Normal Topic Letter Published re Polygraph, Wen Ho Lee (Read 6111 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mark Mallah
Very Senior User
****
Offline



Posts: 131
Joined: Mar 16th, 2001
Gender: Male
Letter Published re Polygraph, Wen Ho Lee
Jul 1st, 2002 at 7:36pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
Visitors to this site may be interested in a letter I wrote to Commentary Magazine, published in its July issue, responding to an article entitled: "How Inept is the FBI?", by Gabriel Schoenfeld.  Schoenfeld's response, where he discusses a polygraph-induced CIA debacle, is also worth reading.

Probably even more interesting is a spirited exchange between Notra Trulock and Schoenfeld on Trulock's role in the Wen Ho Lee investigation.

Here is the link.  I suspect this link will only be good for the month of July.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/letters.htm#C

Here is the text of my letter:

To the Editor:

As a former FBI counterintelligence agent who—due solely to polygraph charts—was falsely accused of engaging in espionage for Israel, I found Gabriel Schoenfeld’s article to be on target. In my own case, a furious two-year investigation ended with a grudging exoneration.

Mr. Schoenfeld is one of the depressingly few writers to recognize the costly delusion of using the polygraph to protect national security. He correctly notes that traitors have defeated the device repeatedly—most recently Ana Belen Montes, who was spying for Cuba while serving as the Pentagon’s top analyst of Cuban affairs. Incredibly, one of the conditions of her plea bargain is that she submit to regular polygraph tests. Linking this back to Wen Ho Lee and Chinese espionage, there are disturbing indications, noted by the Washington Post (October 19, 2000), that the CIA spurned a potentially invaluable 1995 walk-in purporting to be a Chinese missile expert because he “failed” a polygraph.

Despite not having what Mr. Schoenfeld calls “a thinking man’s approach to law enforcement,” under the right conditions the FBI is capable of spectacular work born of thoroughness and determination. Where the target does not fit neatly into its investigative templates, however, or where imagination and agility are more important than thoroughness, the FBI’s stultifying bureaucracy and ossified thinking are debilitating obstacles.

Mr. Schoenfeld asks whether an indirect link exists between the blunders of the Wen Ho Lee investigation and the case of the mole Robert Hanssen. For me the issue is larger, and already answered by Mr. Schoenfeld: the organization learns nothing and forgets nothing. For example, while the Aldrich Ames case and now the Ana Belen Montes case (and others) should have demonstrated the susceptibility of the polygraph to defeat (the false-negative problem, that is, the device’s failure to recognize lies in all cases), my own experience should have demonstrated the dangers of embarking on monumentally wasteful investigations instigated by polygraph results suggesting deception (the false-positive problem, that is, the device’s failure to recognize truthful responses in all cases). Instead, in the wake of the Hanssen case the FBI has inexplicably concluded that the polygraph, which has never caught a single spy, ought to be embraced even more.

Incidentally, the original polygraph results that exculpated Wen Ho Lee were themselves re-characterized by the FBI to conform to their subsequent suspicion of his guilt. All this typifies an organization that is more prosecutorial than objective and that resists change, accountability, and critical self-evaluation.

  
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
Global Moderator
*****
Online


Make-believe science yields
make-believe security.

Posts: 6060
Location: The Hague, The Netherlands
Joined: Sep 29th, 2000
Re: Letter Published re Polygraph, Wen Ho Lee
Reply #1 - Jul 1st, 2002 at 9:39pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
Mark,

Thanks for sharing this; it's very interesting! In the Commentary letters to which you link, the simplistic faith that former Department of Energy counterintelligence boss Notra Trulock shows in polygraphy is truly frightening. I think that Trulock (and his successor at DOE, Ed Curran) are living proof that intelligence is not necessarily a prerequisite for advancement to the highest levels of the counterintelligence field.

More on the use (and abuse) of the polygraph in the Wen Ho Lee case is to be found in Chapter 2 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, which has been updated with the 2nd edition. There we raise the point you made in your letter about the 1995 Chinese walk-in who was turned away by CIA because he "failed" a polygraph "test." This appears to be a tremendous intelligence fiasco from which, it seems, absolutely no lessons have been learned by CIA and FBI headquarters.

I would also recommend Dan Stober and Ian Hoffman's book, A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the Politics of Nuclear Espionage (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001) as well as Wen Ho Lee's book My Country Versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused of Being a Spy (New York: Hyperion, 2001).

With regard to the CIA's self-destructive polygraph crusade after the arrest of Aldrich Ames (who twice beat the "test"), see my message board post Robert Baer on Ed Curran's CIA Polygraph Crackdown.
« Last Edit: Jul 2nd, 2002 at 11:31am by George W. Maschke »  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
Wire: @ap_org
Threema: A4PYDD5S
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
Back to top
IP Logged
 
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mark Mallah
Very Senior User
****
Offline



Posts: 131
Joined: Mar 16th, 2001
Gender: Male
Re: Letter Published re Polygraph, Wen Ho Lee
Reply #2 - Jul 1st, 2002 at 10:18pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
George,

Thanks for your comments, and for pointing us to further information.  The information in my letter about the 1995 Chinese walk-in and the Montes case I learned from this site.  Thank you.

Trulock's uncritical acceptance of the polygraph is indeed frightening.  I think that there is an endemic lack of critical thinking throughout much of the national security establishment.  For someone charged with counterintelligence to premise investigations on a polygraph, without checking/verifying the validity of that premise, is inexcusable, and ubiquitous.

I'm glad you linked to the except of Baer's book.  I had missed that the first time you posted it.  Baer's account of Curran's rampage through the Agency suggests the actions of an insecure demagogue.  Curran's performance on 60 Minutes II http://antipolygraph.org/cgi-bin/forums/YaBB.pl?board=Action&action=display&num=... (transcript available here) does nothing to dispel that.
  
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mark Mallah
Very Senior User
****
Offline



Posts: 131
Joined: Mar 16th, 2001
Gender: Male
Re: Letter Published re Polygraph, Wen Ho Lee
Reply #3 - Jul 1st, 2002 at 11:01pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
This matter may be getting more attention than we thought.  Today's Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web,
http://opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110001928 links to the letter exchange linked to above.  Their reason for doing so is different:  to point out how the FBI now asks applicants whether they are retarded.  Opinion Journal has a link to the application form.

Maybe you can be an FBI Agent if you are retarded--as long as you pass the polygraph.
  
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box PROAc
New User
*
Offline



Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 18th, 2002
Re: Letter Published re Polygraph, Wen Ho Lee
Reply #4 - Jul 4th, 2002 at 3:29pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
Federal agencies are required to have an affirmative action program for people with disabilities under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Some agencies are great while some are so-so. Excepted (or is it excerpt) agencies like the CIA, NSA, DIA, try to avoid it but they are complying with it now. The EEOC don't enforce it because most disabled people int he federal governmen are not minority. Imagine a sign language interpreter for the deaf being polygraph over and over. However, PWDs cannot become law enforcement officers due to the pre-employment medical exams and psychological exams. But what wrong with a blind special agent chasing bad guys with a sightseeing helper? Or a deaf special agent with an interpreter telling him what the bad guy said while chasing? Or a wheelchair user.... They can be FBI or DEA or Secret Service or ATF civilians.
Mark, maybe your using of retarded is to make a point, but for those who have a disabled family member, can be offensive.

<<Posted by: Mark Mallah Posted on: 07/01/02 at 16:01:09
This matter may be getting more attention than we thought.  Today's Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web,
http://opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110001928 links to the letter exchange linked to above.  Their reason for doing so is different:  to point out how the FBI now asks applicants whether they are retarded.  Opinion Journal has a link to the application form. Maybe you can be an FBI Agent if you are retarded--as long as you pass the polygraph.>> 
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mark Mallah
Very Senior User
****
Offline



Posts: 131
Joined: Mar 16th, 2001
Gender: Male
Re: Letter Published re Polygraph, Wen Ho Lee
Reply #5 - Jul 4th, 2002 at 6:53pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
Quote:
Mark, maybe your using of retarded is to make a point, but for those who have a disabled family member, can be offensive.


My apologies to anyone I may have offended.  No disparagement at all intended to the mentally retarded or disabled.
  
Back to top
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Letter Published re Polygraph, Wen Ho Lee

Please type the characters that appear in the image. The characters must be typed in the same order, and they are case-sensitive.
Open Preview Preview

You can resize the textbox by dragging the right or bottom border.
Insert Hyperlink Insert FTP Link Insert Image Insert E-mail Insert Media Insert Table Insert Table Row Insert Table Column Insert Horizontal Rule Insert Teletype Insert Code Insert Quote Edited Superscript Subscript Insert List /me - my name Insert Marquee Insert Timestamp No Parse
Bold Italicized Underline Insert Strikethrough Highlight
                       
Insert Preformatted Text Left Align Centered Right Align
resize_wb
resize_hb







Max 200000 characters. Remaining characters:
Text size: pt
More Smilies
View All Smilies
Collapse additional features Collapse/Expand additional features Smiley Wink Cheesy Grin Angry Sad Shocked Cool Huh Roll Eyes Tongue Embarrassed Lips Sealed Undecided Kiss Cry
Attachments More Attachments Allowed file types: txt doc docx ics psd pdf bmp jpe jpg jpeg gif png swf zip rar tar gz 7z odt ods mp3 mp4 wav avi mov 3gp html maff pgp gpg
Maximum Attachment size: 500000 KB
Attachment 1:
X