Normal Topic Potential Polygrapher Manipulation of Outcomes (Read 3361 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Potential Polygrapher Manipulation of Outcomes
May 1st, 2001 at 8:27am
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On Friday, 27 April 2001, the National Research Council's Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on Polygraphs held a public meeting in Washington, DC. During a discussion of a field visit by some committee members to the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute, Dr. James Blascovich of the University of California, Santa Barbara, made the following noteworthy observation:

"Every examiner I asked at DoDPI, if you wanted someone to fail this test, could you have them do it, physiologically? They said 'yes.'"
  

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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Gordon H. Barland
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Re: Potential Polygrapher Manipulation of Outcomes
Reply #1 - May 1st, 2001 at 4:40pm
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There is nothing sinister about this.  Since before the inception of the polygraph as a "lie detector," it's been known that many things can cause our body to react.  These include sudden noises (hence polygraph exams are normally conducted in quiet settings), visual stimuli (hence windowless exam rooms without stimulating pictures), and even random thoughts (hence the need to ask the test questions several times).  An unethical examiner could always create reactions to the relevant questions by making a sudden noise each time he asks it, or by changing his tone of voice (hence examiners are taught to ask the questions in a monotone).  

The fact that all examiners at DoDPI answered the question correctly should reassure you that they are honest and they are aware of potential dangers that must be avoided in administering the examinations.

Peace.
  

Gordon H. Barland
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: Potential Polygrapher Manipulation of Outcomes
Reply #2 - May 1st, 2001 at 5:54pm
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Gordon,

I agree with you that there is nothing per se sinister about the fact that a polygrapher can manipulate the outcome of a polygraph interrogation.

However, such manipulation being possible, especially in instances where the interrogation is not audio- or videotaped, the polygrapher is given carte blanche to do as he pleases. See, for example, the abuses allegedly committed by Defense Security Service polygrapher Albert D. Snyder in his interrogation of David A. Tenenbaum at para. 29 ff. of his complaint in Tenenbaum vs.Simennini, et al.:

http://antipolygraph.org/litigation/tenenbaum/second-amended-complaint.shtml#29

In a deposition in that case (not currently available on-line), Special Agent Snyder testified that it was the Defense Security Service's (then Defense Investigative Service's) practice was not to record polygraph interrogations on audio- or videotape.

The following excerpt from pp. 30-31 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector provides further cause for concern regarding the power of polygraphers to manipulate the procedure:

Quote:
Special Agent H.L. Byford, an FBI polygrapher, wrote in an e-mail exchange with the webmaster of NoPolygraph.com (Byford, 1999):

"It only gets tight, when there are indications of drug usage above the guidelines or drug dealing. I mean, if someone has smoked marijuana 15 times, he's done it 50 times. Don't you agree? Those who have any doubts about how many times they used are going to fail. Those who are certain that they only tried it once or three times or five or whatever, will pass. ...I got to tell you though, if I was running the show, there would be no one in the FBI that ever used illegal drugs!"

By SA Byford's own admission, an FBI applicant who reports that he smoked marijuana say, about eight times (well within the Bureau's limit of 15 times), but cannot precisely recall the number of times, is going to "fail."


More recently, in a statement submitted on 25 April 2001 to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, attorney Mark S. Zaid wrote:

Quote:
...in 1997-98, CIA polygraphers reported to the Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section that they were instructed by CIA management to "fail" certain employees. Additionally, they revealed that they were taught how to sensitize examinees during pre-testing interviews so as to create the likelihood of false positives. Notwithstanding these sensational allegations, there is no evidence either the CIA or Department of Justice ever conducted an investigation.


Mr. Zaid's statement may be read on AntiPolygraph.org at:

http://www.antipolygraph.org/hearings/senate-judiciary-2001/zaid-statement.shtml

Even if polygraph "tests" had some proven diagnosticity (which they do not), the potential for examiner manipulation would undermine any confidence in opinions rendered. This being the case, it is hard to understand the opposition of some in the polygraph community to the mandatory recording of all polygraph interrogations. For example, the California Association of Polygraph Examiners opposed a bill passed by the state legislature in 2000 that would have required all employment-related polygraph interrogations to be audio- or videotaped.
« Last Edit: May 1st, 2001 at 11:58pm by George W. Maschke »  

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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Nate
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Re: Potential Polygrapher Manipulation of Outcomes
Reply #3 - May 1st, 2001 at 8:02pm
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CryTrue they are able to manipulate the results physiologically but also physically!  On my third exam my polygraph examiner actually showed me the results.  On one of the control question my "sweat gland detector" went off the charts.  He showed me how he had to "manually" pull it back down onto the page.  As you can see, the lines on the charts can in fact be moved at the examiner’s discretion at any time!
  

“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 George W. Maschke
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Re: Potential Polygrapher Manipulation of Outcomes
Reply #4 - May 1st, 2001 at 9:11pm
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Nate,

What your polygrapher did was to re-center the galvanic skin response (GSR) channel. A channel may need re-centering to keep its tracings from overlapping with those of adjacent channels. When this re-centering is done, the chart should be manually marked with an arrow indicating the direction (up or down) in which the channel was re-centered.

It seems plausible that a polygrapher might be able to subtly manipulate the re-centering knob for a channel (or multiple channels) in such a way as to simulate a physiological reaction, but I do not know this for certain. Such a technique might be used to deliberately fail or pass a subject (depending on whether the centering knob is manipulated after the asking of a relevant or a "control" question, respectively).
  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
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Threema: A4PYDD5S
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Potential Polygrapher Manipulation of Outcomes

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