Polygraph Links

Polygraph-related Sites and Pages

Polygraph Manufacturers

Polygraph Articles

  • American Psychological Association. "The Truth About Lie Detectors (aka Polygraph Tests)":

    Lie detector tests have become a popular cultural icon - from crime dramas to comedies to advertisements - the picture of a polygraph pen wildly gyrating on a moving chart is readily recognized symbol. But, as psychologist Leonard Saxe, PhD, (1991) has argued, the idea that we can detect a person's veracity by monitoring psychophysiological changes is more myth than reality....

  • British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. Position Paper. "The polygraph as a truth detector." 1984.

    The B.C. Civil Liberties Association believes that there is convincing evidence to suggest that the use of the polygraph is arbitrary, subjective, biased toward accusations of guilt and claims of very high validity are scientifically indefensible. However, even if one is not willing to be persuaded by evidence on these matters, one must admit, at the very least, that there is no scientific opinion whatsoever concerning the validity of polygraph testing. In fact, there is extremely wide divergence over the validity of the test.

  • Furedy, John J. "The CQT Polygrapher's Dilemma: Logico-Ethical Considerations for Psychophysiological Practitioners and Researchers," International Journal of Psychophysiology, Vol. 15 (1993), pp. 263-67. Abstract:

    The so-called "control" question "test" (CQT) has been criticized on methodological and ethical grounds by psychophysiologists. The ethical analyses have focussed on the possibility that the CQT's interrogative features may elicit false confessions, but an empirical problem is that the rate of these false confessions is difficult to establish. In this conceptual note I raise a *logico-* ethical problem for the CQT, called The Polygrapher's Dilemma (PD). The two horns of PD are damage the innocent examinee classified as deceptive, and damage to those examinee's psychological well being who are classified as non-deceptive to the relevant questions, and who are not even debriefed concerning their feelings of unease about issues raised by the comparison, so-called "control" questions. Although there may be arguments about which of the PD's two horns are more serious, there is no doubt that both are, in an absolute sense, ethically negative. Nor is there an ethically justifiable third alternative available. It is also contended that not only practitioners but also researchers (who use the CQT in laboratory, "mock-crime" situations) are affected by PD. Finally, I note that PD exists only for the CQT procedure, and not for the more standardized and scientifically based Guilty Knowledge Technique.

  • Government Executive Magazine. "Agencies, employees spar over lie detector tests."11 September 2000. An unusually well-researched article on polygraph security screening.

    Within a few days of each other in June, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Attorney General Janet Reno had to respond to internal security breaches. Both were faced with the option of hooking their employees up to polygraph equipment that would measure their blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and sweat gland activity-and ostensibly would uncover guilt.

  • McCarthy, Susan. "Passing the polygraph: Professional criminals are the ones most likely to beat the lie detector," Salon, 2 March 2000. But for a better explanation of how to pass a polygraph "test," see chapter four of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.
  • McCarthy, Susan. "The Truth about the Polygraph," Salon, 2 March 2000. This is one of the few published articles that exposes the trickery on which polygraph "testing" depends. The author also discusses polygraph policy. The following is an excerpt:

    Why does the Department of Energy want to do polygraph testing if it's junk science? Is it so stupid it doesn't know that?
    It is not stupid, though some congresspeople may be.
    When the scientists at the nuclear labs went public with their protest against being given polygraphs, retired Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, in charge of the DOE's security, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the test is a powerful deterrent.
    Polygraphs don't have to work to be a deterrent. People just have to believe that they work and can reveal whether they have committed crimes. The DOE doesn't have to believe they work, either.

  • Sheldon I. Cohen & Associates. "Use of the Polygraph in Security Clearance Determinations." Security Management Magazine, September, 1998.
  • Stein, Jeff. "Does the CIA stereotype Jews as security risks?" Salon, June, 1998. Discusses especially the case of CIA lawyer Adam P. Ciralsky:

    A lawyer for the Central Intelligence Agency, suspended from duty under suspicion of unauthorized contact with Israel, is preparing an unprecedented suit challenging the validity of the spy agency's "lie detector" test, which he claims stereotypes Jews as security risks.

  • Stein, Jeff. "Lies, damned lies and polygraphs: 'Tea leaves and witchcraft' are keeping hundreds of qualified, innocent people out of government jobs," Salon, April 1997.
  • Stein, Jeff. "Spies and lies: Scientist Wen Ho Lee passed a polygraph test, but the feds want to depend more on them to detect espionage," Salon, 27 May 1999.
  • Taylor, Marisa. Former McClatchy reporter Marisa Taylor has authored an excellent series of investigative articles on federal polygraph policy. They may be found by searching the McClatchy DC website for keyword "polygraph."

Legal Resources

  • Americans for Effective Law Enforcement: Polygraph Exams. This page provides a list of legal cases upholding and rejecting mandatory polygraph "tests," as well as admissibility and other legal issues.
  • The linked page on this website provides summaries of federal cases where rulings on polygraph admissibility were made.
  • Polygraph Law Resource Page. Maintained by Professor Charles R. Honts of Boise State University, this page provides transcripts of polygraph-related testimony and other legal documents.

Other Resources

  • This website will guide you through the generation of a Privacy Act request for your own FBI file. (If you've ever applied for employment with the FBI, you have an FBI file.)
  • A collection of federal documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.