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Accused of using countermeasures, blacklisted... and totally innocent. (Read 7634 times)
Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box kb5
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Accused of using countermeasures, blacklisted... and totally innocent.
Oct 24th, 2011 at 5:32pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
I haven't spent much time on this website, but from what I can gather, this is a familiar story. Nevertheless, I feel like sharing my experience, even if it is mainly venting.

WARNING: Long post ahead.  Please buckle up.

Since I was in high school, I've always had the lofty goal of working in federal law enforcement. I say "goal" and not "dream" because I did not just have this as an idle fantasy; I focused most of my efforts through high school and college on that objective. I made a point to never get in trouble, never do drugs, steal, etc. I've seriously never had as much as a speeding ticket for my entire high school and never a single drunken night in college.

I graduated with honors this past May, and I'd been in the application process with the agency of my choice for the past year or so. Everything had gone smoothly up until the polygraph... According to the agents I was in contact with, I was one of three candidates out of about a thousand from my area who made it to that step, although I have no idea how much faith I place in that anymore.  I honestly wouldn't trust a word any of them said at this point.

My only experience with polygraphs came from a forensic psychology course I took in college, which basically spent a whole unit debunking the science behind the polygraph, basic ways to defeat it, etc. The course actually mentioned this website, but I never took the time to visit. A post on officer.com advised me to "not worry about it," and to "just go in and answer honestly without trying to prepare.  It's not the kind of test you can or should study for."

Boy, was that bad advice.

Before hooking me up to the big scary machine, the examiner asked what I knew about polygraphs and the ways to beat them. I told him about my course, and he seemed satisfied.

He gave me examples about the types of questions I'd be facing, and when talked about questions like "is today Tuesday," I responded with "Oh, right. Control questions." I had no idea this phrase was a red flag to a polygraph examiner; my major in college dealt with human subjects research, and I am very familiar with basic research concepts. As he was supposedly familiar with my file, he should have known this as well... but apparently this still seemed suspicious to him. We'll get to that.

I never got past the first block of questions, consisting of major crimes (murder, arson, etc) and workplace integrity. I followed every instruction, stared at the wall and answered the examiner's questions.

I knew something was up when he started having me answer the same questions again, but this time "in my head." After that, he had me repeat the last word of the question, plus my answer. Each time, he paused for a greater and greater length of time. Finally, he asked me to go sit in the lobby while he "took some notes."

Forty-five minutes later, he opens the door again, and I am immediately facing down somebody in interrogator mode. None of his previous friendliness was there - his body language and tone of voice indicated a drastic shift in the persona he was projecting. He sat two inches away from me in a chair, looked me dead in the eye, and said:

"I don't appreciate being cheated. You aren't following my instructions. I know with 100% certainty that you're using tactics to beat my test."

I actually laughed. I thought he was kidding. He wasn't.

"Your whole chart is filled abnormal physiological data, and that indicates you're trying to cheat me. I can tell just by watching your body language."

After repeated insistence on my part, he finally shared what I was doing. Apparently, the combination of my breathing and the way my lips were touching was "absolutely 100% indicative of somebody trying to cheat the test."

"Just tell me where you learned these techniques. I understand that you've probably spent a lot of time online reading this stuff. This isn't the end of the line for you if you just come clean with me, but if you aren't honest with me, this is it. You're either using false information you found online, or employing transcendental meditation techniques"

I told him I didn't appreciate being called a liar. I told him that I would not admit to something I was not doing.

"You're telling me that you're breathing like that unconsciously? Give me a break. The chances of somebody just accidentally touching their lips together like that AND breathing like you are almost zero."

Looks like the odds were against me.

I was sitting in the chair, as relaxed as one could be, answering the questions about topics I had absolutely no emotional attachment to, and this was the result.

After the whole process, he told me that he still had to send the data to D.C., and that they "didn't appreciate cheaters." He then proceeded to tell me that I'd be blacklisted from all future federal law enforcement jobs because I was "cheating."

Whether that is true or not, I just could not believe my experience. Not once in my life has anybody ever accused me of lying and cheating, and it really got me livid.

Blacklist or no, I just cannot see myself in a career that relies upon such quackery as a hiring milestone. I have lost complete faith in the individuals I held up as heroes throughout my entire childhood, and the thought sickens me.

So why did this happen? I have absolutely no idea. My natural breathing pattern is very slow and light, and I am an avid marathoner, with a resting heart rate of 44BPM. That is the only thing I can think of. I was very calm and relaxed through the whole process, both physically and mentally.

I am simply frustrated to have wasted so much of my life pursuing this career, only to get the door slammed in my face by some witch doctor with a heart rate monitor.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Ironically, when my inquisitor was grilling me on where I learned my supposed techniques, he brought up this website and reminded me of its existence. So, if you're reading this, thank you for opening my eyes to just how backward our world still is.
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Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box stefano
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Re: Accused of using countermeasures, blacklisted... and totally innocent.
Reply #1 - Oct 24th, 2011 at 11:15pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
Quote:
Blacklist or no, I just cannot see myself in a career that relies upon such quackery as a hiring milestone. I have lost complete faith in the individuals I held up as heroes throughout my entire childhood, and the thought sickens me.

This sums it up very nicely. I am sorry you had to undergo such humiliation. It appears that fear of countermeasures is causing many "examiners" to hallucinate, and out of their extreme examiner bias, they resort to false accusations. It seems to be a trend now to just accuse the examinees of countermeasures, give them an inconclusive and pocket the $500. I'm very sorry your dreams were crushed by that insecure gorilla. If it's any consolation, I'm certain that eventually they will leave enough wreckage in their wake to where lawmakers will finally take notice.
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« Last Edit: Oct 25th, 2011 at 1:42am by N/A »  
 
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Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box Evan S
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Re: Accused of using countermeasures, blacklisted... and totally innocent.
Reply #2 - Oct 25th, 2011 at 4:50pm
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kb5:

Have you received the "thin" letter from this federal agency officially stating you have been DQ'd?  Also, do you know the ratio of applicants to openings for this position?


To Bill_Brown and pailryder (and Ralph Hilliard of polygraphplace.com who reads this website):

All of you have expressed the desire to clean up your profession.  I suggest the following:

(1). Via PM, get the name of kb5's polygrapher.  Contact this polygrapher and explain to him possible ethical and professional violations he may have committed (according to APA).  Don't be intimidated by his status as a federal polygrapher who may feel he is above the APA.  Determine if he must achieve a quota of failures (said to be 40 to 50 percent for the FBI preemployment polygraph).

(2). Via PM, get the list of questions from kb5 while they are still fresh in his mind.  Consider the possibility of conducting your own polygraph on kb5.  Post the results on this website.  (Since this was a preemployment polygraph on an applicant just out of college, no sensitive national security questions should have been asked.)

(3). Lobby for change to which both sides would agree.  Example: all federal polygraphs (preemployment, security screening and specific issue) would be conducted by an independent federal organization, as opposed to the current setup where each organization has its own permanent or contract polygraphers solely answerable not to APA or Ralph Hilliard but to their home organization (from which they receive the performance appraisals and salary reviews).


Evan S
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Re: Accused of using countermeasures, blacklisted... and totally innocent.
Reply #3 - Oct 25th, 2011 at 6:41pm
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Evan S

You're dreaming. Sadistic polygraphers enjoy too much power to let any of it get away. They love the fact of holding people's future solely in their hands. As for the APA, they are there only to protect and defend polygraphers no matter how bad they are or what they've done. Past history bears this out. Most of them are paranoid about this website. If they could accurately detect counter-measures, they would have no need to ask an applicants if they have visited here. If they have an obscure idea that an applicant has visited this site or others like it, it's an automatic DQ. Remember they control the machine.

A better solution is do what you can to discourage wide-eyed youngsters from wanting to work for our corrupt national security agencies.
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Re: Accused of using countermeasures, blacklisted... and totally innocent.
Reply #4 - Oct 25th, 2011 at 10:32pm
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Evan S,

I have sent an email to kb5 as you suggested.  I will let you know if he responds and what further actions might be taken at his request. 

I don't know what happened during his examination, I do understand persons with resting heart rates of 44 BPM are not common.  Athletic persons present other than normal chart readings.  I have had very individuals with natural slow respiration rates and slow heart rates.  It is not something I would attribute as a counter measure, it is their normal.  I have also tested person that have EDA readings below what I would call normal, however it is THIER normal.
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Re: Accused of using countermeasures, blacklisted... and totally innocent.
Reply #5 - Oct 26th, 2011 at 1:13pm
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Evan S,

Although your last post regarding kb5 is well intentioned, it is quite naive.  There is no cleaning up polygraphy.  There is either allowing its continuation or seeing to its elimination. 

The vast majority of problems with this form of lie detection have nothing to do with individual malice or malpractice. State of the art polygraphy is nothing but full-blown quackery and is no better practiced in the hands of the good and would-be responsible than it is in the hands of the evil and/or incompetent.

Independent quackery is ultimately no better than in-house quackery.  Although the former may be fairer inasmuch as the widespread error is more evenly distributed over the examinee population than the latter (which may contain an element of in house institutional bias), ultimately neither venue for practice is satisfactory.

If the applicant process or the periodic employee reinvestigation process is to be improved, lie detection polygraphy must be eliminated.
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Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box Fair Chance
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Re: Accused of using countermeasures, blacklisted... and totally innocent.
Reply #6 - Oct 26th, 2011 at 9:18pm
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Dear Dr. Richardson,

The toll of "Polygraph Examinations" is indeed being felt by the national security organizations ten years beyond the period of "9/11."

Look back upon my postings in the year of 2004 when I chastised applicants about their perceived injustice at the hands of pre-employment  examination failures.  I told them that it is a numbers game and the amount of highly qualified applicants far exceeded the amount of positions available.

Fast forward to 2011. The Federal Government is pulling back its early law enforcement retirement with supplemental income. Law enforcement availability pay will quickly rise to the chopping block. The "Gang of Twelve" is presenting as a matter of approved agreement that federal law enforcement in general has enjoyed benefits which are not compatible with the private sector. FBI agents are losing their "automatic assumptions" to federally provided BUCARS.

FBI employment is not the "Golden Cow" that it used to be. In fact, it might be the "Fatted Calf" which is now ripe for slaughter. Any employee who needs to qualify for a "Top Secret" clearance with many additional letters must supply an abundance of paper annually. These "trained dogs" are dying off or retiring. There is no abundance of applicants now.

A Tsunamis is in the works and no one can see the tide going out of the harbor leaving all of the boats "high and dry."

Regards. 
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Re: Accused of using countermeasures, blacklisted... and totally innocent.
Reply #7 - Oct 27th, 2011 at 7:15am
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Fair Chance,

Thank you for the update on matters related to the 1811 series law enforcement positions within the FBI.  Although often asked about such things by my forensic science students, having retired from the FBI over a decade ago, I am rather removed from these ongoing considerations and changes.

Hopefully the congressional negotiators you refer to will not only focus on the savings reaped from changes in personnel benefits but will consider the considerable savings reaped by dismantling the present polygraphy empire.  The latter savings could be obtained with little loss and actual institutional gain, i.e., the present program(s) produce little of value and their absence would actually remove an impediment to meaningful hiring and retention of employees.
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