The Honorable Chuck Grassley
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Grassley:
I am writing to express my concerns about the polygraph "testing" that is increasingly being used to screen government employees and job applicants. I first became concerned about polygraph testing when I was falsely accused of deception during a pre-employment polygraph for AGENCY NAME HERE.
At first, I was prepared to accept that I was one of just a few cases of random error-but upon researching polygraphy and learning the truth about it, I was utterly outraged. I learned that polygraphy, like astrology and phrenology, is "junk science." The list of legitimate scientific groups that have official statements condemning the polygraph is extensive. It includes the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the Federation of American Scientists, and the Society of Professional Scientists and Engineers. Even most government officials who support the polygraph do not maintain that the process is valid. They merely claim that the polygraph should remain because it "encourages admissions." This same convoluted logic could also be used to defend physical beatings if they were a part of the hiring process.
There is a tremendous misconception that individuals opposing polygraph "testing" are not security conscious. In actuality, the opposite is true. The polygraph is a detriment-not an asset-to national security. I am not aware of any documented case of a spy actually being caught by a polygraph "chartgazer." This is likely because those engaged in espionage-like Aldrich Ames-have received the simple training needed to beat the device. In addition to creating a false sense of security, the polygraph is left to destroy good and decent people.
High error rates, along with the tremendous (and often realized) potential for abuse served as the impetus for the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988. Unfortunately, the government exempted its own workers and applicants from the protections afforded by this legislation. I urge you to introduce comprehensive new anti-polygraph legislation that provides protection for ALL Americans. Complete legislation would address the situations of those who have already been damaged by the polygraph, by purging hiring "black lists" and re-instating the employment applications of those who have been denied employment solely because of this pseudoscientific procedure.