintelligence sign, Curran office, Curran and Pelley]

Pelley: Ed Curran acknowledges that there can be abuses. When he set up the screening program at the nuclear labs, he had every questionable test reviewed by four examiners. He says any suspicion should be confirmed with hard evidence.

Curran: When an agency would not take individual adverse action against an employee based solely on a polygraph. There's nobody in their right mind would do that, because it is not scientific. It's up to interpretation of the examiner. It's up to quality control. It's up to the questions that are asked.

Pelley: If the polygraph is, as you put it, not scientific, not conclusive

Curran: Correct.

Pelley: What good is it?

Curran: It's a very, very, effective screening device, because, if people believe that that machine's gonna catch them in the lie, they're more willing to make statements or admissions to you prior to the test, or during the test.

Pelley: To your knowledge, in a routine screening, of the general population of agents or employees, has a spy ever been caught by a polygraph examination?

Curran: Not that I know of. Fairness to myself, by saying, you know, have you ever caught anybody, well, we haven't really polygraph'd everybody either.

[Scenes/images: six people in two rows of chairs facing Pelley.]

Pelley: Eric Croddy and some of the others in our panel are suing. They want a full background investigation to clear their names.

[Scenes/images: Croddy close-up.]

Croddy: I laugh because it's unmanly to cry, but at the time I was a sobbing wreck. It was extremely traumatic, considering what I had invested up until that point, then having something like a pseudo-scientific fraud deny me the chance to serve my country.

[Scenes/images: Wright close-up.]

Pelley: Susan Wright is a crime lab scientist, polygraphed by the
FBI. You're branded with the scarlet P.

Wright: That's correct.

Unknown: We're done.

Wright: That's correct. No agency will touch us.

[Scenes/images: Pelley and Mallah walking along sidewalk, sitting in a room]

Pelley: FBI agent Mark Mallah did get a full investigation, and after almost two years, he was cleared. Mallah resigned anyway, figuring that his FBI career would never be the same. Did anybody ever, ever come to you and say, Mark, sorry, we must have been wrong?

Mallah: No. The only people that came to me were my colleagues. My colleagues on foreign counter-intelligence. And one of them said, "there but for the grace of God, go I."

Pelley: God, or the polygraph examiners, in whom so many are now obliged to place their faith.

[Scenes/images: Office with Curran]

Pelley: One of the most effective things about the polygraph is fear of the polygraph.

Curran: Absolutely. No question about it. I fear the polygraph.

Pelley: It's all about the examiner, isn't it?

Curran: It's the examiner, absolutely.

Pelley: It's not the machine?

Curran: It has absolutely nothing to do with the machine. Any machine could man, eh, measure your pulse rate, your blood pressure, whatever. It's the examiner, how he sits down with the person beforehand, the type of questions he asks, his interpretation of those questions. And you have to rely heavily on that. That's why I'm saying; I don't wanna see some young kid out of polygraph school. I wanna see somebody who's been doin' this for twenty years, when they polygraph me. Because, you know, any little problem here, you know, I'm, I'm finished.

[Scenes/images: Pelley in front of giant strip chart comic/graphic in background, with people jumping and falling in front of it.]

Pelley: Finally, a historical note. The polygraph technique was developed in the 1920's by Willam Marston, a Harvard psychologist who is actually better known for something else. Marston is the creator of the comic book character Wonder Woman, whose lasso of truth forced evildoers to confess their lies.
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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #10 - Dec 15th, 2001 at 1:29pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
Great show!  
My experience with the FBI is practically identical to what Eric Croddy described on the show.... After committing almost 1 ˝ years of my life to the process, after passing all the tests and interviews and finally receiving The Letter, I was facing a polygrapher-turned- interrogator who was trying very hard to convince me that I should come clean about using drugs….  Like Eric,  I had never used drugs in my entire life…

Mark and George, do you know how to contact Eric?  I’d like to find out more about his pending lawsuit.    

Albert Stopniewicz
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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #11 - Dec 15th, 2001 at 1:34pm
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Albert,

Check your private messages; I'll send you Eric Croddy's e-mail address there.

You will also be interested in AntiPolygraph.org's Personal Statements page. (If you'd be willing to add your own statement, please contact info@antipolygraph.org.)
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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #12 - Dec 15th, 2001 at 9:38pm
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Albert,

Also note that the pleadings submitted to the court in this case are available on AntiPolygraph.org's Polygraph Litigation page.

Furthermore, for more information, you may wish to contact Mark Zaid, who is the attorney handling the case. He can be reached at zaidMS@aol.com.
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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #13 - Jan 24th, 2007 at 12:15am
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The 60 Minutes II story "Final Exam" may now be viewed here:

https://antipolygraph.org/blog/?p=107
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« Last Edit: Feb 7th, 2007 at 10:17am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: Poly Segment on 60 Minutes II, 12/12/01
Reply #14 - Jan 24th, 2007 at 1:07am
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Interesting segment, George. Thank you for posting it. Smiley

Oh, while I was at YouTube, I noticed quite a few interesting video links about polygraph, including this one filmed in England, in which you are a co-star, George. Hilarious!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqjMhNGyDyQ&mode=related&search=
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