Normal Topic A Public Challenge to FBI Director Louis J. Freeh (Read 6845 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Make-believe science yields
make-believe security.

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A Public Challenge to FBI Director Louis J. Freeh
Mar 27th, 2001 at 1:43pm
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Dear Judge Freeh:

On 29 September 1997, the FBI's top scientific expert on polygraphy, Supervisory Special Agent Dr. Drew C. Richardson of the Laboratory Division, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts:

[Polygraph screening] is completely without any theoretical foundation and has absolutely no validity. Although there is disagreement amongst scientists about the use of polygraph testing in criminal matters, there is almost universal agreement that polygraph screening is completely invalid and should be stopped. As one of my colleagues frequently says, the diagnostic value of this type of testing is no more than that of astrology or tea-leaf reading.

Dr. Richardson further testified:

If this test had any validity (which it does not), both my own experience, and published scientific research has proven, that anyone can be taught to beat this type of polygraph exam in a few minutes.

Dr. Richardson's opening statement before the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts may be read on-line at:

In a follow-up memorandum to FBI Laboratory Division director Dr. Donald M. Kerr dated 25 October 1999, Dr. Richardson wrote that "a technique which has no diagnostic value would require such a universal bluff and disinformation campaign as to be impractical, if not comical, to continue over a period of time...." You may read this memo on-line at:

I challenge you to publicly respond to Dr. Richardson's charges. Is Dr. Richardson right or wrong? If he's right, then polygraph screening should be abolished. If you think he's wrong, then on what evidence do you base this opinion? The American people (including the 500 FBI employees whom you recently ordered to submit to polygraphic interrogation or face disciplinary action for insubordination) deserve an answer.

George W. Maschke
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A Public Challenge to FBI Director Louis J. Freeh

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