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This letter was sent to Mr. Leslie R. Blake, head of the Defense Security Service Office of Freedom of Information and Privacy, by e-mail to <> on 5 September 2001. On 9 November 2001, DSS replied, withholding all requested materials. For discussion of this FOIA request, see the message board thread, DSS Withholds R/I Screening Documentation.

                                    Hart Nibbrigkade 22
                                    2597 XV Den Haag


                                    Wednesday, 5 September 2001

ALEXANDRIA VA 22314-1651

Dear Mr. Blake:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 

I request that copies of the following documentation be provided 
to me:

    All Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (DoDPI) 
    materials describing the R/I (Relevant/Irrelevant) Screening 
    Test, whether on paper, videotape, computer media, or in any 
    other format.

The material covered by this request includes, but is not limited 
to, the course materials used in the DoDPI course, "Screening 
R&I," which is described on the DoDPI website 

    This course is intended to augment existing screening test 
    protocols employed by the various federal agencies. Students 
    will be provided instruction in the employment of the R/I 
    Screening Test in support of initial pre-employment and 
    periodic counterintelligence testing. In addition, students 
    will learn to use the R/I Techniques in extended series 
    testing, employing breakdown and clearing chart examinations. 
    Instruction in the utilization of global analysis for 
    conducting test data analysis will be provided. Students 
    should expect intra-course assessments of their mastery of 
    the methodologies presented in this course. The first four 
    days of training will require, on average, one hour of 
    evening study supporting a case study exercise. This course 
    requires laboratory work and it is recommended that students 
    provide their own polygraph instrument. 
    Prerequisite: Students must be active, federally certified or 
    contracted PDD examiners or; an examiner employed by a state, 
    county, or local law enforcement or corrections agency who 
    has graduated from a PDD course at a school accredited by the 
    American Polygraph Association.

Because no security clearance is required for this course, and 
because it is open to non-federal employees (and even to 
contractors), I see no legitimate reason for the Defense Security 
Service to shield these course materials from public scrutiny.

The material covered by this request also includes any DoDPI 
research materials related to the R/I Screening Test. I was 
surprised to see that a Relevant/Irrelevant screening technique is 
still on the DoDPI curriculum, because the technique is widely 
discredited, even in the polygraph community.

On 25 January 2001, Dr. Andrew Ryan, chief of the DoDPI Research 
Division, speaking at the first public meeting of the National 
Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Study to Review the 
Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph, stated:

    The curriculum at DoDPI, the lesson plans as they are being 
    reviewed by the Middle States and others for the 
    accreditation process, it's -- they're finding out that the 
    curriculum there is based on research.... The curriculum 
    changes that occur there, when we -- when and if we modify 
    the curriculum, the training that the examiners receive, it 
    must be backed up by research findings. So, unlike the early 
    days in the 1950s when the school was located at Fort Jackson 
    [sic] and I guess we would have to say the school, the 
    training, was basically governed and controlled by the 
    folklore of the polygraph industry, and now it's driven by 

Dr. Ryan's remarks are available on the National Academy of 
Sciences website in RealPlayer format at:

(The above-cited passage begins about 16 minutes and 30 seconds 
into the recording.)

If the DoDPI R/I Screening Test is indeed based on research, then 
it is most certainly in the public interest that this research be 
publicly released, so that the public may have some assurance that 
the R/I Screening Test (which is apparently used in making 
decisions about the suitability of members of the public for 
government employment and/or access to classified information) is 
not "governed and controlled by the folklore of the polygraph 

In order to help you determine my status for the purpose of 
assessing fees, you should know that this request is made for 
public awareness purposes and not for commercial use. is a grassroots organization of freely 
associating individuals and is not a profit-seeking enterprise.

I am willing to pay fees for this request up to a maximum of $25. 
If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please 
inform me first.

I request, however, a waiver of fees for this request because 
disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public 
interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to 
public understanding of the operations and activities of the 
Department of Defense and is not in my commercial interest.


George W. Maschke

PS: A copy of this Freedom of Information Act request will be 
placed on-line at: Home Page > FOIA