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Letter to FBI Director Mueller on Polygraph Policy
Jul 10th, 2007 at 11:54pm
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Here is a copy of a recent letter I sent to the Director of the FBI as well as my elected representatives after I "failed" a polygraph in the process of my FBI application.  I encourage others to write letters too if you have been affected.  Feel free to use any of the text below, although a personalized letter is obviously more effective.  I will post a followup if I receive any response.

Mr. Robert S. Mueller III 
Federal Bureau of Investigation 
J. Edgar Hoover Building 
935 Pennsylvania Ave, NW 
Washington DC 20535-0001 

Dear Director Mueller, 

I am writing to you today to alert you to what I believe is a major flaw in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's hiring practice.  That flaw is the continued reliance on the use of the polygraph as a pre-employment screening tool.  Put simply, polygraphy, like astrology and phrenology is "junk science".  The list of legitimate scientific groups that have official statements condemning the polygraph is extensive.  It includes the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the Federation of American Scientists, and the 
Society of Professional Scientists and Engineers.  Numerous studies have concluded that the polygraph has no scientific basis.  Yet, the Federal Government, and specifically, the FBI, continues to rely on its results, to the detriment of the Bureau, and ultimately, the nation. 

By any measure, eliminating qualified applicants who have already met stringent application requirements, passed written & oral interviews, and met physical fitness standards based on a coin toss would be ludicrous.  However, that is the reality of what is happening today.  By the Bureau's own admission, failure rates for the pre-employment polygraph are as high as fifty percent (The Philadelphia Enquirer, May 20, 2002).  Eliminating up to half of the best and brightest of the applicant pool by mere chance is counterproductive to the hiring process and contrary to the stated values of the Bureau which include "fairness" and "institutional integrity". 

Even some of the Bureau's own polygraph experts have spoken out against the polygraph.  Retired Supervisory Special Agent Dr. Drew C. Richardson performed doctoral research in lie detection, and served in the Bureau's polygraph research unit.  He testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, stating: 
(Polygraph screening) is completely without any theoretical foundation and has absolutely no validity. 
Although there is disagreement amongst scientists about the use of polygraph testing in criminal 
matters, there is almost universal agreement that polygraph screening is completely invalid and should 
be stopped. 
Because of the theoretical considerations involving false positive results and because of anecdotal 
stories told to me by self-alleged victims of polygraph screening, I believe that the Bureau is 
routinely falsely accusing job applicants of drug usage or drug dealing. Not only is this result 
irreparably harming these individuals, but it is likely denying the Bureau access to qualified and 
capable employees.

Additionally, according to a published report by the National Academy of Sciences: 
Polygraph testing yields an unacceptable choice for...employee security screening between too many 
loyal employees falsely judged deceptive and too many major security threats left undetected. Its 
accuracy in distinguishing actual or potential security violators from innocent test takers is 
insufficient to justify reliance on its use in employee security screening in federal agencies.

As you are no doubt aware, the use of polygraphs in pre-employment screening in most of the private sector was made illegal by the 1988 Employee Polygraph Protection Act.  Unfortunately, the Federal Government exempted itself and continues to use this unreliable and scientifically unproven technique in its hiring process.   I am copying my elected representatives on this letter to urge them to introduce legislation which would formally bar the use of the polygraph in all federal employment screening.  Complete legislation would 
address the situations of those who have already been damaged by the polygraph, by purging hiring "black lists" and re-instating the employment applications of those who have been denied employment solely because of this pseudoscientific procedure. 

As a former applicant with the Bureau who was eliminated from consideration based on a false accusation of deception on the polygraph, this topic holds a personal significance to me, and I hope that this letter will encourage you to halt the use of all polygraph screening at the Bureau.  Doing so will not jeopardize the security of the nation, in fact the opposite is true.  Removing this device from the Bureau's toolkit will eliminate a false sense of security and allow honest applicants to be given a fair and impartial chance at 
employment.   I look forward to your reply.
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Re: Letter to FBI Director Mueller on Polygraph Policy
Reply #1 - Jul 11th, 2007 at 12:28am
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Letter writing campaigns are powerful tools when they are directed to elected poluted-crats. I was part of "Defeat the "legal alien" bill letter writing campaign in my state and our two Senators voted against it. I sent out hundreds of emails across the nation trying to instigate writing campains. The Kennedy/Bush bill was defeated.
This is where your letters should go. Tell them to ban the poly or you will do your utmost to bring them home next election.

I doubt very seriously the directors of the FBI, CIA, etc., gives a hoot in hell what the people have to say. They will, I would hope, pay attention to a senate sub-committee. However, these entities are extremely powerful and selfish and I suspect have the scullduggery on every politician in Washington D.C. and will not hesitate to use it on their opposition.

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Re: Letter to FBI Director Mueller on Polygraph Policy
Reply #2 - Jul 14th, 2007 at 6:34pm
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I tell you all the truth, if the headquarters of that agency were blown to hell by al Qaeda I am not certain that I would or could feel any sorrow or remorse for the loss.  

And that's a God damned shame.

Is former APA President Skip Webb evil or just stupid?

Is former APA President Ed Gelb an idiot or does the polygraph just not work?

Did you know that polygrapher Sackett doesn't care about detecting deception to relevant questions?
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Re: Letter to FBI Director Mueller on Polygraph Policy
Reply #3 - Jul 19th, 2007 at 2:41am
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I just recently told the honest-to-God truth on the FBI polygraph and failed. I did not understand where I went wrong with the right answers. And being the honest person that I am I did not want to "google" any lie-detector countermeasures, because I planned on telling the truth. And look where that got me....a "fail" on the polygraph.  I wish I would have researched the topic prior to my test. Maybe I'll write a letter too!
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Letter to FBI Director Mueller on Polygraph Policy

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