Educate yourself. Before playing Russian roulette
reputation, learn how to protect yourself against this invalid test.
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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
"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
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
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.
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.)
Book Review: A Life of Lies and Spies by Alan B. Trabue
Alan B. Trabue retired from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2011 after a 40-year career, 38 years of which he spent in the polygraph division. AntiPolygraph.org has received a review copy of his memoir, A Life of Lies and Spies: Tales of a CIA Ops Polygraph Interrogator.
Doug Williams on the Peter B. Collins Show
Former police polygraphist Doug Williams, who was targeted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection polygraph unit in Operation Lie Busters, was a guest on the Peter B. Collins Show, during which he spoke about his entrapment and the upcoming trial scheduled to begin in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, 12 May 2015....
Award-Winning Polygraph Examiner Terminated for Expressing Negative Opinions of Specific Polygraph Techniques
Michael Braun reports for the Fort Myers, Florida News-Press that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has fired polygraph examiner Jennifer L. Tooker, who won the American Polygraph Association's 2014 David L. Motsinger Horizon Award...
In Polygraph Trial, Prosecution Seeks to Exclude Those With Polygraph Experience or Concerns From Jury
In a court document (PDF) filed on Monday, 4 May 2015, Raymond Hulser, Acting Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section asked, among other things, that potential jurors in U.S. v. Doug Williams be asked whether they or a family member has ever taken a polygraph examination, and if so, whether they did anything to prepare for it....
New Documents Filed in U.S. v. Doug Williams
On Monday, 4 May 2015, the U.S. Justice Department filed three new submissions in U.S. v. Doug Williams (Case 5:14-cr-00318-M in the Western District of Oklahoma).
Oklahoma Skeptics in the Pub Meetup on the Pseudoscience of Polygraphy, 11 May
On Monday, 11 May 2015, AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke will be speaking at the Oklahoma Skeptics in the Pub meetup about the pseudoscience of polygraphy, the U.S. government's misplaced on it, and the upcoming trial of Doug Williams, whom the U.S. government targeted for entrapment in a sting operation dubbed Operation Lie Busters....
Doug Williams Interviewed by Scott Horton
On Thursday, 30 April 2015, former police polygraph examiner Doug Williams, who faces trial on 12 May for teaching two undercover federal agents how to pass polygraph “tests,” was a guest on the Scott Horton Show....
Leaked Documents Point to DIA's Inability to Detect Sophisticated Polygraph Countermeasures
Doug Williams Case Update
The federal trial of Doug Williams for teaching people how to pass a polygraph, which had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday, 14 April 2015, has been moved to Tuesday, 12 May 2015....
CBP Polygraph Statement of "Al"
My name is "Al." I recently took the polygraph examination for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). I had probably the worst experience ever. I failed based on the assumption of the examiner that I was hiding some serious crime I had committed. I went on and on with this examiner, insistently telling him I had never done anything. I'll call this polygraph examiner, "Mr. D."
DIA Polygraph Contractor Accused of Fraud
A poster to the AntiPolygraph.org message board reports that the management of E-Merging Technologies Group, which provides polygraph services the Defense Intelligence Agency, faces fraud charges in civil litigation. Statements of complaint from two lawsuits, one by a former director of the U.S. Secret Service, are included.
Kansas Judge Rejects Polygraph "Evidence" in Murder Case
Kansas District Judge E. Leigh Hood has deemed polygraph results proffered by the defendant in a murder trial to be inadmissible.
Member of Congress Alleges Polygraph Abuse in Case of Special Forces Major Matt Golsteyn
U.S. Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA) in an article co-authored with former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Bing West accuses the U.S. Army of wrongly relying on records of a CIA preemployment polygraph examination to criminally investigate Special Forces Major Mathew L. Golsteyn and strip him of a medal and his Special Forces tab...
Indiana State Police Video Discourages Applicants from Researching Polygraphs
Taxpayer dollars at work: The Indiana State Police have produced a video that discourages applicants from educating themselves about polygraphy.
U.S. v. Doug Williams Moved to April 2015 Docket
An order filed on Monday, 5 January 2015 moves the scheduled trial date from January to April 2015.
NPR on Upcoming Trial of Polygraph Critic Doug Williams
On Friday, 2 January 2015, National Public Radio aired a report by Martin Kaste on the upcoming trial of polygraph critic Doug Williams, who was targeted in a February 2014 sting operation led by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection polygraph unit.
Ex-CIA Polygrapher: "...an honest subject has no better chance than a dishonest subject of getting through the process."
The Association of Former Intelligence Officers website currently hosts a draft article by retired CIA polygrapher John F. Sullivan titled "CIA and the Polygraph" that will be of interest to those concerned with polygraph policy...
Doug Williams of Polygraph.com Indicted
Message board discussion of the indictment of Doug Williams, owner of Polygraph.com.
A Public Challenge to Fort Bend County, Texas Sheriff's Office Polygraph Examiner Lt. James Fontenot
AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke challenges a Texas law enforcement polygraph examiner to publicly support his public claim that polygraph countermeasures don't work and are easily recognized.
NSA Director Mike Rogers on Polygraph Screening
NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers says that he hates polygraphs but nonetheless considers them "a good tool for us."
DEA Contractor Metropolitan Interpreters and Translators Found Liable for Breach of Anti-Polygraph Law
McClatchy reporter Marisa Taylor reports that a federal judge has found Metropolitan Interpreters and Translators liable for violation of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, which restricts the use of polygraphs and other purported "lie detectors" by non-governmental employers.
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