Normal Topic CIA won't send me my polygraph report (Read 4460 times)
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CIA won't send me my polygraph report
Mar 26th, 2001 at 10:17am
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I was recently struck with the desire to help put an end to polygraphy by writing legislators about my own experience under the polygraph. To start, I wanted to get the report of my polygraph by the agency adminstering it. My polygraph was administered over a year ago, when I was working for my former employer.

At the time I got polygraphed, I didn't even know who the agency was. I needed a clearance just to know that. To try getting the report, I contacted the security clearance person at my old job to ask her for an address to write my FOIA request to.  She gave me a cryptic address in DC containing just a name, a title, and a DC zip code. I made the language in my letter very unequivocal. I said specifically that this was a request under 5 USC etc.. and that I wanted to get the full report. After sending the letter off, I fully expected to get my full polygraph report.

I heard back recently, and what I got was very surprising. First of all, I get this envelope in the mail where in the upper left hand corner, it says "Central Intelligence Agency". Before I even get to the content of the letter, I'm just a little puzzled by their revealing themselves to me, since I wasn't supposed to know who they were until I got the clearance (which I needed the poly for). Strange.

At any rate, in the letter, they tell me my request for my polygraph report is denied. Here is the specific text:

"Your request is denied on the basis of (j)(1) exemption of the Privacy Act. Pursuant to authority granted in Section (j) (General Exemptions) of the Act (5 U.S.C. 552a(j)), the Director of Central Intelligence has determined to exempt from all sections of the Act...the following systems of records or portions of records in a system of record: (1) polygraph reports. Enclosed in a copy of the Rules and Regulations for CIA's implementation of the Privacy Act of 1974 as well as an explanation of our exemptions. Please refer to Section 1901.62 General Exemptions."

They go on to say:

"You have the right to appeal this determination by addressing your appeal to the Agency Release Panel, in my care, within 45 days from the date of this letter. Should you find it necessary to do so, please explain the basis of your appeal."

I have to admit I was completely dumbfounded reading this. Their letter mentions this Privacy Act, which I never referenced in my letter, but never mentions FOIA. As the letter mentions, they gave me a copy of these rules, and indeed, the referenced section says polygraph reports are exempt.

They included an "Explanation of Exemptions" document. Under Privacy Act (j)(1) it says: applies to polygraph records; documents or segregable portions of documents, release of which would disclose intelligence sources and methods, including names of certain Agency employees and organizational components; and, documents or information provided by foreign governments.

I am, however, highly suspicious of these documents. I find it quite conceivable they are an impromptu concoction to quash my request.

As for their motivation to deny me my polgraph report. I have a guess or two. While I never actually had access to classified information, my polygraph session was quite an ordeal. It was a "specific issue" polygraph about drug use. On my clearance form, I said I had smoked marijuana once. The poly was to see if I had any other drug use. They kept me in their office for 5 hours badgering me, telling me I'm lying, when I was in fact being truthful. I think anyone viewing the footage of this session would be outraged at having their tax dollars footing the bill, and CIA would likely not be proud of this footage. I maintained my truthfulness throughout the session, and after talking to 3 examiners in a row, after having gone through the good cop, bad cop thing over and over again, they must have all felt pretty stupid.

Maybe this is why they're not releasing my report. It's not like anything classified was discussed during the session, and I don't see why any information in the report would compromise any intelligence operations. It's a baseless denial.

Does anyone out there have any experience in these waters? I want my poly report; I am fully entitled to it. I'd like to try to appeal this request but I guess I need some sort of legal basis. I'm not sure what to use. They can flash a bunch of forms/exemptions at me, and I don't know what to do. Any pundits out there?
  
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Re: CIA won't send me my polygraph report
Reply #1 - Mar 26th, 2001 at 3:45pm
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False +,

If the agency is indeed the CIA...try this.

To:  William R. Houk (Senior Adjudication Officer)
     PO Box 2756
     Washington, DC 20013

     Dear Sir,

     I am requesting a copy of my investigative file used to reach your security decision.  Under the penalty of perjury (28 U.S.C. Sec 1746) I attest my name is (your name). 
your social security #
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:

Include your mailing address.

If the CIA is the agency behind this madness...this will work.  This is for the 1st initial appeal. 

Good Luck.
  
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Re: CIA won't send me my polygraph report
Reply #2 - Mar 26th, 2001 at 10:56pm
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John Doe,

Thank you for your suggestion. I have some questions though. In the letter they sent me, they gave me an appeals route to follow should I so desire. I would have to write the Agency Release Panel. Do you think it would be more productive to go directly to Mr. Houk or to address the Release Panel, or both?

If I address Mr. Houk, should I mention my initial request was denied? I doubt I could circumvent my initial denial through a back door. What do you recommend?

Do you know for a fact that CIA usually releases polygraph records? What is your opinion on why they wouldn't initially release my report? Any insights are appreciated.

As for whether or not it's the CIA, it is indeed confirmed. It's Central Intelligence. I only had vague indicators before, but now they've actually revealed themselves to me.
  
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Re: CIA won't send me my polygraph report
Reply #3 - Mar 31st, 2001 at 6:11pm
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Dear False +,

The CIA usually will not disclose an individuals polygraph report.  Remember when you had to sign all those papers before you took the polygraph?  Well...one of those papers mentioned the CIA's Privacy Act.  Basically...when you (and I) signed that...the CIA became exempt from disclosing your polygraph. 

The address I mentioned above is for your investigative (personnel) file, which the CIA is obliged to share with you (via the FOIA).  This file contains information, which was gathered during your polygraph "interview".  You cannot get the polygraph report...but you can get the investigative file.  As I mentioned previously...upon my inspection of my file...I found gross inaccuracies and exaggerations.  The report looked like a child in the 7th grade wrote it.  Very unprofessional. 

My advice is for you to go directly to Mr. Houk and get the investigative file.  You may be surprised at the contents.

Good Luck
  
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Thank you
Reply #4 - Apr 3rd, 2001 at 2:10am
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John Doe,

Thank you for your advice. It sounds as though this investigative file contains pretty much what the polygraph report would contain, insofar as their assessment of the "subject". Is it the case then that the investigative file contains everything in the polygraph report except the polygrams? What do you think?
  
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CIA won't send me my polygraph report

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