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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
(1940-2016)

"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, (1951-2016)
FBI Laboratory Division

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

Prof. Stephen E. Fienberg (1942-2016)
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

(Why not enhance your privacy by using the free Tor Browser?)

"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, the late polygraph expert Dr. Drew C. Richardson, a former FBI scientist and supervisory special agent, reiterated his challenge to the polygraph community to prove their claimed ability to detect countermeasures (techniques for passing -- or beating -- the polygraph). His challenge went 14 years without any takers. What are the polygraph operators afraid of? (Listen to a personal message from Dr. Richardson.)

"If you fail the CIA polygraph...you are blacklisted from ever gaining CIA employment for the rest of your life."
Guest poster Snowden2 shares his or her CIA polygraph experience.

Doug Williams Argues Why He Should Be Allowed to Continue Teaching People How to Pass a Polygraph Test
On 21 February 2017, Doug Williams filed a reply to the government's opposition, challenging the Justice Department's legal arguments and arguing forcefully why his freedom of speech should not be curtailed.

U.S. Department of Justice Effectively Concedes that Polygraph Countermeasures Are Effective
The U.S. Department of Justice effectively conceded that polygraph countermeasures are effective in arguing against incarcerated polygraph critic Doug Williams' motion that he be allowed to engage in polygraph-related activities during his upcoming three-year period of supervised release.

DIA's Insider Threat Program
"On October 7th, 2011, then-President Obama established an Executive Order, “STRUCTURAL REFORMS TO IMPROVE THE SECURITY OF CLASSIFIED NETWORKS AND THE RESPONSIBLE SHARING AND SAFEGUARDING OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION.”
The intent of this Order, was to stop any further WikiLeaks-style disclosures. As a result, the Insider Threat Task Force was formed and directed to find potential traitors. Individuals in this Task Force aggressively target employees that exhibit specific indicators...."

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Applicant Megan Brown Discusses Her Polygraph Experience
In this video statement posted to YouTube on 31 January 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection applicant Megan Brown describes her pre-employment polygraph experience, which included an accusation of attempted polygraph countermeasures.

Polygraph Screening Prevents U.S. Customs and Border Protection from Meeting Hiring Goals
Associated Press reporter Elliot Spagat reports on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's pre-employment polygraph screening program.

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker Scraps Polygraph Screening
Applicants for employment with the Pennsylvania State Police will no longer be required to submit to the pseudoscientific ritual of polygraph screening.

Jailed Polygraph Critic Doug Williams Appeals Ban on Post-Release Participation "In Any Form of Polygraph-Related Activity"
On 22 September 2015, federal judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange sentenced Doug Williams to 24 months in prison following his guilty plea to charges connected with his having taught undercover federal agents how to pass or beat a polygraph "test." Her sentencing order further instructs that upon release (scheduled for 26 July 2017), Williams will be subjected to three years' "supervised release" during which time he "shall not participate in any form of polygraph-related activity."

Do Polygraph Tests Actually Work?
In a well-researched article written for the website Priceonomics, Simon R. Gardner asks the question: "Do polygraph tests actually work?" and concludes that the answer is a definitive "No."

DIA to Require All Contractors with SCI Access to Pass Polygraph
On 1 November 2016, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director of security Michael P. Londregan published a notice that beginning in 2017, all DIA contractors whose work requires access to sensitive compartmented information will be required to pass a polygraph "test."

FBI Suspends Senior Analyst's Security Clearance Over Alleged Polygraph Countermeasures
Huffington Post reporter Jessica Schulberg tells the story of a senior FBI intelligence analyst who lost his security clearance and his job over a polygraph operator's accusation that he employed polygraph countermeasures.

Frustrated with Border Patrol Poly
"So I took the polygraph with Border Patrol a while ago. I told the truth on all questions, did not try to manipulate the test in any way, and kept calm and cool...."

Arrested NSA Contractor Hal Martin "Passed at Least One Polygraph Test"
On 27 August 2016, NSA contractor Harold Thomas (Hal) Martin, III of Glen Burnie, Maryland was arrested based on probable cause to believe that he improperly removed and retained at his home terabytes of top secret NSA documents....

U.S. Department of State Implements Polygraph Policy!
"We used to be able to say that the U.S. Department of State (DOS) was one agency that did not use polygraphs, however as of September 1, 2016, this is no longer the case."

John J. Furedy, RIP
Longtime polygraph critic and friend to AntiPolygraph.org John J. Furedy died at his home in Sydney, Australia on 24 August 2016 following a long illness. He was 76 years old.

CIA Deputy Director of Talent Development Ronald S. Patrick Is a Liar, a Fool, or Both
Ronald S. Patrick, the CIA's deputy director for talent development, recently characterized the pseudoscience of polygraphy as "an 'exceedingly reliable' way to find out whether you've been truthful" in a single-source article by New York Times Magazine writer Malia Wollan...

Only 1 in 4 Applicants Pass the Prince William County Police Pre-Employment Polygraph
Prince William County, Virginia police chief Barry M. Barnard is seeking to diversify his force, but his reliance on the pseudoscience of polygraphy results in nearly three quarters of otherwise qualified applicants being rejected.

 


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