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George W. Maschke
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Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
May 30th, 2008 at 1:42pm
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In 2005, PAX TV (now ION Television) ran a single season show called Lie Detector hosted by Rolanda Watts and featuring celebrity polygraph operator "&Dr."& Ed Gelb, a past president of the American Polygraph Association (whom AntiPolygraph.org has previously exposed as a phony Ph.D.).

One episode of the show was infiltrated by humorist Harmon Leon, who concocted a story about having been wrongly busted for marijuana use while on parole and told Lie Detector's producers that he wanted to take a lie detector test to clear his name. The entire story, including the assumed name he used (Hank Leon) was fictitious. Yet he passed the lie detector test administered by one of America's most renowned polygraphers. Leon relates the story in an entertaining San Francisco Weekly article appropriately titled, "Bullshitting the Lie Detector."

The video of Harmon's appearance on Lie Detector is now available on YouTube. Keep in mind, his entire story is a fiction. The money quote of the clip is Gelb's summation, after finding Harmon truthful: "Thankfully...the polygraph is blind. It doesn't know the difference between color, economic status, or political persuasion. But thankfully, it does know the difference between truth and deception!"

Enjoy!

« Last Edit: Apr 21st, 2013 at 6:44pm by George W. Maschke »  

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George W. Maschke
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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #1 - Jun 2nd, 2008 at 7:44pm
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Note that in the polygraph re-enactment shown in the video (the actual "test" had taken place earlier in Gelb's offices), Gelb somberly intones, "Be advised, Hank, any attempt at countermeasures will invalidate this test."

But Harmon Leon did, in fact use countermeasures. In his article about the exploit, Leon writes:

Quote:
After searching the Internet, I decided the best way to beat a polygraph test was to put a tack in my shoe and poke myself when each question was asked. Thus, one tack in one shoe. I'm not sure if this helped during the morning session. But it was very uncomfortable.


It was a crude countermeasure, and misapplied at that: one shouldn't augment reactions to all questions, but rather to control questions. While it's doubtful whether the technique helped Harmon to pass, it's noteworthy that Gelb utterly failed to detect it!

Grin
  

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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #2 - Jun 3rd, 2008 at 12:01am
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You would think Gelb would have been putting forth his best effort since he knew he was going to be on TV.

Stomping on a tack in your shoe on every single question should be, from everything examiners have posted on this board, ridiculously simple to detect.  Even if Gelb couldn't specify, "Hey, you obviously have a tack in your shoe," you would think he should have been able to tell something was up.
  

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Ronald R Parton
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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #3 - Jun 3rd, 2008 at 6:00pm
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Sure,

Blah, blah blah, all of you sitting around protecting your employment rofessions for a government pension fund. Did you here what I said.
Brennans Lie detector test was a false reading. There-fore an unproved science based on trick questions and trick cards. Pick a card and he tells you thats a lie. All the cards were the same. Now if you feel comfortable sending innocent people to jail, and posibly the grave. Than your a bigger pack of parasites than I originally suspected. I challenge any of you to give me a lye detector test. I will pass the test when I want to pass the test. And I will fail the test when I am emotionally upset over circumstances that would upset and depress the average human being. Throw all the technical jargon into your alledged "science" that you want to. But I'll prove it's a falsehood if you put me on your machine. There are theories, there are hypothesis, and there there is science proven by controlled experiments. I'm offering you the opportunity to prove which one your"purported science actually is,

Sincerely,
Ronald Rigoberto Parton
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The WestField Crossing
activateamericatrademarks
  
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George W. Maschke
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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #4 - Jun 3rd, 2008 at 6:37pm
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Mr. Parton,

I'm not sure whom you are addressing, but neither I nor Sergeant1107 are protecting our personal employment or pensions by posting here. Moreover, your post is entirely off-topic for this message thread.
  

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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #5 - Jun 7th, 2008 at 1:06am
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Oh. My. Goodness.  That story you linked to, "Bullshitting the Lie Detector," is so funny.  I highly commend it to everyone.  This guy's story was so ridiculous in so many ways.  The producers should have seen through it so easily, but I guess they were just relying on the polygraph.

Quote:
The producer requests that I, who-is-on-parole, fax a copy of my police report from my latest arrest.

"I believe you," she says. "The executive producer just wants to see a copy of it."

This presents a problem. I put her off. The producer calls numerous times. I put her off further. More phone calls. A friend offers a solution: I surf my way over to SmokingGun.com and, after an extensive archives search, download David Crosby's drug and weapons arrest report, along with the paperwork for Courtney Love's assault-with-a-flashlight charge. Using Photoshop software, I combine the two, heavily utilizing the smudge tool. For consistency, I do a few rounds of enlarging and reducing the document at Kinkos. Randomly, I black out words, stating that on legal advice from my lawyer, I can't go into great detail about my weapons and drug charges. (The case is still pending.)

Hank now has an arrest report.

Faxing off the Crosby/Love document, I expect never to hear from Lie Detector again. There are about a thousand ways to figure out I'm lying in 10 minutes or less. But lo and behold: The show's travel coordinator calls the next day to book my airline ticket to L.A. I'll be put up for two nights at a Holiday Inn! Hot damn. Lie Detector awaits!


But those faults belong to the producers, obviously not to any polygrapher.  But a question for polygraphers among us here: why do you think Gelb didn't detect the crude use of countermeasures? 

Secondly, if he hadn't used any countermeasures, would the type of questions that Gelb would have asked, given the made up background he was about the case, should he have been able to tell that the dude's reactions were screwy?  For instance, in the story, one of the relevant questions is "Did you do marijuana while on probation last January?"  The subject replies "no"--which is true, since he wasn't on probation last January.  Would there have been other questions asked on the box that would have established whether or not he was on probation?  Or would his response to that question have indicated deception since he wasn't on probation?

Anyway, the big thing is that Gelb, presumably a well-qualified poly, was apparently unable to detect a very crude use of countermeasures.  How is this explicable?
  

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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MackTheKnife
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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #6 - Jun 10th, 2008 at 5:56pm
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The recently-dismissed UCLA soccer coach with the fake degree has a lawyer named Bruce Gelb. Dimly recalling a "Gelb" connection with degrees before, I delved a bit.

Turns out that Ed Gelb (is there a relationship?), the 'celebrity' lie detector expert who was involved in high profile cases such as O.J. Simpson, Jon Benet Ramsey, and Gary Condit, has his Ph.D. from LaSalle University, Louisiana.

Truth is, there was a brief period, in which LaSalle awarded Ph.D.s and was NOT a diploma mill: after their founders pleaded guilty to fraud and went to prison, and before the new owners dropped the doctorates in order to apply (unsuccessfully) for DETC accreditation. I don't know when Dr. Gelb acquired his degree.

It does beg the question !!!  Did this Anti-Polygraph due it due diligence in fairness to Mr. Gelb  in determining what year he got is PhD in ?  Given his age, it may be real.   I believe the burden is on this site to do so.   Tongue
  
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George W. Maschke
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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #7 - Jun 10th, 2008 at 7:24pm
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Mack,

La Salle University in Mandeville, Louisiana, was never a regionally accredited degree granting institution:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Kirk_diploma_mills

Due diligence has indeed been done in investigating Ed Gelb's fraudulent claim to be a Ph.D. You'll find documentation here:

https://antipolygraph.org/articles/article-036.shtml
  

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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #8 - Jun 24th, 2008 at 10:04pm
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Lethe wrote on Jun 7th, 2008 at 1:06am:
Anyway, the big thing is that Gelb, presumably a well-qualified poly, was apparently unable to detect a very crude use of countermeasures.  How is this explicable?


I must confess to being slightly surprised that no polies have posted anything here responding to this.  Surely you can come up with some reason that Leon was able to totally humiliate your ex-president?  This is your president that we're talking about here!  He's the best that you have!  And he was totally humiliated on national television by... a comedian.

Yeah, on second thought, I guess silence really is the best response here.  There's really no way to respond to that.  Best just to ignore it and hope it goes away.

If you are a polygrapher and that is your attitude: damn you.  Damn you all for being more loyal to a money-making machine that doesn't do what you promise it does instead of to the society that you are a part of and claiming to serve.  Damn you for allowing yourselves to be programmed like machines and trained like dogs to take fantasy for reality simply because it is more comfortable for you.  And damn you for discouraging rational thought, the one and only thing that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.  You are well-trained indeed, but you are bad human beings.
  

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: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #9 - Nov 2nd, 2008 at 6:01pm
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Note: The majority of this post was copied from a previous post of mine and moved to this thread, because Dr. Maschke indicated that this was a more appropriate location for information concerning the story about how Harmon Leon told the truth during a polygraph test and how the polygraph examiner was able to detect/catch him telling the truth despite the fact that Harmon Leon was deliberately attempting to distort the results.

I hadn't heard this Harmon Leon story so I looked it up.
I viewed the video on YOUTUBE here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kv-cUD5RY9M

I read Harmon Leon's account here: http://www.sfweekly.com/2005-05-25/news/bullshitting-the-lie-detector/

and  also read the response to his article by the shows producer here: http://www.sfweekly.com/2005-06-22/news/the-infiltrator-who-proved-nothing/

Saying that he completely fooled Ed Gelb is a bit of an exaggeration.
First,  Harmon Leon was not on parole or probation so when he ansered "yes" to the question, "Do you plan to tell the truth on this test whether you knowingly used marijuana while on probation?"  He was telling the truth.
When he answered "No" to the question "Did you do marijuana while on probation last January?" He was again telling the truth.
The results of his polygraph were that he was telling the truth on these questions.
But, your conclusion is that he "Fooled" Ed Gelb.

In Summary  Gonzo Journalist tells truth on the test. Test shows Gonzo Journalist told the truth on the test. Conclusion: Person administering test Fooled?  HARDLY

Second  The real message you should get from all three sources is that even though Harmon Leon claims "After searching the Internet, I decided the best way to beat a polygraph test was to put a tack in my shoe and poke myself when each question was asked."  He failed to cause sufficient distortion in his charts to prevent Ed Gelb from  arriving at the conclusion that this Gonzo Journalist who successfully lied to the producers about his arrest and probation to the extent of forging a police report had in fact told the truth about using marijuana on probation.

I don't know where on the internet he got his countermeasure advice, but I do know that the N.A.S. study stated that there isn't any credible evidence or scientific research that supports the idea that it is easy to train examinees to “beat” both the polygraph and trained examiners.

NEW NEWS
 Is It Possible To Beat A Lie Detector?
http://www.kutv.com/content/gephardt/story.aspx?content_id=76ab9cce-7d8e-4170-b7...

Sancho Panza
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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #10 - Nov 2nd, 2008 at 7:10pm
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Hmmm, interesting.  A little belated, and dated, but interesting.

Puff, puff.

TC
  

"There is no direct and unequivocal connection between lying and these physiological states of arousal...(referring to polygraph)."

Dr. Phil Zimbardo, Phd, Standford University
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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #11 - Nov 3rd, 2008 at 11:12am
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I don't see how this could reasonably be characterized as anything less than an utter failure of the polygraph.

The subject lied about his name, lied about his backstory, was not on probation or parole, and stomped on a tack in his shoe on every question.  He created a photoshopped police report and invented a nonexistent girlfriend.  Ed Gelb was unable to detect any deception and was not even able to detect the fact that the guy was stomping on a tack in his shoe on every question.

I don't see how anyone can reasonably claim that when Harmon was asked, "Do you plan to tell the truth on this test whether you knowingly used marijuana while on probation?" he answered truthfully because he did not use marijuana.  Part of that question includes the fact that he was on probation, and Harmon most certainly knew that he wasn't on probation during the time period in question.  By answering the question at all he would be lying, but Gelb couldn't pick up on that.  

When Harmon was asked, "Did you do marijuana while on probation last January?" he again lied when he answered, since he wasn't on probation.  Not to mention that none of us know if he actually used marijuana during the time in question.  But I think that is irrelevant, since his whole story was a lie from start to finish.

If a clean-living friend of a police applicant fills in for them on their pre-employment polygraph, do you think a competent (by APA standards) polygraph examiner should be able to detect that they are not speaking to the actual applicant?  Should the examiner be able to detect that the person they are testing is giving them a fictional history and is essentially basing their answers off a sizeable lie (i.e. - that they are not the person the examiner thinks they are)?  Should the examiner be able to detect that the subject is stomping on a tack every time they are asked a question?

Or would it be more reasonable to dissect every answer and try to claim that certain answers to certain parts of certain questions were technically true, and therefore the polygraph functioned as advertised?

I think it is simply common sense that if a test subject is lying about his name, lying about his backstory, and stomping on a tack in his shoe on every question he should not "pass" a test that is supposedly able to detect deception.

Isn't a pre-test interview standard procedure?  Isn't Ed Gelb a former police officer?  Yet he was unable to detect anything unusual when he talked to "Hank" about an arrest that never occurred, and probation (or parole) that "Hank" was never on, and about a failed drug test that "Hank" never took?



  

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SanchoPanza
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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #12 - Nov 3rd, 2008 at 12:01pm
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The subject matter/topic of inquiry of the questions dealt with marijuana use.  The part of the question that refers to probation merely esablish a frame of reference for the question and are not the topic of inquiry. The other things you mentioned were not the topics of questions asked on the exam either.

You seem to forget that the purpose of a polygraph. It is not an excercise to detect countermeasures nor is it an excercise  to learn all possible secrets an examinee may harbor.
It is a process to determine an examinee's truthfulness concerning the topic of inquiry.

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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #13 - Nov 4th, 2008 at 12:02am
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SanchoPanza wrote on Nov 3rd, 2008 at 12:01pm:
The subject matter/topic of inquiry of the questions dealt with marijuana use.  The part of the question that refers to probation merely esablish a frame of reference for the question and are not the topic of inquiry. The other things you mentioned were not the topics of questions asked on the exam either.

You seem to forget that the purpose of a polygraph. It is not an excercise to detect countermeasures nor is it an excercise  to learn all possible secrets an examinee may harbor.
It is a process to determine an examinee's truthfulness concerning the topic of inquiry.

Sancho Panza


Sancho, That would be great if the machine could in fact reliably do that but, as we have come to learn it cannot and never has.
Now, if by "process" you mean "lets get past the silly machine game and on to the interrogation" then MAYBE you have something.
Your insistence that polygraphy is in fact accurate  does not make it so.
  
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Re: Harmon Leon Infiltrates PAX TV's Lie Detector Show
Reply #14 - Nov 20th, 2008 at 12:43am
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SanchoPanza wrote on Nov 3rd, 2008 at 12:01pm:
You seem to forget that the purpose of a polygraph. It is not an excercise to detect countermeasures nor is it an excercise  to learn all possible secrets an examinee may harbor.
It is a process to determine an examinee's truthfulness concerning the topic of inquiry.


Polygraphers would do well to remember that.  They seem to consider spotting countermeasures to be more important than determining the truth about the relevant questions. 

Polygrapher James Sackett admitted that he didn't care if he failed people who responded honestly to the relevant questions; he just wanted to catch people who used countermeasures.  Read all about it here.
  

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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