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Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training? (Read 37713 times)
Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Apr 4th, 2013 at 3:28pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
As mentioned on the blog, it appears at least one federal agency may think so. A report (5.4 mb PDF) by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection polygraph unit on substantive admissions obtained opens with a paragraph about 10 applicants who received instruction in polygraph countermeasures:

Quote:
1. During the conduct of a precedence [sic] setting criminal investigation known as Operation [redacted], ten applicants for law enforcement positions within CBP were identified as receiving sophisticated polygraph Countermeasure training in an effort to defeat the polygraph requirement. None of the CBP applicants were successful, but others involved in the conspiracy were [redacted]. The Insider Threat caused by the physiological and psychological polygraph countermeasures employed against other agencies has been investigated by CBP-IA with assistance from affected agencies. This investigation provides proof of the necessity and effectiveness of the Anti-Border Corruption Act, and revelation of the previously unknown vulnerabilities of the hiring process.


To my knowledge, there has been no press coverage of any such criminal investigation heretofore. I would be interested in any informed commentary any of our readers could provide.
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #1 - Apr 4th, 2013 at 3:42pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
I cannot imagine a statute that would be violated by what a person thinks or does during a polygraph.

Even if they attempted to write new law, I can't imagine how one would phrase such a law so that it could be enforced.
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #2 - Apr 4th, 2013 at 4:09pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
CBP refuses to answer whether they think it is a crime to provide or receive polygraph countermeasure training. See the update to the blog post:

https://antipolygraph.org/blog/2013/04/04/u-s-customs-and-border-protection-reve...
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George W. Maschke
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Thoughts and Speculation on "Operation X"
Reply #3 - Apr 5th, 2013 at 4:23am
Mark & Quote Quote 
I think CBP would have been justified in redacting the name of the polygraph countermeasure operation (I'll call it "Operation X") only if the operation were still ongoing at the time CBP document was released. The metadata in the PDF file released by the Center for Investigative Reporting indicates that it was created on 31 January 2013. If that date is correct, it follows that CBP redacted the document no later than that. So Operation X may have still been active at the beginning of February 2013.

The fact that no arrests have been announced as a result of the "precedent setting" Operation X suggests that either:

1) Operation X was wound down without any criminal charges having been brought

or

2) Operation X is still ongoing and release of the CBP document unintentionally disclosed it's existence.

Admissions to polygraph countermeasures are quite rare. The CBP report cites only seven such admissions for the period from 2008-2012. These admissions (at paras. 208-214 of the CBP report) do not appear to be connected with Operation X.

By contrast, Operation X has allegedly identified ten CBP applicants who received polygraph countermeasure training and, it would seem, an undisclosed number of applicants or employees of other agencies. No admissions are alleged. This is rather extraordinary, and it suggests to me that the information may be derived from electronic eavesdropping.

Polygraph community countermeasure documentation received by AntiPolygraph.org (which we will be posting shortly) indicates that there are two primary sources of information about countermeasures that concern the polygraph community: AntiPolygraph.org and Doug Williams' Polygraph.com. Communications with either site may be the subject of a court-ordered wiretap.
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George W. Maschke
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #4 - Apr 5th, 2013 at 9:19am
Mark & Quote Quote 
Gee, George, I thought you said CMs can't be detected???

To the suckers who paid $1,000+ (presumably to Doug Williams):  you got what you paid for!
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #5 - Apr 5th, 2013 at 9:43am
Mark & Quote Quote 
Quickfix,

No polygrapher has ever demonstrated any ability to detect the kinds of countermeasures outlined in The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, and the CBP admissions summary doesn't suggest that countermeasures were "detected," unless you're naive enough to believe that the seven who admitted using countermeasures are the only instances (out of some 11,149 CBP polygraph examinations conducted from 2008-2012) where countermeasures were employed. Documentation soon to be published on AntiPolygraph.org indicates that the polygraph community has no coherent methodology for detecting such countermeasures. Stay tuned.
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George W. Maschke
E-mail: maschke@antipolygraph.org
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SIP: georgemaschke@ostel.co
Encrypted voice and text chat (XMPP via Jitsi): georgemaschke@jit.si
Postal mail: Van Trigtstraat 53, 2597 VX The Hague, The Netherlands
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. -- Saul Bellow
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #6 - Apr 5th, 2013 at 10:25am
Mark & Quote Quote 
No offense, George, but you're the naive one here.  The report you attached clearly demonstrates our ability to detect CMs.  You can rationalize the contents of that report any way you want, but one of those caught clearly stated the CMs were used after researching your website.

I can also assure you that far more than 7 have been caught in past years.  You just don't know about it.
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #7 - Apr 5th, 2013 at 10:52am
Mark & Quote Quote 
Quickfix,

"Detection" means identification at better-than-chance levels of accuracy. The seven countermeasure confessions do not (and cannot) demonstrate that CBP polygraph examiners are able to detect countermeasures. This is so because we do not (and cannot) know:
  • what percentage of examinees employed countermeasures;
  • what percentage of those who employed countermeasures were "determined" by CBP to have employed countermeasures;
  • what percentage of those who were "determined" by CBP to have used countermeasures actually did so.
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George W. Maschke
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Postal mail: Van Trigtstraat 53, 2597 VX The Hague, The Netherlands
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. -- Saul Bellow
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #8 - Apr 5th, 2013 at 11:40am
Mark & Quote Quote 
It's a great irony that polygraph operators assert that they can detect countermeasures, while simultaneously exhibiting extreme paranoia whenever anyone wants to learn about them. I think CBP are smart enough to know that obtaining knowledge is not a crime; while their "investigation" may be real, its main purpose is to instill fear into future applicants.
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #9 - Apr 5th, 2013 at 11:45am
Mark & Quote Quote 
Doug Williams,

Can I ask if you have perceived any kind of harrassment or privacy violations in the course of running your business? I hope you are prepared to bring a lawsuit against anyone who crosses the line.
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #10 - Apr 6th, 2013 at 11:51am
Mark & Quote Quote 
It seems that accusations of countermeasure use are quite common.  It also seems unlikely that a majority of people who take polygraphs are, in fact, skilled at countermeasures. 

If I polygraph 100 people, and accuse 75 of them of using countermeasures, and five of them admit to using countermeasures, can I accurately claim that I can detect countermeasures?  I would think not.

If 100 people were polygraphed, and, say, 10 of them used countermeasures, and the polygraph operator accused 7 or 8 people and each of them were among the group using countermeasures, that would indicate their ability to detect countermeasures.

If, in the same controlled experiment, the polygraph operators accused 70 out of 100 of using countermeasures, and 7 or 8 of those accused were in fact using countermeasures, that seems more like a version of the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #11 - Apr 7th, 2013 at 12:28pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
Should I go into the field of polygraph or psychics?
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #12 - Apr 7th, 2013 at 12:36pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
polytime wrote on Apr 7th, 2013 at 12:28pm:
Should I go into the field of polygraph or psychics?


Good question. Both involve the art of cold reading. The most successful psychics rake in more money than the most successful polygraph operators, though.
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George W. Maschke
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Re: Is It a Crime to Provide or Receive Polygraph Countermeasure Training?
Reply #13 - Apr 7th, 2013 at 12:54pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
The most successful psychics rake in more money than the most successful polygraph operators, though.

Good point and article!
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Operation Lie Busters
Reply #14 - Apr 9th, 2013 at 2:11pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
The actual name of "Operation X" is "Operation Lie Busters." More to follow.
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George W. Maschke
E-mail: maschke@antipolygraph.org
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SIP: georgemaschke@ostel.co
Encrypted voice and text chat (XMPP via Jitsi): georgemaschke@jit.si
Postal mail: Van Trigtstraat 53, 2597 VX The Hague, The Netherlands
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. -- Saul Bellow
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