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For critical commentary on the policy change outlined in this memorandum, see Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff's reply to this memo dated 14 June 2001, letter dated 13 June 2001 to Dr. Grant LeFarge, secretary of the New Mexico Board of Medical Examiners and his letter dated 14 June 2001 to Sandia National Laboratories director C. Paul Robinson and executive vice-president Joan Woodard.

Department of Energy
Washington, DC 20585
May 31, 2001

SUBJECT: Revisions to Polygraph Notification Letter


The Office of Counterintelligence (OCI) is recommending a change to the language used in the polygraph examination notification letter (attached) sent to applicants and incumbents in high-risk programs throughout the Department of Energy (DOE). The language notifies applicants and incumbents in these high-risk programs that they may seek a medical waiver from the polygraph examination under certain conditions and circumstances. The high-risk programs include: The Offices of Counterintelligence, Security and Emergency Operations, and Independent Oversight and Performance Assurance; Special Access Programs (SAPs); the Personnel Security Assurance Program (PSAP); the Personnel Assurance Program (PAP); programs that involve need-to-know or access to information specifically designated by the Secretary regarding the design and operation of nuclear weapons and associated use control features; and individuals with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). The waiver language was prepared in consultation with the Office of General Counsel.


The DOE's counterintelligence scope polygraph program was implemented in early 2000. Since the inception of the program, a number of issues have surfaced regarding the acquisition of medical-related information in the course of administering such examinations. These include questions as to whether pre-examination medical consent forms should be required, whether use of certain drugs or medications has any relevance to the examination results, and whether the collection of medical information infringes on personal privacy.

These questions have caused the OCI to reassess its handling of medically related matters. While OCI is no longer requesting a medical consent, there may be situations where submission to an examination would be inappropriate on the basis of a current medical or psychological condition. It is in such circumstances where a waiver may be appropriate.

It is incumbent on applicants and incumbents to the high-risk programs to raise any medically related concerns. Although the pertinent language in the attachment addresses a waiver potential, it also provides that the candidate should take the initiative in seeking such a waiver.

It should also be noted that approved waivers do not constitute a permanent exemption. Anyone who obtains a waiver may also receive an examination notification letter at a later date. This would require revalidation of the waiver if a relevant medical or psychological condition remains in effect.


The OCI encourages all DOE elements to consider using the referenced medical waiver language in polygraph notification letters. If it so chooses, a DOE program or element may also utilize the text and phraseology of the attached letter in conveying its notices to covered employees.

If you have any additional questions regarding this memorandum, please feel free to contact Mr. Douglas Hinckley of my staff, at (202)586-1767 for further discussion.



This is to advise you that your position requires that you take a counterintelligence scope polygraph examination in accordance with the provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as amended, and 10 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 709, 710 and 711, Polygraph Examination Regulation (enclosed).

The focus of the polygraph examination will be national security or defense and all questions will be reviewed with you thoroughly prior to the examination. Systematic quality control procedures are in place to ensure the examination is conducted according to the procedures and standards of the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute that establishes policy for all federal polygraph programs.

A representative from the DOE Polygraph Test Center will contact you to arrange a date, time and location for the polygraph examination. The Polygraph Test Center will follow up with a letter confirming the date and time and providing additional administrative instructions.

Pursuant to section 3135(c) of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law 106-398) the Secretary of Energy may waive the polygraph requirement if he or she determines, after consultation with the covered person and appropriate medical personnel, that the treatment of a medical or psychological condition of the covered person should preclude the administration of the polygraph examination. In addition, 10 CFR section 709.4(b)(2) provides that the DOE Test Center may grant a waiver to any individual who is being treated for a medical or psychological condition or is taking medication which, based upon consultation with the individual, is determined to preclude that individual from being tested. You may wish to consult your appropriate medical personnel to determine whether, based upon these criteria, there is any indication that you should be precluded from being tested. Notice of your intent to seek a waiver based upon Section 3135(c) of the NDAA or 10 C.F.R. 709.4(b)(2) should be given before your scheduled arrival at the DOE Test Center. If approved, such waiver may need to be revalidated if the condition persists and the examination notice is reissued at a later date.

If you or your medical personnel have questions about the physiological effects of the test, you may call your Senior Manager.


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