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Paul K. Minor
Oct 11th, 2015 at 2:50am
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Every now and then one is reminded of life’s many ironies.  Today is such a time for me…

Recently a polygraph victim asked me how I became involved with polygraphy and how I went from doing polygraph research for the FBI to being a vociferous advocate for polygraph victims.  The story is more complex than I wanted to get into at the time, so I promised a future recounting…

Today I was notified of the death of a former colleague, which leads me to at least a part of that recounting.  Aside from my doctoral dissertation mentor and my research committee members at the GWU medical center, there were two prominent individuals in the world of lie detection who advised/assisted me with regard to that research.  Both were very well known in the polygraph community and were as pro-polygraph as they come. Although there are many others from the academic and operational polygraph community, supporters (Gordon Barland and Bill Yankee chief amongst them) and critics (David Lykken chief amongst them) that played a personal role in my development, it is the former two and one in particular that I would like to focus upon.

One was Norm Ansley, head of polygraph research at NSA and long time editor of Polygraph, a trade publication for that community.  Norm and NSA assisted me in providing funding for my doctoral dissertation research—the equipment used and expenses incurred while doing the research at what was then called the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (DoDPI).

The second individual was Paul Minor, a former Army CID polygraph examiner and (I believe) a former head of that program, the first unit chief of (what I would describe as) the modern era of lie detection at the FBI, and a participant in many celebrated cases, e.g., the Anita Hill polygraph examination surrounding the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, the Jon Benet Ramsey murder investigation, etc. in his post FBI career.

Paul was also the owner of a beige, dented, 15-seat Dodge van, which he used to operate a vanpool to and from the Burke, VA area (where I lived at the time) to FBIHQ in Washington, D.C.  Although this, no doubt, is not a part of Paul’s curriculum vitae or likely to be a part of any eulogy, it is this phase of Paul’s life that was of significance to me.

As I recall, I joined this vanpool about the time (early 1980s) that I was completing the course work for my program and was looking for a thesis research topic.  It was Paul who, during a snowstorm of a commute, first suggested that I consider lie detection as a field of study.  That suggestion ultimately led to my research and, well, the rest is history, so to speak.  (Paul also sold me the “Secret Agent Van” when he left the Bureau and I continued in his stead as unofficial FBI chauffeur for a couple of years.)

The irony of Norm Ansley and Paul Minor having contributed to my current anti-polygraph role in the world of lie detection is not lost on those in the community.  Their role in my development is not the only bit of serendipity involved.  My doctoral dissertation research dealt with concealed information testing, as has virtually all the research that I have done in the area of psychophysiology.

It was not until sometime later that, when going through the Basic Polygraph Examiner course at DODPI, I became familiar with the shortcomings of lie detection as it is widely practiced.  Had my dissertation work revolved/begun with commonly utilized lie detection formats, I probably would have switched topics and never again been involved in the world of polygraphy.

In spite of the radically different path that I have taken from these gentlemen and the likelihood that they both wondered about the anti-polygraph “monster” they helped create, at least one of the two would probably smirk at the irony.  Paul was always a bit impish and a bit of a rebel himself.  Although he would probably have kicked himself in the backside for his role in my professional development, he likewise, with a grin and a shake of his head, would have wished me well on my chosen path.

I learned today that Paul recently passed away after a lengthy illness.  May you rest in peace, Paul.
« Last Edit: Oct 11th, 2015 at 12:40pm by Drew Richardson »  
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Re: Paul K. Minor
Reply #1 - Oct 11th, 2015 at 8:03am
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My condolences Doc; I know all too well how it feels to lose a good friend.

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Re: Paul K. Minor
Reply #2 - Oct 11th, 2015 at 12:34pm
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An obituary found subsequent to my initial post in the thread....

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?n=paul-k-minor&pid...
  
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Paul K. Minor

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