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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 Netherlands email@example.com Wednesday, 5 September 2001 DEFENSE SECURITY SERVICE OFFICE OF FOI AND PRIVACY ATTN: MR. LESLIE R. BLAKE 1340 BRADDOCK PLACE ALEXANDRIA VA 22314-1651 Dear Mr. Blake: This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). 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 (http://www.dodpi.army.mil/instruction/coned.htm#c21): SCREENING R&I (40 CEH) 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 research... Dr. Ryan's remarks are available on the National Academy of Sciences website in RealPlayer format at: http://video.nationalacademies.org/ramgen/dbasse/012601_3.rm (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 industry." 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. AntiPolygraph.org 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. Sincerely, George W. Maschke AntiPolygraph.org PS: A copy of this Freedom of Information Act request will be placed on-line at: http://antipolygraph.org/foia/foia-007.shtml