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George W. Maschke
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FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Aug 8th, 2008 at 2:14am
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It has been widely reported in the press that the late U.S. Army infectious disease researcher Dr. Bruce Ivins, whom the FBI has fingered as the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax mailings, passed two polygraph examinations. The right-leaning website WorldNetDaily notes that the FBI searched Ivins' premises for any documentation on how to defeat a polygraph test:

Quote:
Anthrax suspect passed 2 polygraphs
Handwriting analysis also failed to tie Ivins to letters
Posted: August 07, 2008
2:56 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Casting further doubt on the FBI's anthrax case, accused government scientist Bruce Ivins passed two polygraph tests and a handwriting analysis comparing samples of his handwriting to writing contained in the anthrax letters, U.S. officials familiar with the investigation say.

The Justice Department yesterday closed the case, announcing the late "Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks."

Ivins passed the first polygraph to satisfy a security requirement prior to working with the FBI as part of a team of scientists at the Fort Detrick, Md., lab who originally helped analyze the anthrax letters. He passed a second exam after he became a suspect.

WND has learned that the FBI was so frustrated with the exam results that last October authorities asked a judge for permission to search Ivins' home and vehicles specifically for evidence of any materials, such as books, that would have helped him "defeat a polygraph."

...


WorldNetDaily doesn't state how it learned this, but the search request appears in a long list of information sought and is mentioned in the last paragraph of an attachment to an affidavit filed in support of a search warrant:

Quote:
(6) plans or attempts to obstruct justice or otherwise mislead Task Force investigators on this case, including materials relating to the submission of false evidentiary samples, how to defeat a polygraph, the purchase or use of any electronic eavesdropping or counter-surveillance devices including computer software, spyware or other services, investigative counter-measure materials and detection device, materials relating to the cooperating FBI sources mentioned in this affidavit, and the purchase of weapons, stun-guns, taser-guns, and ballistic vests.


Thus far, there has been no public indication that any such polygraph countermeasure information was found in Ivins' possession. Information on how to fool a polygraph "test" is widely available, most notably here on AntiPolygraph.org.
« Last Edit: Aug 8th, 2008 at 4:32am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #1 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 6:14am
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It's amazing.  Congress requests the NAS study the polygraph.  They do and conclude it does more damage than good (at least polygraphs administered to applicants and periodic tests with employees).

Then an employee, who is whacked out and probably commits a heinous crime ends up passing not one but TWO POLYGRAPH TESTS!   And what does the FBI do?   Do they find fault with the polygraph?  No, they conclude he must have learned HOW TO BEAT THE TEST.  A test the nation's top scientists say doesn't work in the first place!

Too bad the loved ones of the victims can't sue the federal government for negligence.

But hey, maybe he just had bad examiners in BOTH tests.  Lot's of uncontrollable factors could have come into play.  Even on TWO TESTS with the same test subject.  It's easy to just jump to contusions and conclude the problem is with the polygraph.  No test is perfect!   Angry

TC
  

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

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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #2 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 8:38pm
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Although initial opportunities to employ them were likely compromised by press releases, the conduct of subject interviews, and by having Bruce Ivins and other scientists play contributing roles in the investigation, there must have been a large number of good concealed information test keys available had they been treated as such from the beginning of the investigation. 

I have no knowledge of what polygraphic test format(s) were employed with the many examinees in this investigation, but I would wager that the bulk of the effort was focused on a series of lie tests.  Should this have been the case, what a shame…

  
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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #3 - Aug 8th, 2008 at 9:18pm
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WND has learned that the FBI was so frustrated with the exam results that last October authorities asked a judge for permission to search Ivins' home and vehicles specifically for evidence of any materials, such as books, that would have helped him "defeat a polygraph."


WOW!! Thats all I can say is WOW!!
Where the hell is Sackett when we need him? He could certainly show us dummies how this came about.

  
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Justice Department Claims Bruce Ivins Used Polygraph Countermeasures
Reply #4 - Aug 9th, 2008 at 10:49pm
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According to an article by Michael Isikoff of Newsweek, Justice Department official Dean Boyd states that the FBI concluded that anthrax mailings suspect Bruce Ivins passed the polygraph using polygraph countermeasures:

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"He was told he had passed [the polygraph] because we thought he did," said Justice official Boyd. But after the FBI learned of Ivins's history of psychological problems, it had experts re-examine the results, and they concluded he'd used "countermeasures" such as controlled breathing to fool the examiners.


But no polygrapher has ever demonstrated any ability to reliably detect polygraph countermeasures, nor are there any published articles or book chapters on how to detect the kinds of countermeasures outlined in The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 mb PDF). The National Academy of Sciences, which conducted a thorough review of the scientific evidence on polygraphs, remained unconvinced that polygraphers can detect countermeasures. And retired FBI research scientist Dr. Drew Richardson's challenge to the polygraph community to prove its claimed ability to detect countermeasures has gone some six years without takers.

The FBI should publicly release Ivins' polygraph charts along with the original polygraph examiner's report and the report(s) of the so-called "experts" who claim Ivins used countermeasures to pass so that they may be independently reviewed by real experts who are not stakeholders in the pseudoscience of polygraphy and who are not under bureaucratic pressure to pin the anthrax mailings on Ivins.

In addition, the same standard used to determine that Ivins supposedly employed countermeasures should have been applied (in a blinded manner) to all polygraph charts collected in the course of the so-called Amerithrax investigation, not just those of the person on whom the FBI wanted to pin the blame.
  

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Wall Street Journal: Ivins was Polygraphed One Time Only
Reply #5 - Aug 10th, 2008 at 3:26am
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Elizabeth Williamson and Siobhan Gorman write for the Wall Street Journal that Bruce Ivins was polygraphed only once in connection with the Amerithrax investigation, and that his having passed it excused him from a second round of polygraph screenings to which some of his colleagues were subjected:

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http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121824122279026121-jvAl3N_9OfFg_bE9oMrQZt...

In Anthrax Case, Hindsight
Shifts View of Ivins
Actions to Aid
Probe Appear
Now As Cover-Up
By ELIZABETH WILLIAMSON and SIOBHAN GORMAN
August 9, 2008; Page A2

WASHINGTON -- One night in autumn 2001, as the U.S. reeled from the worst act of bioterrorism in its history, Bruce Ivins was alone in his cluttered Fort Detrick, Md., office, scrubbing phones, walls and furniture.

For colleagues, this was proof of the anthrax scientist's attention to safety. From a distance of seven years, it might be evidence of his guilt.

Bruce Ivins, shown in a 2003 photo, took an overdose of painkillers and died in an apparent suicide last week. The FBI said the government scientist was close to being charged in 2001's deadly anthrax attacks.

Like the detective in Agatha Christie's play "Mousetrap" who turned out to be the murderer, Dr. Ivins played a haunting dual role in the anthrax mystery, federal law-enforcement agents say. He was part of the team that examined the poisoned letters. Investigators say he implicated other scientists and submitted incomplete samples to throw them off-track. The Pentagon even adopted tips he offered to guard against the dangers of experimenting with anthrax.

The scientist's daily presence at the alleged scene of the crime is fuel for the continuing debate as to whether the U.S. government has its man. Friends and colleagues say the conundrum makes it impossible to differentiate between clues left by Dr. Ivins the investigator and Dr. Ivins the suspect.

Dr. Ivins killed himself last week after being informed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation planned to charge him in the murders of five people who handled the anthrax-laced letters. His lawyer said the FBI's case, made public Wednesday, is flawed and that Dr. Ivins would have been cleared in court had he lived.

Dr. Ivins himself seemed to think he might be two people, a sign of mental imbalance he largely hid from colleagues, according to court documents. "Other times it's like I'm not only sitting at my desk, I'm also a few feet away watching me," he wrote in an email to an unidentified friend in April 2000.

Colleagues held a memorial for him Wednesday at Fort Detrick. More than 200 colleagues packed its chapel while the FBI, 50 miles south, unveiled its case against him. Col. John P. Skvorak, commander of the army institute, saluted Dr. Ivins's "openness, his candor, his humor and his honesty," according to Dr. Ivins's lawyer, Paul Kemp, who wrote the remarks down.

In the days after attacks, suspected samples of anthrax began pouring into the U.S. Army Medical Institute of Infectious Diseases. In Room 19 of the bacteriology division, Dr. Ivins's office was jammed with desks for six more staffers where once there had been just Dr. Ivins and perhaps one other.

"We were scared," says Col. Arthur Anderson, who at the time was chief of laboratory medicine in the diagnostic-systems division. Many of the scientists were seeing for the first time the weaponized version of a microbe they had worked with for years.

They were also fascinated, particularly Dr. Ivins, who talked repeatedly about the refinement of the spores sent with the Oct. 9 letter to then-South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle. The spores nearly floated out of the envelope.

"The stuff just came out without any prompting," he told Gerald Andrews, his boss at the time.

Dr. Ivins, his colleagues said, argued that al Qaeda was responsible. "He was very passionate about this," former boss Jeffrey Adamovicz said. "He was very agitated." In these conversations, Dr. Ivins dwelled at one point on a purported link between Florida victim Robert Stevens, a photographer for American Media, and an apartment rented to 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta, Dr. Adamovicz said. (The FBI discounts that as an explanation.)

To his colleagues, this kind of talk wasn't unusual. Dr. Ivins was expressing a theory commonly held in the lab and he often got emotional in the pursuit of scientific debate.

That winter, the FBI asked Dr. Ivins to take his first and only lie-detector test, according to a law-enforcement official. The polygraph was part of the bureau's vetting of investigators. The FBI hasn't released the results. Dr. Ivins retained his role in the investigation.

In April 2002, researchers noticed an anthrax-laced deposit on the outside of a flask outside the biocontainment area. The contamination spawned an investigation and a 361-page Army report, during which Dr. Ivins admitted his unauthorized office cleanup.

He told Army investigators that he had cleaned his office the previous fall, and then again without permission in April, because "I had no desire to cry 'Wolf!' " and blame someone else for the spill. The Army cleared him and adopted his recommendations to improve "cleaning inside the suites and maybe surveillance."

By this time, all of the scientists in the bacteriology division were under the FBI's investigative microscope, people working there at the time said. One after another, they submitted to a 3½-hour polygraph test. Dr. Ivins "was in the safety zone" because he had already passed his polygraph, Dr. Andrews said. Dr. Ivins was never tested again, a law-enforcement official said.

A siege mentality began to build in the division, and Dr. Ivins shared in his colleagues' resentment. "Ever since they started calling back the people in the bacteriology division for polygraphs, they all sort of got quiet about things," Col. Anderson said. "Bruce wasn't the only person who stopped talking."

Meanwhile, Dr. Ivins developed hypotheses about other suspects. In a search of his house, the FBI found an email in which Dr. Ivins names two fellow scientists, providing 11 reasons for their possible guilt. He sent the email from a personal account to his Army account. It isn't clear whether Dr. Ivins was puzzling over the case or whether he was plotting to divert suspicion.

He grew more critical of the investigation when it began pointing toward him in late 2006. In lunchtime conversations, he told colleagues he thought the FBI might be trying to set him up, Dr. Adamovicz recalled. Dr. Ivins began poking holes in efforts to link him to the attacks, saying a positive DNA match between the anthrax in the letters and that stored at Fort Detrick would mean little "because those labs are shared," Dr. Adamovicz said.

This spring, Dr. Ivins told a colleague, W. Russell Byrne, that he was planning to retire in September. Dr. Byrne asked Dr. Ivins to let him know about the retirement party.

Dr. Ivins responded: "I don't know if I'm going to have one," Dr. Byrne recalled.

Write to Elizabeth Williamson at elizabeth.williamson@wsj.com and Siobhan Gorman at siobhan.gorman@wsj.com
  

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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #6 - Aug 13th, 2008 at 11:01pm
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So, they polygraphed him and the results indicated he was innocent.  Then, after they knew he was guilty, they looked at the charts again and discovered, mirabile ductu, that it indicated he was guilty all along!  Yeah.

Also, don't anyone fool yourself into thinking that this latest failure of the polygraph will embarrass the polygraph guild.  They know--if anything, better than we do--that the polygraph doesn't approach it's advertised accuracy rate and that it is possible to defeat it with countermeasures.

Polygraphers believe in the polygraph because it makes them money and earns them prestige.  They keep their consciences from getting in the way by programming themselves to think it's doing more good than harm, not by catching liars (though it does do that at times, don't get me wrong), but by deterring genuinely bad actions.  They won't lose any sleep tonight because they're trained to tell themselves "Yeah, it didn't catch Ivins, but I'll bet there are 10 other people who didn't send out anthrax because they feared my mad polygraph skillz!" 

The present story does nothing to shake their faith in the deterrent abilities of the polygraph.  Don't waste your time bringing up this story in discussion with them as evidence that it doesn't work.  They know it doesn't work to catch liars, but they don't care because they think, with, they should be forced to admit, little evidence, that it does work to deter criminals.
  

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: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #7 - Aug 16th, 2008 at 12:33am
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The late Bruce Ivins' attorney Paul Kemp discussed, among other things, the former's polygraph experience in an interview with Laura Sullivan of National Public Radio posted the the NPR website on 8 August 2008:

Quote:
Second point, he's polygraphed twice, during the same year. They ask him, you know, "Have you told us all you know about this? Are you hiding any evidence?" as part of these normal polygraphs, but also that are directed by the investigators here.

They now discount the reliability of his passing in the polygraphs because it was conducted by the Defense Department, not by the Justice Department. And so we're left with this disparagement of the Defense Department, the same way [U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia] Mr. [Jeff] Taylor disparaged the Defense Department yesterday during his news conference, saying, in a backhanded way, "Well, that's a matter for the Defense Department," namely, why was he allowed to continue working at the lab, with full access to these pathogens, right up to the end of the investigation?
  

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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #8 - Aug 16th, 2008 at 12:07pm
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It's truly amazing!

He passed a federal agency administered poly twice, which is the same agency that trains the DOJ/FBI Polygraphers, and they say it's suspect because it was not administered by DOJ/FBI.

Now even if it would have been administered by the FBI and he passed, he would have been accused using countermeasures.

And then, if you fail the thing and truly have nothing to admit to, then you're accused of lying or holding something back that is unrelated to the problem question or questions.

My point is that this pseudoscience is a "no-win", "lose-lose" proposition. There is a pat answer for every scenario that allows them to keep the justification for polygraph use.

BTW, are there any congressmen in favor of getting rid of this bogus device?
  
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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #9 - Aug 16th, 2008 at 5:10pm
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nothingtoconfess

Write to your U. S. Senators and congressperson and ask them. Dollar to  a donut they won't even answer your letter. Also ask them if they are in favor of elected officials having to pass a polygraph in order to keep their jobs. If every elected official from all 50 states received just a dozen of this type letter, you would see some action on Capital Hill. A letter could be written in the same time it takes to post a complaint on this website. I'll never understand why people complain to each other, which never inpacts change, and not complain where it does the most good. You also have a vote when they are up for election.

To answer your question - It's evident that most of our elected officials in D.C. approves of the polygraph as long as it doesn't include them. That's why it's still around.
  
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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #10 - Aug 16th, 2008 at 7:23pm
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BTW, are there any congressmen in favor of getting rid of this bogus device?


No current ones that I can think of, but there has been concern in the past by congress.  Just concern, no change.

Twice congress has showed concern about relying on the polygraph to screen applicants.  In 1987, congress requested the DOD police itself by testing the efficacy of it's polygraph program.  As expected, they botched the job and the Office of Technology Assessment, an advisory arm of congress, concluded they failed to use proper scientific procedures to evaluate the polygraph.  Then ,or course, again in 2003 there was the NAS report, which was conducted at the request of congress, and was highly critical of the polygraph screening process.  Duly ignored by congress.

Congress is great for showing concern, and requesting studies, but not much else.  You are right, if they were required to take the test, it would probable disappear soon after.

Actually, members of congress who sit on certain intelligence committees ARE required ON PAPER to be screened, but they always find a way around it.  Probably because their butt holes are too worn and torn to employ proper countermeasures!

TC

P.S.  I will be off to Beijing soon, so won't be on the board much next week.
  

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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #11 - Feb 20th, 2010 at 6:08pm
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The Department of Justice addressed the matter of Bruce Ivins' polygraph screening "test" in announcing the closing of its investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks. For commentary, see "DOJ Rationalizes Away Polygraph's Failure to Catch Alleged Anthrax Mailer Bruce Ivins" on the blog:

https://antipolygraph.org/blog/?p=392
  

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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #12 - Feb 21st, 2010 at 10:07am
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The blog post about Ivins' polygraph examination has been updated with new information from his FBI case file:

https://antipolygraph.org/blog/?p=392
  

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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #13 - Feb 24th, 2010 at 5:19am
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Though it doesn't address the polygraph, a recent article in the Frederick, Maryland News-Post raises questions about the FBI's conclusion that Bruce Ivins was the perpetrator of the anthrax mailings:

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyID=101651
  

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Re: FBI Searched Anthrax Mailings Suspect Bruce Ivins for Polygraph Countermeasure Information
Reply #14 - Mar 11th, 2010 at 2:45pm
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On 9 March 2010, Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio interviewed Dr. Meryl Nass, a critic of the FBI's handling of the anthrax investigation. While the polygraph is mentioned only in passing, this interview will be of interest to those who have been following the anthrax story. It may be listened to on-line or downloaded as an mp3 file here:

http://antiwar.com/radio/2010/03/10/meryl-nass/

See also Dr. Nass' "summary of unresolved issues in the anthrax letters case," which forms the basis of the interview:

http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-summary-of-unresolved-issues-in.ht...
  

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