Normal Topic Am I supposed to admit drug use? (Read 39992 times)
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Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Feb 28th, 2007 at 12:27am
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So here is the situation. I have a few opportunities for employment, each of which requires me to pass a polygraph test. I have tried marijuana(dozen times probably), cocaine(like 3 or 4 times) and opium once. It has been 3 or 4 years since I have touched any sort of drug, and I will never touch them again. The question is, do I go into the exam and be 100% honest about my drug use or will that automatically disqualify me from getting a security clearance? Should I go in and absolutely deny everything and just hope for the best? Other than that, I have absolutely nothing in my past that I am ashamed of or that could possibly hurt me.

To be completely honest, the polygraph absolutely mortifies me, especially after I have read this website. The last thing I want is to be kept from clearances(I DO have a secret level clearance now) because i did a few stupid things early in college.

  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Reply #1 - Feb 28th, 2007 at 2:23pm
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In answer to the question in the title of your post, yes, you are supposed to answer questions about illegal drug use truthfully. Applicants for positions of public trust have an ethical obligation to answer relevant questions honestly. While your past drug use would presently preclude you from employment with, for example, the FBI (see current employment drug policy), it would not necessarily preclude you from holding a security clearance with another federal agency.

Keep in mind, however, that telling the truth is no guarantee that you will pass a polygraph examination, as many have learned the hard way. The "test" depends on trickery, not science, and while you may (and should) be completely honest with your polygrapher regarding relevant issues, your polygrapher will not be completely candid with you, as polygraph procedure depends on the polygrapher lying to and otherwise deceiving the person being "tested" about the nature of the procedure. Worse still, the "test" is inherently biased against the most truthful examinees. You'll find these deceptions exposed in Chapter 3 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. Chapter 4 provides suggestions for reducing the risk of a false positive outcome.
  

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Re: Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Reply #2 - Feb 28th, 2007 at 5:43pm
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Ethics would say yes be honest.  George advocated it then gave you an option to defeat the polygraph by using his book to defeat the exam on the pretext that polygraph is not an accurate measure of truth.  So will you use ethics and be honest, or use the countermeasures and be dishonest?
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Reply #3 - Feb 28th, 2007 at 6:35pm
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Lienot,

The option I suggest to Jinsankon -- and to all -- is to answer relevant questions honestly and to make an informed choice regarding whether to use countermeasures to protect against the risk of a false positive outcome.
  

George W. Maschke
I am generally available in the chat room from 3 AM to 3 PM Eastern time.
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
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Re: Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Reply #4 - Feb 28th, 2007 at 8:18pm
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Ethics would say yes be honest. †George advocated it then gave you an option to defeat the polygraph by using his book to defeat the exam on the pretext that polygraph is not an accurate measure of truth. †So will you use ethics and be honest, or use the countermeasures and be dishonest?


LieNot,

Lets see, to believe authors like Lykken, Clifton, Maschke, Furedy, or even Doug Williams on polygraphs. Or the option is to listen to you and your lack of anything credible. Hmmmm,  I don't think their is any contest here. Unless you have something of academic or scientific worth to support your position. Which doesn't exist, unless its something written by other polygraphers. I just love professional nepotism, you can always guarantee your position !! But how about some real verbage with some substance next time, not just a cheap shot and go back into hiding. And by your previous posts, if your not worried about countermeasures why even post. The more people that have indepth polygraph knowlege, the less that have any fear of it. And without the fear, you have nothing, except a nice little interrogation tool that doesn't intimidate anyone. And eventually its use becomes mute.
And self protection from the likes of you in all cases. So its honesty with countermeasures knowlege, nothing unethical there.



Regards .....
  

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Re: Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Reply #5 - Mar 1st, 2007 at 1:56am
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Yeah, I am very uncomfortable taking a polygraph test. I feel that it is a gross violation privacy, and if I cannot be trusted at my word, why should I trust them at theirs? Not to mention that everything I have read states there is no scientific evidence to support that the contraption works. Something about trusting my fate to someone that can ruin said fate by simply not liking me, is an absolutely horrible thought.

Sadly, if I don't do this I cannot work for this specific organization. It makes me feel kind of dirty to actually choose the side of evil just to get a job(like I am selling my soul to the devil)...

I will be completely honest with the polygrapher, and if I fail or if I don't obtain a clearance based on drug use from many years ago, than oh well.

(By the way, I saw the segment you did on British TV with the gentleman from Shaun of the Dead. Kudos for that, it was informative and entertaining)
  
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Re: Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Reply #6 - Mar 1st, 2007 at 7:24am
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Ethics would say yes be honest. †George advocated it then gave you an option to defeat the polygraph by using his book to defeat the exam on the pretext that polygraph is not an accurate measure of truth. †So will you use ethics and be honest, or use the countermeasures and be dishonest?

Don't worry about the possibility of using the countermeasures in George's book to defeat the exam. †According the polygraph examiners who have posted on this site, the countermeasures don't work anyway. †Or they do but they can be detected. †Or they don't and they can be detected.

This also raises the question that if I submit to a polygraph exam and tell the complete truth on all questions, isn't that all that is morally and ethically required of me?  If I tell the complete truth while doing long division in my head or biting my tongue am I being somehow dishonest or unethical?

I think that the responsibility of an ethical person is to tell the truth.  My thoughts are my own, so if I choose to calculate trigonometric functions in my head after answering a question truthfully and that interferes with the examiner's ability to interpret that truth, I can still hold my head high and know that I behaved in a morally upstanding manner.
  

Lorsque vous utilisez un argumentum ad hominem, tout le monde sait que vous Ítes intellectuellement faillite.
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Re: Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Reply #7 - Mar 3rd, 2007 at 11:27pm
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Sarg,

I agree that you are doing nothing unethical, you are telling the truth.  Nothing more is asked of you, and mental math is a great idea.
  
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Re: Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Reply #8 - Feb 17th, 2012 at 8:36pm
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I took a polygraph for customs and border protection a few months back and I admitted to drug use even though I lied previously on my application. I told the agent the truth and at the end he told me I failed and wasn't being honest and the only way he would consider me for a retest is if I came clean and no matter how many times I told him I told the truth he said I didn't and said he wasn't gonna play games all day so I just left... Still no word from anyone not a letter email or phone call. My opinion is the "random selection" for polygraphs is just to get the less qualified applicants out of the way.
  
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Re: Am I supposed to admit drug use?
Reply #9 - Feb 17th, 2012 at 9:54pm
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Quote:
I took a polygraph for customs and border protection a few months back and I admitted to drug use even though I lied previously on my application. I told the agent the truth and at the end he told me I failed and wasn't being honest and the only way he would consider me for a retest is if I came clean and no matter how many times I told him I told the truth he said I didn't and said he wasn't gonna play games all day so I just left... Still no word from anyone not a letter email or phone call. My opinion is the "random selection" for polygraphs is just to get the less qualified applicants out of the way.


Did they put in writing that your selection was random? If so, please post the exact language.

Another thing you might do is ask for details about how you were randomly selected, in a Privacy Act and/or FOIA request. A Privacy Act request is where you could ask how you in particular were selected, and for your records. A FOIA request would be a way to ask how the random selection in general is being performed, when, and by whom.
  
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