Normal Topic Failed the USSS polygraph test today (Read 62984 times)
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Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Jul 21st, 2006 at 2:07am
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The title says it all. Today, about three hours ago, I returned from a six hour-long examination at the Secret Service's Brooklyn office here in NYC that began at 9 AM.

Let me first say that I was told not to do any research at all into the polygraph and that I foolishly followed this advice. Thus I didn't know about the overwhelming scientific evidence showing that polygraph exams are virtually unreliable, including the consistent fact about fifty percent of truthful people will fail the polygraph. I found this website only a few minutes ago as I began to actually research the polygraph exam to learn more about the experience I'd just been subjected to.

I was asked the same set of questions four times each. This was followed by a 15-20 minute break, and then the same questions were asked again in different ways, again four times for each set. Standard stuff it seemed: have you ever experimented with drugs, are you prepared to tell the truth for these questions, etc.

At any rate, according to the two agents, I consistently failed the drug question, according to their readings. Now, I don't know about you people who've taken this exam before, but I was nervous as hell throughout the whole process and only started calming down towards the end when the whole thing started becoming depressing and I knew that it was going bad anyways. I could literally feel myself react nervously to the test giver's questions and I could picture myself putting clear reactions on her computer screen. I was also filled with anxiety because this is basically my career: I screw this up and it's over. It also didn't help my concentration that each of the questions was prefaced with a pause, so I was a bit suprised by each one, as she said them suddenly and quickly it seemed. I'm sure that posted up reactions on the monitor as well.

Well, now the experience got even better. Now, as they escorted me to the test taking room one last time from the room they stuck me in to wait it out as they deliberated on their findings, they said enough was enough, no other test taking was necessary as they had the results, and virtually branded me a liar on the spot. Certainly the male agent did. He had the most bored and detached manner throughout the whole process, even when he was talking to me he seemed barely engaged, and it really angered me.

I then spent the next three hours literally telling them about my entire life in detail since grade 1 till the present, most of which had nothing to do with questions themselves. It was just I guess a futile attempt to get the two agents to see past the wavy lines and into my character, my ethics, morals, etc. I don't know if it helped at all, but it certainly was humiliating in the end as I tried to make them understand who I am. Even then, they wouldn't listen to me for at least an hour or so and kept accusing me of lying to them, of having holes in my 'stories', of holding back information, etc. I just couldn't get them to understand I really haven't taken any drugs at all, never experimented with any of that stuff (and I'm not passing judgement on those who do or have done so). It also didn't help that the main test giver, the lady, had this hardcore attitude from the beginning that once a liar/cheat/etc, always and then on, with no going back; there's no turning over a new leaf to her. That seemed pretty darn extreme, even though it didn't apply to me. Or maybe it did, since now it's clear, according to this machine, that I'm some sort of pathological liar. They kept saying to lay out everything on the table, no matter how small and insignificant, and wouldn't listen to me when I said it was all there, before proceeding to tell my life story. Well, sorry, but the universe would have to end if that was the case of me not laying everything out because I'd then be pulling something non-existant out of nowhere.

Oh, and in addition to all this loveliness, the male agent essentially accused me of taking steroids and that steroids are what I was trying to cover in the drug question. Yeah, so only with roids can a 170 lb guy in highschool, years later, become a bigger, stronger, faster, etc, guy at 235 lbs? That really pissed me off, frankly. The guy had no idea how much training I've put into lifting, the drive I had, and still have, not to be small and weak anymore. How much research into nutrition, traditional supplements like whey protein, etc.

All in all, it was a terrible, time-wasting experience, and I had a major headache on the way home, along with a sore right arm from having the blood flow reduced constantly. The polygraph was bad enough, since I was already nervous before and throughout the test, but then to be essentially interrogated afterwards...? I don't know if it was an act to try and squeeze me for additional confessions (I remained adamant the entire time about drugs and other items they kept beating me for; there was no way in hell I was going to admit to something that simply didn't exist) or something else, but it was bad regardless.

And if they were trying to trick me or squeeze me, well, that puts their whole argument about the moral integrity of their organization right out the window. I understand they can't have the wrong person entering the organization, but this experience was just...wrong. I don't know how else to express it. It was very depressing, like I was the bad guy to be caught and there was nothing I could do or say to prove otherwise. I felt I was being systematically broken down and judged by two complete strangers, while all the while feeling the need to reveal, as my only defense, personal information about my life only my fiancee, family, and close friends know about.

Anyways, in the end they said I'd be called in about 16-18 days if I get the chance to take the exam again. But I've got other law enforcement jobs lined up too in the meantime, like the NYPD exam in October. Somehow, I'll get into law enforcement, polygraphs and interrogations be damned. It's where I want to be. But the idea of taking another polygraph exam, only to become nervous as hell and offer up the same readings again, has no appeal whatsoever. In the end though, I'll most likely still take the opportunity if it's offered. The Secret Service is a good organization and I want to join the Uniform Division; I want to join their team. But it was still a horrible day.

I apologize for the long rant, somewhat off topic as well, about everything. I just had to get this off my chest as it was so frustrating, even though I've already talked with family, my fiancee, and friends about today. I realize this could be officially read and passed on, but frankly I just don't care right now. And after reading similar reports of what's happened at other polygraph tests, it's good to know I'm not the only one who felt, well, to be frank, shocked by the whole affair.

Thanks.

« Last Edit: Jul 27th, 2006 at 7:26pm by thx10050 »  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #1 - Jul 21st, 2006 at 5:11am
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Dear thx10050.

This is the only place you can rant and have people understand your frustration.  It is wrong.  I cannot offer your any words of wisdom.  It hurts to have your life completely ripped apart by people who do not know you and they trust in a machine that has no validity.

I am sorry that yet another person has to lose sleep over this process.

You have lost confidence in the system.  The system has failed the taxpayer.  The polygraph hurts the faith and trust that should exist between the taxpayer and the government.

The insanity will hopefully stop in the future.  Just do not hold your breath for change.

Everyone refuses to believe that the Emporer has no clothes.  A few individuals do their best to yell above the din of the crowd but no one wants to hear them.

Sincerely,

Fair Chance.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #2 - Jul 21st, 2006 at 6:34am
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I'm sorry to hear about your experience.  I was in the same state of shock as you two years ago.  It gets better, but you still remain angry with such a system that is inherently biased against the most honest and those who care most about getting the job.

Its too bad experiences such as yours keep surfacing.  Good luck with your future endeavors.  I can tell by your post that you are an honest person and you will make it in law enforcement somewhere.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #3 - Jul 26th, 2006 at 6:01am
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Thanks for the support, guys, it's appreciated. The whole affair was, as I said, depressing, shocking, and humiliating all rolled into one. It wasn't anything like I had been expecting. I'm half thinking I should have gone with my initial gut instinct, which was to tell them I was sorry for wasting their time and that clearly what they were looking for, in terms of me lying according to the machine, was showing up and therefore I should just go. If their job was to believe the machine, then their job is done: the machine's showing them reactions to questions that could be interpreted as lying.

But I didn't give up that easily, even though I'm not sure if that was the right decision to make for me, as a person. I'm sure it helps to look and be determined during such a process (which I was), but at the same time, I felt forced into that corner, felt like I had to tell them what I did to show them my character (again, virtually nothing of which had to do with their questions). It felt almost like a lose-lose situation and still does.

You're right, FBI-Reject: I may sound like a whiner, but it's a situation I won't easily forget. But I'll take it in and in the end, it'll make me a stronger person.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #4 - Jul 26th, 2006 at 7:59pm
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thx10050,

Its unfortunate that it takes a bad experience for people to see the light. And all the agencies now are telling candidates not to research polygraphy. But as a side little bit of humor, a majority are ....  Makes one think on just how much credit they give the process. I talked to 2 people recently in my travels and they give credit to this website for there current positions and beating the polygraph. They researched it because they were told not to.  Don't you just love it !!

Regards ....
  

Theory into Reality !!
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #5 - Aug 25th, 2006 at 6:50pm
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I'm sorry about what happened to you. I just failed my second FBI polygraph. I know exactly how you feel. I was accused of lying about my drug usage history as well. I have no drug usage history. It's the USSS loss not yours. Piss on them.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #6 - Sep 4th, 2006 at 2:39am
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I had a very similar experience a year ago with a USSS poly.  I was late to the interview because I was having difficulty finding the place; despite calling on my cell phone and asking for directions and letting them know I would be late, the examiner clearly had a bad attitude for the rest of the day.  He kept saying throughout the interview that he was having a hard time understanding why I would be late to such an important interview if I really cared about getting the job. 

The actual poly itself was just as you described.  Of course, after the poly was finished he left the room to "read the charts", which is a customary tactic.  He came back in, and just as in your case, told me I failed the drug question.  At the time I had never used an illegal drug in my life.

He kept saying over and over that he could only help me if I would "come clean", and I kept telling him that I had answered his questions fully and had nothing to add.  He even told me that my answers seemed "Clintonian", i.e. like the dodgy answers Bill Clinton used to give!  It seemed ironic to have a Secret Service agent speak so mockingly about a former President.

I openly told the examiner that I didn't believe in polygraph and that my prior experiences with it, combined with the reading I had done about it, had convinced me that there was no validity to the science of it.  This really seemed to bother him. 

I received my rejection letter not long after.

I have had other experiences applying for law enforcement positions, and most have been negative.  Despite being an excellent candidate for law enforcement employment, and despite having been offered one police job (which I turned down), the bulk of my application/interview experiences have been negative.  My experiences with the US Secret Service and the US Capitol Police rank pretty high on my list of lousy experiences in dealing with law enforcement agencies.

I have now abandoned my law enforcement ambitions in favor of other pursuits that pay more and don't employ such unsophisticated people and processes.

Best luck to you.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #7 - Sep 5th, 2006 at 8:16am
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Thanks, guys, I appreciate the feedback. I still haven't heard back yet on the polygraph results, but in the meantime, I've applied to three local police departments in Indiana (where my fiancee lives currently) and will also be taking the NYPD police exam in October, as I said earlier. Hopefully, these other experiences won't be as negative as the USSS one was, especially since Indiana requires a polygraph as part of the hiring process. Only problem is, it appears later in the hiring process than you think it should be, thus making you potentially waste a lot of time and perhaps money with the earlier aspects of the hiring process.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #8 - Sep 30th, 2006 at 10:40pm
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Just an update, but I received my letter of rejection from the USSS today. It's fine with me: I'd already decided that it'd come down to either me rejecting them or they rejecting me.

I sent out two more applications to police departments in Indiana (five total so far). The state requires a polygraph as well, so if anyone's interested (and if I make it that far in the application process for any of the departments), I can post my experiences in that regard later on.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #9 - Oct 1st, 2006 at 11:18pm
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thx10050 wrote on Jul 21st, 2006 at 2:07am:
The title says it all.


Why can't thx10050 file a civil suit against the polygraphers and USSS?  IF everyone did that, maybe they'd spend more time in court answering for their schenagans than wasting taxpayers money?  Any lawyers out there?
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #10 - Mar 4th, 2009 at 4:58pm
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Horrible just horrible, why does it have to be like this? we want to serve our country but b4 that we have to be treated like a criminal..... something wrong with that picture? i think so. i will make an attemt to apply for the secret service but i first wanted to see what other people had to say about the test. i'm not mush of a nervous person but when getting slammed by a polygraph test i know dam well i will be nervous...anyway sorry for the people that did fail .. and question for thx10050, what other questions did they ask? how weird were they? i have been really curious about that ,thanks.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #11 - Apr 27th, 2011 at 9:51pm
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Same experience just happend today. Its from the D.C. location and the polygraph examiner is a master of deception, acts nice and gets you all comfortable and bam he's in your face accusing of you feeding you "oh your not in the parameters, your failing, your categorized as a type b dishonest person blah blah blah" I have spoke the truth and nothing but the truth, why would I make it that far and risk by lying. I have the worste headache ever, haven't ate anything for 6 hours, and been interrogated afterwards. This is unfair and really hope there is a way for this to be resolved. It's like the examiner WANTS you to change an answer, but I stood my ground and guess he got pissed.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #12 - Mar 14th, 2018 at 7:03pm
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@ thx10050


Do you remember the agentís name who conducted your test? This sounds eerily familiar down to the Clinton quote.
  
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Re: Failed the USSS polygraph test today
Reply #13 - Mar 14th, 2018 at 7:09pm
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Do you remember the agentís name?
  
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