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"...the theory and methods of polygraphic lie detection are not rocket science, indeed, they are not science at all."

Emeritus Professor
David T. Lykken
(1928-2006)

"The so-called 'control' question 'test' polygraph is a technological flight of fancy. It is often used as a psychological rubber hose to induce confessions. Founded on lies, it spreads distrust while posing as the path to truth."

Emeritus Professor
John J. Furedy

"The lie detector, in many places, is nothing more than a psychological third-degree aimed at extorting a confession as the old physical beatings were. At times I'm sorry I ever had any part in its development."

polygraph pioneer
John A. Larson

"[Polygraph screening] is completely without any theoretical foundation and has absolutely no validity...the diagnostic value of this type of testing is no more than that of astrology or tea-leaf reading."

former Supervisory
Special Agent
Dr. Drew C. Richardson,
FBI Laboratory Division

"Polygraph testing has been the gold standard, but it's obviously fool's gold."

Prof. Stephen E. Fienberg
Chairman, Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph,
National Academy of Sciences

"If we had medical tests that had the same failure rate as a polygraph, then physicians that use those tests would be convicted of malpractice."

Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff, M.D.

"Polygraph is more art than science, and unless an admission is obtained, the final determination is frequently what we refer to as a scientific wild-ass guess (SWAG)"

retired
CIA polygrapher
John F. Sullivan

"If you choose to implement this astrology surrogate, and to treat us with such deep disrespect, do not confuse our contempt for arrogance."

physicist
David Dearborn
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

"People in the security community are so wedded to polygraph testing that they are just going to ignore the scientific facts about this."

scientist
Jeffrey D. Colvin
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

"Whether it is screening applicants or screening employees, the polygraph is a failure. I suspect that its days as a screening tool are deservedly near an end."

former FBI Special Agent
Mark Mallah

"The US is, so far as I know, the only nation which places such extensive reliance on the polygraph....It has gotten us into a lot of trouble."

convicted spy
Aldrich H. Ames

"[The CIA's] reliance on the polygraph is truly insane"

former CIA Director
John M. Deutch

"...the use of this highly flawed instrument should be radically curtailed."

former CIA Director
R. James Woolsey

"You have to go in there with a gladiator mentality."

retired FBI polygrapher
Jack Trimarco

"It's kind of like...confessing to a priest..."

T.V. O'Malley
Past President,
American Polygraph Association

"If you come in concerned and scared, that's normal and a good thing."

David M. Renzelman
Former DOE Polygraph
Program Chief

"I don't know anything about polygraphs, and I don't know how accurate they are, but I know they'll scare the hell out of people."

President
Richard M. Nixon

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"The whole process smacks of 20th century witchcraft." U.S. Senator Sam Ervin (1896-1985)

Polygraph "testing" has no scientific basis.
The lie detector is itself based on lies...

Did you know:

Educate yourself. Before playing Russian roulette with your reputation, learn how to protect yourself against this invalid test. Download AntiPolygraph.org's free book (1 mb PDF):

The Lie Behind the Lie Detector

The dirty little secret behind the polygraph is that the "test" depends on trickery, not science. The person being "tested" is not supposed to know that while the polygraph operator declares that all questions must be answered truthfully, warning that the slightest hint of deception will be detected, he secretly assumes that denials in response to certain questions -- called "control" questions -- will be less than truthful. An example of a commonly used control question is, "Did you ever lie to get out of trouble?" The polygrapher steers the examinee into a denial by warning, for example, that anyone who would do so is the same kind of person who would commit the kind of behavior that is under investigation and then lie about it. But secretly, it is assumed that everyone has lied to get out of trouble.

The polygraph pens don't do a special dance when a person lies. The polygrapher scores the test by comparing physiological responses (breathing, blood pressure, heart, and perspiration rates) to these probable-lie control questions with reactions to relevant questions such as, "Did you ever commit an act of espionage against the United States?" (commonly asked in security screening). If the former reactions are greater, the examinee passes; if the latter are greater, he fails. If responses to both "control" and relevant questions are about the same, the result is deemed inconclusive.

The test also includes irrelevant questions such as, "Are the lights on in this room?" The polygrapher falsely explains that such questions provide a "baseline for truth," because the true answer is obvious. But in reality, they are not scored at all! They merely serve as buffers between pairs of relevant and "control" questions.

The simplistic methodology used in polygraph testing has no grounding in the scientific method: it is no more scientific than astrology or tarot cards. Government agencies value it because people who don't realize it's a fraud sometimes make damaging admissions. But as a result of reliance on this voodoo science, the truthful are often falsely branded as liars while the deceptive pass through.

Perversely, the "test" is inherently biased against the truthful, because the more honestly one answers the "control" questions, and as a consequence feels less stress when answering them, the more likely one is to fail. Conversely, liars can beat the test by covertly augmenting their physiological reactions to the "control" questions. This can be done, for example, by doing mental arithmetic, thinking exciting thoughts, altering one's breathing pattern, or simply biting the side of the tongue. Truthful persons can also use these techniques to protect themselves against the risk of a false positive outcome. Although polygraphers frequently claim they can detect such countermeasures, no polygrapher has ever demonstrated any ability to do so, and peer-reviewed research suggests that they can't.

Polygraph Countermeasure Challenge
On 28 January 2002, retired FBI polygraph expert Dr. Drew C. Richardson reiterated his challenge to the polygraph community to prove their claimed ability to detect countermeasures (techniques for passing -- or beating -- the polygraph). His challenge has gone eleven years without any takers. What are the polygraph operators afraid of? (Listen to a personal message from Dr. Richardson.)

Doug Williams Goes Public on Federal Agents' Attempted Entrapment and Raid
Former Oklahoma City police polygraph examiner Doug Williams, who has campaigned against polygraphy since realizing in the 1970s that what he and fellow polygraphers were doing is a fraud, has for the first time told the story of how federal agents in February 2013 attempted to entrap him for teaching people how to pass polygraph examinations.

CBP Polygraph Chief John R. Schwartz Claims "Sophisticated Countermeasures Can Be Routinely Identified"
John R. Schwartz, who heads the U.S. Customs and Border Protection polygraph unit, claims that sophisticated polygraph countermeasures (the kind described in AntiPolygraph.org's free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector), can be routinely identified "when all best practices are employed, including proper training of examiners and stringent Quality Control."

Federal Polygraph School May Classify Training and Research Materials
McClatchy Newspapers investigative reporter Marisa Taylor reports that the National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA), which trains all federal polygraph operators, is proposing that certain training and research materials be classified or subjected to limited distribution.

Quarterly Polygraphs for NSA Analysts?
Professor Daniel Drezner reports that following Edward Snowden's disclosures, NSA analysts "have gone from being polygraphed once every five years to once every quarter."

U.S. Government Circulates Watch List of Buyers of Information on How to Pass a Polygraph Test
McClatchy investigative reporter Marisa Taylor reports that a list of 4,904 individuals whose names were derived from the customer records of Doug Williams and Chad Dixon, both of whom were targeted in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection-led criminal investigation called Operation Lie Busters, has been circulated to nearly 30 federal agencies including the CIA, NSA, DIA, DOE, IRS, and FDA.

Secret Service Supervisor Removed from Presidential Security Detail, Ignacio Zamora Jr., Is a Former Polygraph Operator
On Thursday, 14 November 2013, the Washington Post reported that Ignacio Zamora Jr., a U.S. Secret Service senior supervisor who oversaw members of President Obama’s security detail, was removed from his assignment and is under investigation for alleged misconduct.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Polygraph Chief John R. Schwartz on Interrogation
AntiPolygraph.org has received a copy of a presentation (1.4 mb PDF) on interrogation given by John R. Schwartz, who now heads the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs Credibility Assessment Division.

An Attempted Entrapment
In May 2013, I was the target of an attempted entrapment. Whether it was a federal agent attempting to entrap me on a contrived material support for terrorism charge or simply an individual's attempt to embarrass me and discredit AntiPolygraph.org remains unclear. In this post, I will provide a full public accounting of the attempt, including the raw source of communications received and the IP addresses involved.

How to contribute to AntiPolygraph.org via Bitcoin
If you have found AntiPolygraph.org helpful and would like to help keep us online, but prefer to remain anonymous, you can make a contribution via Bitcoin, a secure and anonymous digital currency.

George Maschke on Likely NSA Monitoring, Operation Lie Busters, and Federal Polygraph Policy
On Friday, 25 October 2013, AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke was a guest on the Scott Horton Show....

Is AntiPolygraph.org Being Targeted By the NSA?
An e-mail received by AntiPolygraph.org in August from a U.S. Navy petty officer suggests that AntiPolygraph.org may be targeted for electronic surveillance.

How Is the Federal Government Using Doug Williams' and Chad Dixon's Business Records?
On 16 August 2013, precisely two months ago today, Marisa Taylor of McClatchy reported with respect to Operation Lie Busters that investigators confiscated Doug Williams' and Chad Dixon's business records, "which included the names of as many as 5,000 people who'd sought polygraph-beating advice."

Polygraph Fails to Identify Who Stole $30,000 During Rescue of Captain Richard Phillips
So $30,000 in cash went missing when U.S. Navy SEALs rescued cargo ship captain Richard Phillips from the Somali pirates who had abducted him. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service administered polygraphs to the SEALs in an attempt to identify who took the money. Surprise, surprise, the perpetrator(s) was/were not identified!

Bitmessage Channel for Anonymous Discussion of Polygraph Issues
If you'd like to discuss polygraph issues, but are concerned about the privacy risks associated with posting on or e-mailing AntiPolygraph.org, Bitmessage is an alternative to consider.

FBI Confidential Informant Polygraph Questions
A New York Police Department Intelligence Division document (attached) provides the exact questions used by the FBI for polygraph screening of an NYPD confidential informant in 2008.

Court Filings in U.S. v. Chad Dixon
AntiPolygraph.org has obtained filings in the case of Chad Dixon, who was criminally charged for teaching people how to pass a polygraph "test." The case had earlier been under seal.

New Details in U.S. v. Chad Dixon
Links and commentary on new details published in the case of U.S. v. Chad Dixon.

Bitmessage
You can now communicate securely and anonymously (if you prefer) with AntiPolygraph.org via Bitmessage.

2013 NCCA Inspection Report on U.S. Customs and Border Protection Polygraph Program (1 mb PDF)
Dated 26 March 2013. Report prepared by the National Center for Credibility Assessment's Quality Assurance Program. Among other things, the report documents that in 2012, CBP had a pre-employment polygraph pass rate of 32%. Six percent of applicants polygraphed were accused of using polygraph countermeasures.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Polygraph Handbook (1.9 mb PDF)
Formally titled the "U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs Credibility Assessment Division Policy and Reference Manual with Appendices from DACA and Federal Standards" dated 7 January 2010. Includes detailed information on the polygraph technique used for pre-employment polygraph screening, the "Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Test," (sections II-VI) as well as a section (VII) on polygraph countermeasures. 304 pages.

 


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Nor Are you Supposed to Know This:

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