Normal Topic Angry at polygraph experience (Read 7819 times)
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Angry at polygraph experience
Feb 19th, 2001 at 5:58am
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Hello All,

I want to start by saying that I have a lot of respect for the members of this forum. Countless people have had their careers ruined by the polygraph. While my experience is not that extreme, I do want to share my experience and get some advice.

A little over a year ago, I was working for a government contractor, and took a "specific issue" polygraph as part of a clearance application. The specific issue in question was my admitting on my security form that I had smoked pot once (about 2 months before filling out the security form). I was told the polygraph was to clarify the circumstances of my drug use and to verify if there had been other drug use I was witholding. I gladly consented since I was telling the truth. That turned out to be a big mistake.

The circumstances of my drug use were that my father had just died of a serious, painful disease. I was 25 and distraught. Even though I had never done any drugs, I thought smoking pot would ease the pain a bit that night, and knew that a one-time small dose of pot was harmless, compared to crack/heroin/hallucinogens etc.. Like an honest idiot, I put all this down on the security form.

The day of the polygraph came, 6 months after my father died. I explained to the examiner that my father was very sick, and in pain. I was very distressed when he died, and thought smoking a little pot might help with the emotion. In a very confident and mindlessly arrogant tone, the examiner rehashed my father's situation and his being sick and helpless; the examiner made me feel a sadness I had not felt since the night my father died. It was too much for me to bear, and I broke down and cried like a baby in front of him. Very emotional.

About 20 minutes later, he hooked me up to the machine, and asked me all the questions. First the control questions: have I cheated on tests in school, have I ever betrayed a friend, and the number naming stuff. I actually answered "no" to the qestions about cheating and betrayal because I felt I hadn't done those things. Then the drug question: have I smoked pot more than 5 times?. The truthful answer is "no", which I is what I said, but apparently my "charts indicate deception". Needless to say, when that question came up, I knew it was "the one". Being a very tense, high-strung guy that I am, something must have spiked.

What followed was an endless, intimidating tirade of the examiner shouting at me telling me I'm lying and, in general, being very dispariging. I would retort that I was telling the truth. This went on for hours. When I realized it was pointless, I asked to leave as I was drained emotionally and physically, not to mention somewhat terrified by the whole experience. A few hours after that, they finally let me out after signing some form.

This was by far the most demeaning and humiliating experience of my adult life. After leaving from the polygraph, I almost got myself killed on the highway driving, just from not paying attention to the road because of my being traumatized. That night, I stayed in bed 10 whole hours but wasn't able to get a wink of sleep because I so upset of the experience. I had spilled my guts, and then been spat in the face.

A few weeks later, I called the security officer in DC in charge of my case and explained how I was badgered in the polygraph. She said that it's a very common feeling. Is that supposed to make the badgering acceptable and make make feel better?? I told her that I wasn't lying and they could give me any drug tests, search my house + car, talk to anyone I knew. She said: "The polygraph is the only solution for you people."

I didn't get the clearance, but I finally realized that my job sucked as a whole (notwithstanding the clearance issue) and left the company. I'm much happier in my current job (non government), but still feel very violated and angry at my experience with the polygraph.

What I've read since my experience on the various websites (antipolygraph, stopolygraph etc) was absolutely horrifying. On top of this being junk science, these "examiners" are nothing but government sanctioned thugs feeding their sick fetishes of belittling people, regardless of whether they're truthful.

After reading the Lie Behind the Lie Detector, I understand why my examiner was so bullheaded: to him it was purely about getting a confession out of me, so he could feel dominant over me. But I didn't give him what he wanted since I maintained throughout I was telling the truth. I'm glad I've realized this, because in his mind, I've beaten him. What a sick bastard SOB. In an ideal world, these guys deserve to spend a week in a room full of all of the false positives whose lives they've screwed.

I want to help to abolish this polygraph BS by writing the appropriate officials and want to get the notes or official results of my poly from the office that did it. How do I do that?? I have no idea which agency it was, my only contact is the clearance person at my old job.

Thank you all for reading. Writing about all this helps a lot in the emotional healing...
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George Maschke (Guest)
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Re: Angry at polygraph experience
Reply #1 - Feb 19th, 2001 at 10:17am
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Dear False +,

I am both saddened and angered to hear of your polygraph experience, and I look forward to working with you to end our government's reliance on polygraphy. You wrote:
Quote:
I want to help to abolish this polygraph BS by writing the appropriate officials and want to get the notes or official results of my poly from the office that did it. How do I do that?? I have no idea which agency it was, my only contact is the clearance person at my old job.

If you could find out from the clearance person at your old job which agency administered the polygraph examination (or which agency your application for a security clearance was filed with) and let me know, I'll find the address of the office from which you can request your records under the Freedom of Information Act. Since the U.S. Government has officially branded you as a liar, it would indeed behoove you to obtain these files and find out precisely what the polygrapher put in the report. (Federal polygraphers have reportedly exaggerated and even fabricated admissions of wrongdoing in the past.)
  
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Re: Angry at polygraph experience
Reply #2 - Feb 19th, 2001 at 4:55pm
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False +

In addition to George"s suggestions, Write letters to your state and national congressmen asking them to end this scam. In the "reading room" of this site is an "open letter
to all politicians and appointed officials". You can copy it and send it like it is with your own comments or reword it. The main thing is to let them know the polygraph should be abolished. Get all your friends and relatives to do the same. There is power in numbers.
  
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Re: Angry at polygraph experience
Reply #3 - Feb 19th, 2001 at 5:21pm
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The letter Twoblock refers to is here:

http://antipolygraph.org/articles/article-003.shtml
  

AntiPolygraph.org Administrator
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box John Doe
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Re: Angry at polygraph experience
Reply #4 - Feb 19th, 2001 at 9:24pm
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Dear False +,

I am sorry things unfolded the way they did for you.  I am also glad that you appear to be happy with your current situation and did not let those idiots get the best of you. 

I do believe that you told the truth and were very sincere in your answers, however, it appears the truth is what got you into trouble.  Thus lies the hypocrisy within the polygraph.  Sometimes in order to pass…you must lie.  It is my experience that once a polygrapher hears of recent illegal drug use (usually within the last 4 years)…the polygrapher has already in his/her mind failed you.  Once recent drug abuse is brought up (no matter what the circumstances) the polygraph ‘test’ crosses the threshold into nothing more than a blatant interrogation aimed at getting mass confessions.   In the polygraphers mind you have already failed…so why not squeeze you for more info. 

My experience was very similar to yours.  Once I admitted my recent drug use, the polygraph session drastically changed into a hostile interrogation.  Since I really wanted the job and was at the time ignorant of the phony dynamics of the polygraph…I made stupid admission (e.g., stupid/harmless stuff I did when I was drunk in college etc…).  Just so I could get that job I suffered through 12 hours of interrogations in 2 days.  Man, that really sucked…I felt as if all of my life force had been drained from my body. 

After waiting 6 months for them to come up with the verdict of whether or not a security investigation would be conducted…I was not surprised to find out that I failed my polygraph.  Through the FOIA I requested my personnel file and was surprised to find what they had written in the report.  They had exaggerated some of my admissions and downright lied about some of the other stuff I said.  Since I knew that my polygraph sessions were recorded/taped…I knew I had a means of recourse through the appeals process.  Through the appeals process I successfully overturned all of the incidents they cited in the security report that failed me.  But still, even though I had told the truth and had successfully overturned their security findings…they brought up my recent use of marijuana (3 years ago) to fail me.  Has anyone seen the movie Traffic?  Those security people are all messed up in the head.  I guess we have to wait until those cold war era ultra- rightwing conservative dinosaurs die out before some means of sense arises. 

Like False +…it turned out that failing the polygraph was a good thing.  I have moved on with my life and found happiness doing other stuff.  Any agency that would support and use the polygraph…is an agency I don’t want to work for.  Security people and polygraphers are the WORST excuse for human being’s I have ever seen.  How do they live with the knowledge that they damaged/hurt/destroyed many innocent people?  I believe what they have done to people is actually worse then my recent experimentation with marijuana 3 years ago.  I also believe that I am not alone in my views. 



  
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Re: Angry at polygraph experience
Reply #5 - Feb 20th, 2001 at 12:07am
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Dear John Doe,

Indeed, your experience has much common with mine. Those bastards kept me in there for 5 hours -- ridiculous. Our tax dollars at work; it's nothing less than a national shame and scandal.

Just like you said, lying is regrettably the only path to go on. My "drug use" was a one time wonder, and it sounds as though yours was too (or close to it). In such circumstances, where there are no traces of habitual drug use, it's just best not to mention it at all. Otherwise, all hell breaks loose.

One reason I mentioned my drug use was that a co-worker of mine confided in me that he had smoked pot regularly throughout high school and had put that down on the form (his clearances went well beyond TS). I reasoned that if he put that down, then my being honest about my one time experience wouldn't be a problem. Wrong!!! It turns out, security people think that getting wasted on drugs in high school is acceptable, but touching it just once after getting out is reason for a firing squad.

The other reason I mentioned my drug use is, ironically, that I didn't want to get tripped up on this issue later on if I were to be polygraphed. Well, I did get polygraphed, told the truth, but got branded a liar. The irony is so thick here you can choke on it.

These so called "examiners" have deep rooted psychological issues. Can you imagine being married to one? Oddly enough, if you look on government agency websites like CIA, NSA, or FBI and look under the job vacancies, the ones of polygraph examiner state something to the effect "candidate must have unquestionable personal integrity". I think that if a guy has a mind so ravaged that he trusts a polygraph machine as a sorter of fact from fiction, and is willing to abuse people at will, that should be reason enough to lock this person away.
  
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Re: Angry at polygraph experience
Reply #6 - Feb 20th, 2001 at 3:23am
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Dear George,

Thank you for your suggestions, and I intend to follow through.

I have a few questions though. When I was applying for the clearance to work on this program, I wasn't even told who the agency was. I needed the clearance to just to know who they were. I suspect that if I contact the clearance person back at my old job, she'll tell me something like "I can't reveal the identity of the client." If that's the case, she would become my contact for this FOIA stuff. I don't know if that's good or bad. If have no real reason to believe she would do anything against my interests (she was always nice, if a little on the naive side).

What do you suggest? Should I just send her mail anyway and ask that I want access to the full report of my poly??

Thanks a bunch for you help.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George Maschke (Guest)
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Re: Angry at polygraph experience
Reply #7 - Feb 20th, 2001 at 12:10pm
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False +,

I think you have little choice then, but to go through the person who handled security clearance applications for your former employer. It seems to me that she ought to be able to tell you which agency administered the polygraph examination. You might do well to follow up any mail or e-mail with a phone call.
  
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Re: Angry at polygraph experience
Reply #8 - Feb 21st, 2001 at 11:59am
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False+,

I am also saddened and upset to hear about what happened to you.

I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestions others gave about writing letters to prominent representatives requesting an expanded Employee Polygraph Protection Act.  

Check out our "Get Involved" page at:
http://www.antipolygraph.org/get.shtmlfor names, addresses, and a sample letter.

Feel free to send us a copy of any letter you write for anonymous posting on this page.

Last modification: Gino J. Scalabrini - 02/21/01 at 03:59:46
  
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Update (sort of)
Reply #9 - Feb 22nd, 2001 at 3:26am
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All,

Thank you very much for your helpful posts.

I've contacted (email) the clearance person at my old job to ask her to request the "government client" in question for my poly report under the FOIA. She replied that she would pass on my request but that she wasn't sure how one obtains this sort of information. Has she never heard of FOIA?? I'll wait till the end of the week and inquire about her progress. How long does this stuff usually take?

Another question though. Under FOIA, do I have a right to know the identity of the polygraphing agency?? Because I was never told who they were. Even when I went in for the poly, I was just given direction to a business complex and that was it, no name.

Thank you.
  
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Angry at polygraph experience

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