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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening (Read 31631 times)
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #15 - Mar 30th, 2001 at 12:14am
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Mr. Latimer,
  I'm sorry if you interpreted my response as an attack on you personally. It's your profession that I have a problem with. What I'm trying to say is that Polygraphist seem to give off the appearance that they are an "unbiased" part of the polygraph exam and that they are only there just to record the results. When in fact you are actually a trained interrogator that controls every aspect of the examination and are able to manipulate the results through leading (and misleading) questioning.
  Let's face it, if there was such a machine that could determine TRUTH or LIE the world would be a much safer and better place to live in. We could could just bypass the entire trial portion of our criminal justice system by just asking the accused a few simple questions and determine guilt or innocence. Let alone what this wonder machine could do to solve a great number of the other problems in todays society. But, in reality we have a machine called the POLYGRAPH that only measures a persons heart rate, breathing patterns and sweat gland activity. And you purport to be able to tell TRUTH or LIE from that? Come on.....................
  
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Very salient point
Reply #16 - Mar 30th, 2001 at 1:37am
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Jane Doe III and Nate,

You've raised an extremely salient, a all to often, neglected argument about polygraphy: the fact that if it really worked, we could do away with many judicial proceedings.

Most trials attempt to sort lies from truth via witness testimony and evidence. If a black box existed that could genuinely indicate if a person is knowingly telling a lie, then much of the trial process is moot. It hasn't come to that because, obviously, the polygraph machine and examiner pair don't achieve this objective.

You raise a second point about examiners manipulation. Most examiners know full well, deep down, they enjoy the power trip they get from polygraphing individuals. I think it escapes most examiners that subject "confessions" are made simply to stop being used as a punching bag by the examiner, without the confessed sin being real. I came very close to doing just that during my polygraph. It looked as though they were never going to let me out despite my repeated requests to be released.

Nate mentioned the blood pressure strap being too tight. That's exactly what happened to me too. The exaniner made it so tight that my hand was indistinguishable from the purple amathyst stone on my college ring. After complaining about it numerous times, he tied it around my calf which felt much better. However, the examiner was visibly upset from doing this and any idiot can realize that influenced my responses. The more cynical of critics have suggested to me the whole blood pressure cuff thing was a planned ruse on the examiner's part to do just that.

Any way you slice it, the polygraph is on its way out. It may get worse before it gets better, but such an abomination of gargantuan proportions cannot stand on its own too much longer. The internet will prove useful in disseminating information about it certainly...
  
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #17 - Apr 1st, 2001 at 1:14am
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Great, the same "test" that was passed by Spy Ames, that the same government has argued(successfully) in appelate court is not reliable, is going to be used to "test" FBI agents?  Sorry Ray, but you really don't have anything but a subjective bias in determining what the actual cause of the readings are during a polygraph recording.  You "assume" they are caused by a reaction to your question, safe assumption so far.....but what is the root of that reaction?
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Nate. (Guest)
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #18 - Apr 3rd, 2001 at 4:59pm
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Jane Doe:"When in fact you are actually a trained interrogator that controls every aspect of the examination and are able to manipulate the results through leading (and misleading) questioning."

After reading many posts from this site and among others I know I am a minority on this incident.  The one false positive I did receive I didn't even know about it until I got the rejection letter.  My exam lasted about 20 minutes and I was out the door thinking I passed.  I even asked the examiner after the exam if everything came out accurate and he said that he didn't know and just mails the results off to the police department (Now I know he was lying because a trained polygraph examiner has to interpret the results, not a police officer).

I sure wish he had confronted me about "a reaction" because I would have loved to go head to head intellectually with him.  He told me had to do hundreds of polygraph tests by the end of the month so I got the idea he was pressed for time and really didn’t care to interrogate me.  Maybe I will have better luck next time if I ever have to take another one Grin
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mark Mallah
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #19 - Apr 3rd, 2001 at 10:01pm
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Nate,

You and everyone else out there should be aware that "going head to head intellectually" with a polygraph interrogator is the biggest waste of time you can engage in, and an impossibility.

The interrogation will NOT be a good faith exchange, but an attempt to intimidate, wheedle, cajole, coax, and pressure you into a confession using any tool available, including distortion of your words, lies, half-lies, and trickery.

If accused of deception by a polygraph examiner, the innocent person should assert their innocence and politely walk out the door.
  
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #20 - Apr 3rd, 2001 at 10:43pm
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I just want to second what Mark said.  

Intellectual jousting with a polygraph examiner who has already informed you that you were "deceptive" is a big waste of time and can lead to disastrous consequences.

Staying for a post-test interrogation is asking for trouble in the form of a false confession.  As soon as you are sure that the examination has moved into the "post-test interview" (read interrogation) phase, politely deny the polygraphers charges and get the heck out of Dodge.  Common signs singaling the start of the "post-test" include the examiner motioning you to sit in chair positioned with its back to the corner, and his use of the words "deception" and/or "trouble."

Anything you say to the examiner at this point just gives him ammunition to twist into a false confession that will help him justify his "findings" to his superiors.  False confessions are much harder to fight than dismissals on polygraph charts alone.  Even if the interrogation is taped, you will have a difficult time obtaining copies to support your version of the events.  Bolt for the door.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Nate
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #21 - Apr 4th, 2001 at 5:02pm
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Yes, you guys are probably right, it would not be wise to argue with and examiner because it would be a no win situation if he is dishonest about his agrument.  Although on the last test that I took, I talked to the examiner for 2 full hours before I took the test (when he said do you have any question?....I took the opportunity).  I told him I was educated on the matter and told him everything (the complete honesty tactic).  It worked and he passed me!  My discussion on the pre-exam was basically that I was predetermined that I was going to fail because of a false positive.  It was as if I was arguing that I failed before I even failed!?! He must have believed me and passed me so I guess it worked.  I would assume that if I tried to argue after a false positive, the discussion would be different and not winnable as you guys stated.
  

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods" &&&&-Albert Einstein &&
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mark Mallah
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #22 - Apr 5th, 2001 at 7:07am
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Someone pointed out to me that a current government employee about to undergo a polygraph interrogation may not have the luxury of walking out without inviting adverse consequences.

In this case, you might need to stay for a post-test interrogation.  If you do, you should not attempt to engage with the examiner, or attempt to persuade him/her.  Do not give him/her that much power.  Simply assert that you told the truth, period, and do not attempt to explain why you were found deceptive.

You still might consider leaving at some point, but you should conduct yourself professionally and not get sucked into conflict with the examiner.

Also, read the Lie Behind the Lie Detector for more on this point.

Gino, I would be interested in your comments, or anyone else who has been in this situation.  I "confess" that I was under post-test interrogations as an FBI employee for many, many, hours, and made the mistakes I am cautioning against.  I knew very little about the polygraph and was naive.
  
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #23 - Apr 5th, 2001 at 9:53pm
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Mark,

I was in a post-test interrogation situation myself. After the examiner finished cycling through the questions, he got up and shouted "Things couldn't look any worse than they are." I was naive about the entire polygraph interrogation procedure at the time, and was completely dumbfounded at how I could derserve winding up in such a situation after spilling my guts. [Also, during the pre-test interview, the examiner brought me to tears regarding the death of my father due to a serious illness just 6 months prior.]

The interrogation lasted for hours afterwards, and I would continue to say I was telling the truth all to be rebutted with "We know you're being deceptive and untruthful." When it became apparent that they wouldn't budge a bit, I asked to leave. They never physically restrained me, but was made to understand they weren't about the let me leave. At that point I was becoming genuinely frightened as to what going to become of me on this situation. I had no idea at the time who they were (turns out it was CIA).

The examiner walked out of the room, and another walks in a little later and plays good cop. After he saw I was maintining I was truthful, he turns into bad cop. After a while, he leaves, and yet another examiner walks in and the whole thing starts over again. When they saw I wasn't budging, they forced me to sign some form. I completely forgot what it said, but I would have gladly signed a form saying I was Kennedy's assassin (nevermind that I wasn't born at the time....). But after that, as I'm walking out the door, the one examiner extends his hand for me to shake, which I did for some reason, and then he says "It's the worst thing you can do." Wow, words of wisdom to live by. I stayed in there for 5 hours, all too see if in fact I had only smoked pot once in my life (as I reported in my clearance form -- arguably, one of the dumbest things I've ever done (the reporting of the act, not the act itself!).

I was indeed completely naive about polygraph interrogations, and now would do things completely differently. Instead of doing what Gino and Mark suggest, I fed the examiners' fetishes by passionately maintaining I was truthful and letting this thing drag on for hours and hours. What a waste of time. I wish I could tell the IRS that I'm refusing to pay the $1200 in federal taxes I owe, and that they should reimburse ME. I can only assume these examiners will one day pay dearly.
  
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #24 - Apr 6th, 2001 at 2:24am
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False +,

Thanks for your comments.  I'm sure your story resonates with quite a few people who visit this site.

Were you a government employee at the time?  Also, I do not understand exactly what was meant by the examiner who shook your hand and said that it was the worst thing you could do.  Did he mean shaking his hand was the worst thing you could do?  Or something else was the worst thing you could do?

Finally, there seems to be a common pattern of the innocent subject, dealing in good faith and forthcoming to a fault, getting abused by the examiner, who turns the subject's honesty into a weapon against him/her.

My guess is that the "anti-polygraph movement" would not be so strong if polygraph interrogators were more professional (at least the ones I ran into, and have read about on this site).  It does not seem to be enough to merely conduct a professional interrogation.  It is apparently compulsory to attempt to intimidate and bewilder the subject through all sorts of contrived histrionics, ruses, and distortions.  Thankfully this site and other sources are pulling back the proverbial curtain.
  
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #25 - Apr 6th, 2001 at 3:36am
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Mark,

I was working for a government contractor at the time, and not for the agency itself.

My earlier post was unclear about the handshake issue, my apologies. Here's what happened to the best of my recollection. As he was accompanying me to the door out of the main suite, we had a brief exchange of words. I was telling him how I wouldn't change my story because it was the truth. Once we got to the door, he extends his arm to shake my hand. I actually shook it, and as we're shaking, he says "It's the worst thing you can do" in reference to my not admitting to more than one experience with marijuana.

Of course, by this time, I had been in there for 5 hours, wanted nothing more than to get out, and would have done anything to be let out. He knew this full well, and took advantage of it to disparage me by, in effect, forcing me to shake his hand. What a guy. I'll bet he joked about it that night with his poly-buddies over a few beers.

Indeed, examiners are a most unprofessional bunch. I base that statement on my own experience and that of my former colleagues at my old job who endured similarly.

The one potentially useful skill I've learned from this is how to act during questioning by law enforcement if I'm wrongly suspected of a crime. Now, I'm privy to their tactics and know when they've reached the point of pounding on you till you tell them what they want to hear. You're there when they say "Ok, we're going to go over all of this again." That's when you say: "This interrogation is over, and unless you arrest me, I'm leaving immediately."
  
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #26 - Apr 6th, 2001 at 8:08pm
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The Associated Press reports today that FBI Director Louis J.Freeh will submit to polygraph screening, too. Isn't that special? Roll Eyes

http://news.excite.com/news/ap/010406/11/fbi-lie-detector

Anyone care to estimate the odds of Judge Freeh flunking?
  

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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Nate
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #27 - Apr 6th, 2001 at 10:18pm
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You got to be kidin right?  We all know the examiner will pass Freeh before he even steps into the room.  I would assume this might be the case in all the exams they do “internally”.  This will be a tactic to "falsely ease" the feelings of the American people about their safety.
  

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods" &&&&-Albert Einstein &&
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #28 - Apr 6th, 2001 at 10:22pm
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Quote:
Anyone care to estimate the odds of Judge Freeh flunking?

Your site does not have sufficient memory allocation for the number of zeros that would precede the first significant number in the decimal representation of such a probability  Tongue
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Jane Doe III
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Re: FBI to Expand Polygraph Screening
Reply #29 - Apr 6th, 2001 at 11:40pm
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    Come on.....Does he really think that he is going to dupe his entire organization into believing that he was given an unbiased polygraph examination? I presume that the majority of Special Agents have enough common sense to believe otherwise. How can you have one of your own Agents give the Director a polygraph? This makes no sense at all! I hope the media brings this farce into light.
  
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