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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector (Read 38411 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Apr 9th, 2008 at 12:51pm
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As a poster mentioned in another thread, MSNBC has released a major investigative report on the Department of Defense's adoption of a hand-held lie detector to be used by U.S. forces deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The device is to be used to screen local nationals, who will be questioned through the use of interpreters.

Bill Dedman's report, "New anti-terror weapon: Hand-held lie detector," with video and links to relevant documentation, may be read here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23926278/

PCASS documentation obtained by MSNBC under the Freedom of Information Act has been mirrored on AntiPolygraph.org here:

https://antipolygraph.org/read.shtml#PCASS
« Last Edit: Apr 14th, 2008 at 6:48am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #1 - Apr 13th, 2008 at 3:17pm
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I've posted to YouTube the following video commentary, "Warning to U.S. Troops on Hand-Held Lie Detector":

  

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Re: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #2 - Apr 15th, 2008 at 1:16pm
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I have given this development some considerable thought, and have decided that I would rather submit to this contraption than a full blown polygraph test.  At least with this, the results are not manipulated or subject to interpretive opinion as a polygraph..  What I find most interesting, is the degree of training required to implement thisin the field, as stated below:

"The training is different, too. While polygraph examiners for the Defense Department must have four-year college degrees and experience in law enforcement, the PCASS operators are mostly mid-level enlisted personnel and warrant officers, some as young as 20 years old. While polygraph examiners take a 13-week course and a six-month internship, PCASS operators undergo only one week of training, though most have military training as interrogators. The Defense Department says PCASS is simple to operate, because judgment of truthfulness is left to the computer. "

My question is, why the great disparity in training?



  

"Although the degree of reliability of polygraph evidence may depend upon a variety of identifiable factors, there is simply no way to know in a particular case whether a polygraph examiner's Conclusion is accurate, because certain doubts and uncertainties plague even the best polygraph exams."  (Justice Clarence Thomas writing in United States v. Scheffer, 523 U.S. 303, 118 S.Ct. 1261, 140 L.Ed.2d 413, 1998.)
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Re: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #3 - Apr 15th, 2008 at 5:08pm
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DACA Deputy Director Donald Krapohl (MSNBC)


It should be borne in mind by soldiers in the field who are being asked to rely on the PCASS that those responsible for developing it, including most visibly Don Krapohl, who has been DACA's media front man for it, know that PCASS is highly unreliable and have deliberately overstated its accuracy. (In addition to his appearance in the video segment of the MSNBC report, Krapohl was also interviewed on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition on Saturday, 12 April.)

DACA avoided testing PCASS under anything approaching field conditions. The same methodology that was recently used in a field study that found voice stress analysis technologies to be no better than chance could have been used to test PCASS. Why didn't DACA do so before giving PCASS to our troops?

DACA also avoided testing PCASS in situations with a low base rate for deception (such as in screening for spies, terrorists, and saboteurs), preferring instead to conduct its studies in settings with an unrealistically high base rate of deception of 50%. Krapohl and others at DACA know full well that if a lower and more realistic base rate of deception, say as high as 5% were used, PCASS's evident performance as a screening tool would appear much worse, the high number of false positives making the few true positive results of little practical use. Why didn't DACA test PCASS under realistic base rate conditions before issuing it to our troops?

And DACA avoided testing PCASS's robustness against countermeasures, despite knowing full well that Al-Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents have studied them, and any operatives sent to infiltrate U.S. installations, knowing that they're going to be tested either by polygraph or PCASS, are likely to learn how to fool such tests. Why didn't DACA test PCASS against countermeasures before issuing it to our troops?

As Bill Dedman of MSNBC pointed out in his report, DACA is deliberately overstating PCASS's performance in the unrealistic laboratory tests to which it was subjected by omitting inconclusive results when calculating its accuracy. There is no scientific ground for doing this: it's willful fraud. DACA is lying to the American people, and to our troops. DACA is touting an accuracy rate of 82-90% based on (again, unrealistic) laboratory studies. But the true accuracy rate based on those studies is only 63-79%. Under field conditions, with realistic base rates, and with subjects knowledgeable about countermeasures, much lower accuracy rates than this latter range of 63-79% can be reasonably expected. And DACA knows this.

As a former soldier, interrogator, and linguist, I'm outraged that DACA is foisting this rubbish on our troops. I encourage all to tell your friends, relatives, and acquaintances in the armed forces about the MSNBC report on PCASS and the commentary here.
« Last Edit: Apr 15th, 2008 at 7:32pm by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #4 - Apr 21st, 2008 at 7:09am
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Skippy, do you think the device has undergone sufficient testing?  Yes or no?  If not, should it be sent into the field?  Yes or no.  If not, why don't you do something useful for a change like use your fancy title and tell the policy makers that maybe this time they shouldn't believe your exaggerations and claims, but should evaluate the device under proper conditions?

Or, you know, you can just complain about it here, blame all the problems on those who don't believe your lies, and watch people die.  That's about par for the course for you guys. 

You don't give a damn about anyone dying; you're just concerned about enough people learning the truth that your profession ceases to exist and you're thrown out on your no-talent ass to get a real job.  And, yes, I would like fries with that, thank you for asking.
  

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: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #5 - Apr 21st, 2008 at 7:56am
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This is just ridiculous.  Even if you are upset with George for making information about beating the PCASS more widely available than it otherwise would be, thereby compromising the system unacceptably, wouldn't part of the response include, I dunno, not using the PCASS?

    "Sir, the enemy has cracked our code--apparently we've been betrayed!"

    "Well, keep using it!  Even if they can read all our messages now, that information wasn't supposed to get out.  Besides, I get kickbacks for ever encoded message we send!"


Does that make any sense?  If it has been compromised--however that happened--stop telling people to use it!  Oh, wait, I forgot.  Logic isn't typically used among polygraph proponents.  Sorry, my bad.
  

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: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #6 - Apr 21st, 2008 at 1:18pm
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Q: Skippy, do you think the device has undergone sufficient testing?  Yes or no?

A:  YES

Q:  If not, should it be sent into the field?  Yes or no.

A:  YES  

Q:  If not, why don't you do something useful for a change like use your fancy title and tell the policy makers that maybe this time they shouldn't believe your exaggerations and claims, but should evaluate the device under proper conditions?

A:  I have no fancy title to use.

Q:  Or, you know, you can just complain about it here, blame all the problems on those who don't believe your lies, and watch people die.  That's about par for the course for you guys.

A:  No answer required.  Nothing of substance was said.  

Q: You don't give a damn about anyone dying; you're just concerned about enough people learning the truth that your profession ceases to exist and you're thrown out on your no-talent ass to get a real job.  And, yes, I would like fries with that, thank you for asking.

A:  No response required, again your remarks are of no substance other than a feeble attempt at an ad hominid attack.  I will respond however just to clear the record.

If the device works 65% of the time and the software keeps false negative results very low, then that's better than the 50/50 guessing method our soldiers are using now in the field.  

Finally, for the record, I have been a criminal investigator for almost 38 years and will celebrate my 60th birthday in July.  It would make very little difference in my life if polygraph were abolished tomorrow as I am retirement eligible and comfortable.  I have a graduate degree and could probably teach criminal justice courses at the local community college where I would, no doubt meet some of the very people who frequent this forum.  I might even be able to prevent their ever having to take a polygraph by failing them at school, making their transition from their life long desire to be a police officer to having the opportunity to ask people “Do you want fries with that?” even quicker.  Maybe, I’ll see you in class!
  
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Re: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #7 - Apr 21st, 2008 at 7:01pm
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It doesn't surprise me that you don't know much about logical fallacies, given your great propensity to use them.  But, for future reference, the correct term is "ad hominem attack", not "ad hominid attack."

And even though you are an AARP member, I still think you would be displeased if your life's work were repudiated.

But, c'mon, it has not been tested in realistic circumstances.  The conditions of the testing were not at all like the conditions under which the device will actually be used.  Also, look at how low you're setting the bar: a 65% success rate.  Also, truth verification in the absence of a polygraph-like device is not necessarily just 50/50.  Or are you admitting that you've never been able to figure out when someone was lying to you without your device?  Maybe that's why you guys don't realize how ridiculous your lies appear: you don't think anyone could possibly detect them without your box.
  

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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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #8 - Apr 22nd, 2008 at 6:32am
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skip.webb wrote on Apr 21st, 2008 at 1:18pm:
Q: Skippy, do you think the device has undergone sufficient testing?  Yes or no?

A:  YES


Skip,

The PCASS has not been shown to reliably differentiate between liars and truth-tellers at better-than-chance levels of accuracy under field conditions, nor has it been shown to be robust against countermeasures. How can you say this device has been adequately tested? Don't our troops in the field deserve better than this?
  

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Re: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #9 - Apr 22nd, 2008 at 7:04am
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skip.webb wrote on Apr 21st, 2008 at 1:18pm:
Finally, for the record, I have been a criminal investigator for almost 38 years and will celebrate my 60th birthday in July.  It would make very little difference in my life if polygraph were abolished tomorrow as I am retirement eligible and comfortable.  I have a graduate degree and could probably teach criminal justice courses at the local community college where I would, no doubt meet some of the very people who frequent this forum.  I might even be able to prevent their ever having to take a polygraph by failing them at school, making their transition from their life long desire to be a police officer to having the opportunity to ask people “Do you want fries with that?” even quicker.  Maybe, I’ll see you in class!


If you "teach" your students to treat critical thinking with the disdain which you display for it on a daily basis I've no doubt that you'll need to fail many, many students.  No, on second thought, it's the ones who do think critically who fail while those who have unthinking faith in you who'll be passed.  That's the way it works, doesn't it, Skip?

In any event, the "fancy title" that I alluded to in my earlier post was that of American Polygraph Association President, a post which your formerly held.  I'm sorry that senility has set in even before your 60th birthday.  Actually, no I'm not; it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.  Perhaps cancer is next for you?
  

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: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #10 - Apr 22nd, 2008 at 7:13am
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George W. Maschke wrote on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 6:32am:
skip.webb wrote on Apr 21st, 2008 at 1:18pm:
Q: Skippy, do you think the device has undergone sufficient testing?  Yes or no?

A:  YES


Skip,

The PCASS has not been shown to reliably differentiate between liars and truth-tellers at better-than-chance levels of accuracy under field conditions, nor has it been shown to be robust against countermeasures. How can you say this device has been adequately tested? Don't our troops in the field deserve better than this?


Apparently, the PCASS is like that sweater that your aunt knitted you for Christmas: it's the thought that counts.
  

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: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #11 - Apr 22nd, 2008 at 11:57am
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Brother Lethe

The troops are going to use something to assist in assessment.  The choice is CVSA,  PCASS, or nothing.   As a nonbeliver you would choose nothing?
  

No good social purpose can be served by inventing ways of beating the lie detector or deceiving polygraphers.   David Thoreson Lykken
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Re: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #12 - Apr 23rd, 2008 at 12:07am
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pailryder wrote on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 11:57am:
Brother Lethe

The troops are going to use something to assist in assessment.  The choice is CVSA,  PCASS, or nothing.   As a nonbeliver you would choose nothing?


In very unrealistic tests the PCASS was found to be accurate just 62.2, 63, and 79.9% of the time.  In one study they found that it would only successfully identify half of the truthful subjects.  As former APA President Skip Webb has pointed out, the PCASS can be defeated fairly easily without formal training, making the above numbers far worse in actuality, even before factoring in real field conditions which would further erode the accuracy.

The scientific data do not indicate that this device will detect deception with anything approaching a useful degree of accuracy in the field. 

Also, since so much of the polygraph's usefulness comes from the fact that so many people have the idea that it does work, I wonder how useful it will be in Iraq and Afghanistan where, I suspect, most people have never heard of the device before.

So, yeah, I'd not use the device until it proves itself useful.  Hook up people to a Xerox machine with a "He's lying" paper in it if you want a way to intimidate people into confessing; that method wouldn't invite our troops to put an unwarranted degree of confidence in it.  Unfortunately, it also wouldn't make any money for the polygraph-industrial complex.
  

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: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #13 - Apr 23rd, 2008 at 5:49am
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pailryder wrote on Apr 22nd, 2008 at 11:57am:
Brother Lethe

The troops are going to use something to assist in assessment.  The choice is CVSA,  PCASS, or nothing.   As a nonbeliver you would choose nothing?


This really makes no sense.  As long as you believe the troops are going to use something, the accuracy (or lack thereof) of whatever they use is not important?

This isn't far from the often-heard argument in favor of the polygraph that goes something like, "Until something better comes along, we're going to keep using it."  The accuracy of any device that purportedly detects deception is not irrelevant when determining if that device is useful or not.

If the troops are going to use something that doesn't work it is reasonable to warn them of that.  Allowing them to incorrectly believe that their new handheld lie detector can actually detect lies with a high degree of accuracy simply because "they're going to use something" is senseless.

If our nation's airports were going to be supplied with metal detectors that detected metal 50% or 60% of the time, would it be unreasonable to warn people of that fact?  Or would it be better to remain silent because the airports are going to use something, so whatever they use is better than nothing?
  

Lorsque vous utilisez un argumentum ad hominem, tout le monde sait que vous ętes intellectuellement faillite.
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Re: Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System: U.S. Deploys Hand-Held Lie Detector
Reply #14 - Apr 23rd, 2008 at 11:10am
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Sergeant 1107

I did not say that accuracy is unimportant or that our troops should be uninformed about expected accuracy rates, certainly undue reliance could be dangerous.  My point is only that as a pragmatic matter, increasing assessment accuracy from 50% to 60% may save some young lives.
  

No good social purpose can be served by inventing ways of beating the lie detector or deceiving polygraphers.   David Thoreson Lykken
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