25 April 2001 Senate Hearing on Issues Surrounding the Use of Polygraphs. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing today on "Issues Surrounding the Use of Polygraphs." The five witnesses who were invited to testify are former DoDPI director Michael H. Capps, Professor William G. Iacono of the University of Minnesota, former CIA general counsel Jeffrey H. Smith, attorney Mark S. Zaid, and past American Polygraph Association president Richard W. Keifer. Statements made at this hearing are available on-line at:
AntiPolygraph.org's Gino Scalabrini and George Maschke were both present at this hearing. Watch AntiPolygraph.org for commentary. Written remarks submitted to the committee were also entered into the record, and we'll be seeking to obtain copies.
25 April 2001 "Experts Disagree about Lie Detector." Associated Press correspondent Jesse J. Holland reports on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary's 25 April hearing on "Issues Surrounding the Use of Polygraphs." Note that the only scientific expert among the witnesses who spoke was Professor William G. Iacono. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI might have started earlier to investigate Robert Hanssen, the agent accused of spying, if the bureau hadn't resisted subjecting its agents to routine lie detector tests, advocates of the polygraph tests told a Senate panel Wednesday. "It is my opinion that in a security screening polygraph, Robert Hanssen would have reacted with greater than 99 percent certainty," said Richard Keifer, a past president of the American Polygraph Association.
Opponents of polygraphs say innocent people who are nervous can fail easily, and spies can find out from libraries and the Internet how to manipulate lie-detector test results to their advantages.
"Someone who is clever enough to be a spy should be clever enough to learn these simple techniques to beat a polygraph," said William Iacono, a psychology professor from the University of Minnesota.
21 April 2001 Announcing AntiPolygraph.com. A new antipolygraph website seems to be in the offing. Donald J. Krapohl <email@example.com>, who is employed in the research division of the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute at Fort Jackson, SC, and who is also the editor-in-chief of the American Polygraph Association quarterly, Polygraph, has registered the domain name "antipolygraph.com" with Network Solutions, Inc.
Mr. Krapohl has yet to associate any content with the domain name "antipolygraph.com," but possible uses of this registration include:
AntiPolygraph.org vistors should be careful not to confuse our URL with "AntiPolygraph.com".
17 April 2001 Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on "Issues Surrounding the Use of Polygraphs." On Wednesday, 25 April 2001, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by Employee Polygraph Protection Act co-sponsor Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), will hold an open hearing beginning at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Senate Dirksen Building. If you have information about which the committee should be made aware, contact the committee at (202) 224-5225.
A notice of hearing is posted on the Committee website at:
17 April 2001 "Ex-Sailor Sues Navy Officers Who Labeled Him a Spy." Los Angeles Times staff writer Eric Lichtblau reports on the case of recently retired Navy petty officer Daniel M. King. Excerpt:
King's supporters say the case raises core questions about the way the military uses polygraphs to detect spies and whether it maintains proper safeguards to protect a service member's right to defense counsel, a speedy trial and due process.
"You have a real problem here when an individual can spend well over a year incarcerated in a case in which there is really very little evidence," said Kevin Barry, a retired military judge who helped write a brief on King's behalf. "There are a lot of shortcomings in the military justice system, and a case like King's has hit pretty hard on a few key ones."
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, one of King's lawyers, said the Navy's justice system should be put on trial for running roughshod over a 20-year veteran's rights. The Navy was driven by a "blind pursuit" of a villain, he says.
The King case, Turley maintains, fits "a long-standing pattern of abusive and unprofessional conduct" by the naval investigative service. He cited the Navy's handling of the Tailhook sex scandal in the early 1990s and its probe into a fatal 1989 explosion aboard the battleship Iowa, which prompted the Navy to apologize to the family of a sailor who it initially suspected of blowing up the ship.
The Navy Times, in an editorial last month, said the King case "didn't rock just one sailor's faith in military justice. It poses a challenge to anyone's faith in the system."
The newspaper said King deserves an apology. But King said in an interview that he is happy just to be out of lockup.
The matter began in September 1999, when King underwent a routine polygraph test as part of a reassignment from Guam to Ft. Meade in Maryland, where he had previously worked as a cryptographer for the National Security Agency.
The Navy says King "did not pass" the test and effectively admitted to security violations. King's lawyers deny the claim and say the results were simply inconclusive--a fairly common result.
16 April 2001 U.S. Department of Justice Investigates Polygraph-Induced False Confession in Detroit. In an article entitled, "Detroit Police Inquiry Expands," Detroit News correspondents Norman Sinclair and Ronald J. Hansen cite a recent case where Detroit homicide investigators coerced a false confession following a polygraph interrogation. U.S. Justice Department investigators are examining the case:
Gayles' case history
The case of Michael Gayles began at 2 a.m. Sept. 2,  when police took a statement in which Gayles confessed to the Aug. 31 rape and killing of J'nai Glasker in her bedroom.
During the next 36 hours, Gayles, who receives disability benefits from the state, signed another typed confession statement and a handwritten addendum in which he implicated his mother. Each confession was more explicit and precise in its language than the first.
His mother, Leathy Gayles Washington, was held for a weekend but never charged.
Michael Gayles, who has the IQ of an 8-year-old, lived near Glasker on the northwest side and had a juvenile record of criminal sexual conduct. At the time of his arrest, he repeatedly maintained his innocence in statements to the media.
Two weeks after charging him with first-degree murder and criminal sexual conduct, police dropped the charges when DNA evidence proved he did not rape the girl.
Deputy Chief Hall said the case proves that the department properly handles investigations. "He took a polygraph and failed it. After that, he made a full and graphic confession. The confession fit the facts of the crime. It was our investigation that cleared him in the end."
Lawyer Mark Satawa, a former Wayne County prosecutor who represented Michael Gayles after his arrest, said the confessions are signs of major problems in the department's Homicide Section.
"Most of the homicide investigators I worked with when I was a prosecutor were honest, hard-working professionals," Satawa said. "But at times, we used to scratch our heads over some of the things that happened over there. We knew something was wrong in homicide.
"The Homicide Section is overworked and under pressure to solve cases. I know the job is difficult, but the pressure forces some to cut corners. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg."
15 April 2001"Police to press for routine lie detector testing of officers." Ha'aretz police correspondent Nicole Krau reports that police in Israel are seeking to conduct regular polygraph screening. Excerpt:
The heads of the Israel Police are planning to ask a ministerial committee for a green light to conduct regular polygraph tests on their officers, as is routine in the case of security officials, Major General Moshe Karadi, the head of the police human resources branch, told Ha'aretz.
Due to budgetary restrictions, police commissioner Shlomo Aharonishky is expected to decide in favor of administering lie detector tests to only a sample of policemen. Following current practice in the Israel Defense Forces, the police commissioner is likely to recommend that two different sorts of tests be performed - one would apply to all men on the force, and the second would be conducted in the case of officers who hold sensitive posts within the service, or have the rank of Major General.
10 April 2001"Hendricks Discusses VSA Controversy at NHCCJA Meeting." Humble Observer managing editor Martin L. de Vore reports on a talk given by Humble, Texas police polygrapher Kelly Hendricks. Excerpt:
Braving cloudy skies and a light misty rain, North Harris County Criminal Justice Association (NHCCJA) members who attended the organization's April meeting got an inside look at the controversy surrounding the use of voice stress analysis (VSA) technology by police.
Hendricks then spent the next 30 minutes of the meeting covering the VSA controversy and the pending legislation that would affect its use in the state of Texas. Hendricks said that VSA technology is not reliable and should be eschewed in favor of current polygraph technology.
"Voice Stress Analysis (VSA) is only right about 48 percent of the time," Hendricks said. "That's less than fifty-fifty. Thirty-two different reliability studies since 1982, that individually range from 90 percent to 100 percent in accuracy and reliability, indicate that polygraph is the way to go instead of VSA. When all those figures are combined, in reality, what the figures show is that there is less than a two percent possibility of error with polygraph use. Compare that to the accuracy figures on VSA and it proves that VSA is not reliable and that polygraph is. If VSA or CVSA worked, we'd be first in line to use it."
Hendricks also shared his views on the identical bills House Bill 817 (HB 817) and Senate Bill 1221 (SB 1221) that are currently being considered by the Texas Legislature.
HB 817 is a bill involving VSA that was filed on Jan. 22, 2001, by District 61 state Rep. Phil King of Weatherford. It was still pending in committee at the time of the NHCCJA meeting on April 3.
SB 1221 was filed on March 7, 2001, by District 15 state Sen. John Whitmire of Houston. At the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice's hearing on April 4, it was also left pending in committee following testimony from both the bill's advocates and from its opponents (including Hendricks, who testified against SB 1221 on behalf of the Humble Police Department).
HB 817 and its companion bill, SB 1221, relate to the use of a computerized voice stress analyzer by a licensed peace officer during a criminal investigation. Briefly, Hendricks listed some of the components of the proposed legislation:
A licensed peace officer who is a certified voice stress examiner is not required to be licensed under this chapter to use a computerized voice stress analyzer during a criminal investigation.
The certification to use a voice stress analyzer must be made by the company who manufactured the voice stress analyzer; or the governmental entity who appointed or employs the peace officer.
The act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.
If the act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, the act takes effect September 1, 2001.
Hendricks strongly opposes the bill and asked those in attendance to contact their state representatives and senators to voice their opposition to it.
Polygraphers are quick to point out the shortcomings of the competing pseudoscience of "Computerized Voice Stress Analysis" (CVSA). But polygraphy, like CVSA, has not been shown by peer-reviewed research to work at better than chance levels in the field. The "research" Hendricks invokes to support his claim that "there is less than a two percent possibility of error with polygraph use" appears either in non-peer-reviewed trade journals or, where published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, involves laboratory experiments with paid volunteers who committed "mock" crimes and had little or nothing to lose in the event of a false positive outcome: motivational conditions that do not apply to the field. Moreover, such studies purporting to support the high validity of polygraphy fail to take into consideration the effect of polygraph countermeasures (such as those discussed in Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector).
10 April 2001 "Bodybuilding Championship to Require Lie Detector Tests." Bob Luder reports for the Kansas City Star In an article entitled, "Bodybuilders to compete for 'Xtreme Fit' Championship." Excerpt:
If you are concerned about the polygraph requirement for this competition, you can reach coordinator John Arnold at (816) 781-9308 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In preparation for the fifth annual Natural Southern States Classic and "Xtreme Fit" Championship, bodybuilders throughout a five-state region that includes Missouri and Kansas have pumped plenty of iron, diligently practiced their posing in front of the mirror and lathered on the body oils.
To get into the competition, they also will have to slip their fingers into electronic sensors and answer a list of questions, hoping that the needles running along the paper don't make any sudden jumps.
That's right, the Natural Southern States Classic and "Xtreme Fit" Championship, which gets started at 8:30 Saturday morning at the Liberty Performing Arts Center, goes to xtremes [sic] in enforcing the natural aspect of their competition.
"We're proud to be a drug-free organization doing something about the unhealthy abuse of illegal growth-enhancement drugs," said event coordinator John Arnold of ProActive Fitness, Inc.
To that end, every bodybuilder registered for the competition will not only be subjected to a urinalysis drug test on Friday night, but will be required to take a polygraph test Saturday morning.
If a subject fails either test, he or she will automatically be banned from North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation competitions for a minimum of seven years.
"These rules are strictly enforced," said Arnold, an ardent bodybuilder who competes in the competition.
In previous years competitors have been randomly selected to undergo polygraphs during the competition. This year the lie-detector will be mandatory for every competitor.
"Each polygraph test takes one-half hour, and we'll have around 45 competitors," Arnold said. "One hundred percent polygraph is a lot of work for us."
6 April 2001 "Freeh, other FBI leaders to take polygraph tests." Kevin Johnson reports for USA Today. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON -- FBI Director Louis Freeh and other top bureau leaders will take polygraph tests as part of a security crackdown that has followed the arrest of alleged spy Robert Hanssen, officials said Thursday.
Freeh will answer standard questions about his access to classified information. Similar questions are being asked of hundreds of senior agents as the FBI investigates damage caused by Hanssen's alleged spying.
Freeh's participation is seen as a largely symbolic gesture aimed at encouraging hundreds of senior agents to submit to the tests willingly. Senior FBI agents often have resisted polygraph exams, also called lie detector tests, because of questions about the tests' accuracy.
6 April 2001 "Freeh to Take Lie-Detector Test." The Associated Press reports. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON (AP) - FBI Director Louis Freeh and his senior deputies will take lie-detector tests as part of stepped-up security procedures following the arrest of a veteran FBI agent charged with spying for Moscow over a period of 15 years.
"The director always includes himself in whatever policy applies to FBI employees," John Collingwood, an FBI spokesman, said Friday. "He will exercise the same leadership in regard to the expansion of the polygraph policy."
Louis J. Freeh needn't read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector to learn how to protect himself from a false positive outcome. No FBI polygrapher in his right mind is going to accuse the boss of deception. If our national leaders truly believe that holding polygraph séances is the way to root out spies, then an independent National Polygraph Agency -- whose agent-polygraphers will be beholden to no one -- must be established to exorcise spies from all levels of government -- including the United States Congress.
4 April 2001 "Nuclear lab, polygraphers at odds." Kathleen Koch reports for CNN. Excerpt:
The full text of Sandia National Laboratories director C. Paul Robinson's memo is available further down on this page.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The director of one of the nation's nuclear weapons labs has told employees they don't have to cooperate when asked medical questions by government polygraphers, CNN has learned. Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories, with headquarters near Albuquerque, New Mexico, have expressed concern that, before being given lie detector tests, they are required to answer examiners' questions about what medications they are taking, when, how much and why. The weapons lab scientists claim such questions violate their privacy rights.
In a message sent Monday to employees, obtained by CNN, labs director Paul Robinson said, "You should not feel obliged to provide any private medical information as a part of the polygraph process." Robinson continued that, if necessary, scientists should "ask to have the session rescheduled." Energy Department spokesman Jean LaPato said the DOE was aware of the concerns and that agency representatives were meeting this week with Sandia representatives on how to best address them.
"We're not yet at a point when these decisions can be made," said LaPato.
Sandia's chief medical officer, Larry Clevenger, last month recommended the testing be halted until a National Academy of Sciences study on the polygraph test's validity is complete.
4 April 2001 "False detector." Sandia National Laboratories senior scientist Alan P. Zelicoff writes in a special to the Albuquerque Tribune. Excerpt:
...DOE polygraphers claim that there are but four questions to the examination, all directly related to national security. This is a lie. In each and every polygraph, the subject will invariably be told something like this: "You've done pretty well, but there is a problem here with question #3. Is there something you were thinking or worried about that you would like to get off your chest before we continue."
This isn't directed questioning; it is a fishing expedition, and has no place among loyal scientists nor in civil society. Further, during the public hearings, polygraphers admitted that there was no scientific evidence that medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease) affected the outcome of the polygraph.
Yet, they still insist that each subject provide a list of all prescription medications and a complete history of medical conditions. The reason they do so is to maintain the aura of the magical polygraph: "we need to know about medications", said David Renzelman, Chief of the DOE Polygraph program, "so we can adjust our machine and our readings." Really? I must have slept through that lecture in medical school.
But things are changing. At the recommendation of Sandia's chief medical officer, who has determined that polygraphs are a risk to the health and has informed the DOE that intrusive medical questions will stop, or he will instruct Sandians not to take the polygraph.
This principled action may precipitate Congressional hearings -- long avoided by polygraphers -- which could finally reveal the truth about the polygraphs' grave effects on national security.
4 April 2001 "Oversight of the Daniel King Case." Steven Aftergood of the American Federation of Scientists' Secrecy in Government Project writes in today's edition of Secrecy News:
OVERSIGHT OF THE DANIEL KING CASE
Yesterday the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a closed hearing to consider the case of Daniel M. King, a Navy officer who was accused of espionage, held for 520 days, and then released last month when the Navy was unable to substantiate the charges against him.
"What happened to Petty Officer King is alien and antithetical to our system," said Jonathan Turley, King's civilian attorney, in a lengthy prepared statement submitted to the Committee.
Among numerous government abuses alleged by the defense team in its testimony, the handling of King's indeterminate polygraph examination stands out. "A routine 'no opinion' glitch on a polygraph was allowed to mutate into an espionage investigation from the very first day," said Turley.
A blow by blow account of the repeated polygraph sessions was provided in a statement by JAG attorney Lt. Matthew Sidney Freedus, a member of King's defense. Told that he had failed the polygraph test, "King admitted that he had occasional fantasies about espionage over his 20-year career, but stated unequivocally that these were just fantasies and that he would never do anything to hurt the Navy."
"It should be noted that it is very common for individuals working in the national security field to have fantasies of committing espionage," according to Lt. Freedus.
"In fact, during an interview several months later, [the polygrapher who examined King] acknowledged that fantasies of espionage were common and even admitted that he had thoughts of espionage."
"It is deeply troubling to me that the Navy has never issued a formal apology to CTR1 King and his family for this colossal miscarriage of justice and that no government officials have been held accountable," Freedus concluded.
Rather inexplicably, "the Navy congratulated the prosecutor in this case and awarded her the prestigious Meritorious Service Medal."
Testimony that provides the government's view of the case is classified. None of the government statements from yesterday's closed Senate Intelligence Committee hearing can be released, a Committee spokeswoman said.
But the statements of the three defense attorneys are presented here:
A press release issued yesterday by the King defense, including a relatively concise Fact Sheet presenting its perspective on the case, is posted here:
2 April 2001 Sandia Director C. Paul Robinson: Employees Not Obliged to Answer Medical Questions from Polygraphers. The following memorandum was distributed by e-mail at Sandia National Laboratories on 2 April 2001:
This message, written by Labs Director C. Paul Robinson, is being sent at his request to all Sandians:
As you have doubtless already heard, we have received complaints from a growing number of employees regarding the Congressionally mandated polygraphs for personnel who work in certain areas of the nuclear weapons program. These polygraphs are carried out by contractors to the Department of Energy.
We asked Larry Clevenger, our Chief Medical Officer, to look into these complaintsö focusing on the need to disclose all prescription medications and the reasons why these medications were prescribed to an employee. His evaluation was that there was no validity to the need to collect such information, nor were we given sufficient guarantees that the information was not being misused, or that the information was being adequately protected (as "personal medical information" should be).
Sr VP Roger Hagengruber has been working with both the contract polygraphers and DOE to obtain procedural changes. He is in meetings today and tomorrow, in an attempt to have our concerns addressed.
In the meantime, I want to inform all Sandians that should you be scheduled for a DOE polygraph while these issues are pending, you should not feel obliged to provide any private medical information as a part of the polygraph process. If necessary, please ask to have the session rescheduled. It would also be helpful if you would meet with your supervisor prior to any future polygraphs so that we can help make sure that you will know what to expect in a polygraph session and are fully informed as to your rights in this activity.
I have asked for an information package to be developed and distributed to Sandia weapons managers to assist them and you in developing a better understanding, in advance, as to what should be expected of you. Meanwhile, we will continue to try to work within the NNSA/DOE system to straighten out the problems which some of your colleagues have been experiencing. Beyond the information package, Larry Clevenger and Bob Park of Legal are helpful resources for addressing further questions.
The federal government and the Congress have asked the National Academy to undertake a full review of the utility of polygraphy as a security screening tool. While we are all eager to see the conclusions of that study, I fear that these will not be available until early next year. In the meantime, I thank you for trying to make the best of the current situation, and would ask you to cooperate to the extent possible without sacrificing either your personal rights or your private medical information.
30 March 2001 "Daniel King: The Navy's Wen Ho Lee?" Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy writes about the case of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel King in his electronic newsletter Secrecy News:
DANIEL KING: THE NAVY'S WEN HO LEE?
The case of US Navy Petty Officer Daniel M. King has emerged as yet another espionage horrorshow and a cautionary tale of prosecutorial authority run amok.
King was a Navy cryptanalyst who, following an inconclusive polygraph examination in 1999, was accused of committing espionage. He was subjected to an arduous and coercive interrogation involving sessions of up to 19 hours over a three week period, culminating in a confession that he would later recant. Despite intensive efforts, Navy investigators were unable to develop any significant corroborating evidence that the alleged espionage had ever taken place.
Sometimes described as the Navy's version of Wen Ho Lee, Petty Officer King spent an extraordinary 520 days in pretrial confinement before the charges against him were finally dropped.
The decisive moment in the case came on March 9 when Commander James P. Winthrop, the military judge who served as "investigating officer," recommended that the case be dismissed.
"It has become apparent to me ... that the government has not been able to effectively prosecute this case," Winthrop wrote. "The espionage charge... is based exclusively on a confession that the accused subsequently contradicted on several occasions." Moreover, "there are several fundamental extenuating and mitigating facts relevant to the charge."
Cmdr. Winthrop's remarkable memorandum, which loosely recalls Judge James A. Parker's expression of disgust at the government's handling of the Wen Ho Lee case, is posted here:
The dismissal of the case is a credit to King's tenacious and energetic civilian attorney Jonathan Turley. Turley's peculiar strategy involved, among other things, an attempt to turn the tables on the government by relentlessly accusing the military judge and opposing counsel of security violations both large and small (such as using a cellular telephone inside a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, failing to use cover sheets on classified documents, etc.). Several of Mr. Turley's complaints, submitted to DCI George Tenet and others, are posted here:
These items provide some fascinating insights into the conduct of the case, which is otherwise mostly classified. One of Turley's complaints notes, for example, a settlement offer made by the government to drop all charges against Petty Officer King if he would agree not to pursue a lawsuit against the Navy or officials in the case. The offer was rejected.
The outcome of the King case is particularly remarkable because the government almost never loses an espionage case once a decision is made to bring it to trial. The 1986 case of former army civilian Richard Craig Smith is perhaps the only instance in the last several decades in which an espionage trial ended in an acquittal of the defendant.
If Jonathan Turley is the kind of attorney you want nearby when you are falsely accused of a hideous crime, then Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Shelby seems like someone who should be avoided if at all possible.
Senator Shelby lashed out at the Navy, not for its cruel interrogation or its trouncing of an American sailor's constitutional rights, but because it failed to win a conviction.
"I believe it was a very strong case -- and it was bungled," Senator Shelby told the Washington Post yesterday.
A Pentagon press briefing yesterday noted that both the Department of Defense Inspector General and the Navy have begun "reviews" of the case.
A reporter asked whether any disciplinary action has been taken against the investigators who were involved in the case. "Have they been suspended from duty or anything like that?" Pentagon spokesman Adm. Craig R. Quigley replied, "Not that I'm aware of."
See excerpts from yesterday's press briefing here:
30 March 2001 "Scientists at Sandia Labs question polygraph quiz on medications." Albuquerque Tribune reporter Ollie Reed, Jr. reports. Excerpt:
Medical questions on mandated polygraph tests are raising eyebrows among some scientists at Sandia National Laboratories.
Rod Geer, a spokesman at the Albuquerque lab, acknowledged today that there is a growing concern among Sandia scientists that polygraph questions about the medications individual scientists take are invasive and inappropriate.
"A number of weeks ago," he said, "I became aware that there was concern among some of the people who are subject to the test about questions such as 'What medications are you on?' 'How often do you take it?' 'When did you last take it?'
"Some Sandians believe those questions have the potential to be harmful to human health and mental health because they go into deep detail about something that people believe should be between you and your physician."
One such Sandia employee is Dr. Al Zelicoff, who is both a medical doctor and a scientist.
"The polygraph is a cheap parlor trick to convince people that the machine can determine deception so that the polygrapher can conduct a widespread inquisition into personal matters that have nothing to do with national security," Zelicoff said today.
30 March 2001 "Lie Tests Too Personal, Lab Scientists Say." Albuquerque Journal staff writer John J. Lumpkin reports. Excerpt:
Some scientists at Sandia National Laboratories are charging that lie-detector tests started in the wake of the Wen Ho Lee case have become a little too personal.
Polygraphers are asking scientists about their medical histories, including what medication they take, said Al Zelicoff, a medical doctor, physicist and one of 26 senior scientists at Sandia.
Zelicoff said labs director C. Paul Robinson has threatened to withdraw from the Energy Department's polygraph program if the medical questions aren't stopped.
Sandia spokesman Bruce Fetzer said only that the matter is "in discussion about the extent to which (the questions) are appropriate."
The polygraphers ask the medical questions because the medications could affect the test, Fetzer said.
Not true, says Zelicoff, adding senior Defense and Energy Department officials have acknowledged no medications could affect polygraphs.
"You are dealing with a bunch of scientists here, and they know the difference between science and nonsense," Zelicoff said. "They are not putting up with it."
29 March 2001 "Bill would let officers refuse lie detector tests." John Wilkerson of the Associated Press writes about Nevada Assembly Bill 282 in this article published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Excerpt:
CARSON CITY -- A bill allowing police officers to decline lie detector tests when they're accused of something was challenged Wednesday by a legislator who said lawmakers would be fools to approve it.
Assemblyman Wendell Williams, D-Las Vegas, said during an Assembly Government Affairs meeting on Assembly Bill 283 [sic, correct 282] that he would only consider voting for the measure if it's amended to give the same rights of refusal to all citizens.
Williams added that citizens might not be required to take polygraph tests when they file complaints against police -- but if they refuse, their complaint carries little weight.
The bill, introduced by Assembly Government Affairs Chairman Doug Bache, D-Las Vegas, would let officers refuse lie detector tests and prohibit internal affairs investigators from noting their refusal in later court reports.
"Polygraphs are Ouija Boards," said Gary Wolff of the Nevada Highway Patrol Association, arguing for the bill. "Criminals have passed these things, and innocent people have failed them."
29 March 2001 "Some U.S. Nuclear Scientists Spurn Polygraph Tests." Jo Anne Allen writes for Reuters. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some U.S. nuclear weapons scientists in New Mexico are boycotting required polygraph tests on the grounds that they contain questions unrelated to national security, a senior scientist said on Wednesday.
"The polygraphers are asking medical questions -- what medication you're taking and what medical conditions you have -- after we were told there would be no such personal questions," said Al Zelicoff, an employee at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Zelicoff is an outspoken opponent of polygraph tests at the U.S. Department of Energy's three nuclear weapons laboratories.
The tests were ordered after former nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee was targeted in an espionage scare last year at the department's Los Alamos National Laboratory. After being held in solitary confinement for nine months, Lee pleaded guilty to one count of mishandling classified information, the government dropped 58 other charges against him, and he was sentenced to time served.
Zelicoff, one of some 15,000 workers in the Energy Department's nuclear weapons lab system, said some of his colleagues in sensitive programs had refused to take polygraph tests and thus were barred from performing their jobs.
Zelicoff called the medical questions irrelevant, saying the taking of medication had no impact on the tests' outcome.
29 March 2001 "Pentagon Probes Spy Case Navy Dropped Against Sailor." Washington Post staff writers Vernon Loeb and Walter Pincus report on a planned Department of Defense review of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's investigation of Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel King. Excerpt:
The Defense Department inspector general is investigating the Navy's failed prosecution of Daniel M. King, a chief petty officer who was held for more than 500 days on suspicion of spying for Moscow, Pentagon officials said yesterday.
Two weeks ago, Navy officials dropped the case after a military judge cited "severe" prosecutorial problems. King, 41, is retiring from the service with an honorable discharge; his lawyer said he intends to sue the Navy for damages.
The case began in late September 1999 when King, a decorated enlisted man whose job as a Navy "cryptologic analyst" was to help decode other countries' secret communications, registered possible indications of deception on a routine polygraph examination.
Lt. Cmdr. Cate Mueller, a Navy spokeswoman, said the investigation was conducted "according to regulations" after King failed a polygraph and "repeatedly and freely admitted to serious security violations, including mailing a computer disk with highly classified information to a foreign embassy."
Mueller said King "unequivocally" waived his right to counsel after being advised of his rights and told investigators that "he wanted to hurt the Navy because he thought the Navy had been unfair to him" and "considered going to Russia to hurt the Navy by revealing sensitive information."
Mueller also said that King gave investigators a series of sworn statements during a lengthy process in which he was allowed to make "changes, additions and deletions."
"King reviewed each statement, made the changes that he wanted to make, and signed each statement," Mueller said. "He swore to the voluntariness and truthfulness of each statement."
[PO1C King's attorney Jonathan] Turley responded that Navy investigators lied to King by telling him he had failed his first polygraph examination, on Sept. 29, 1999, when in fact a polygrapher indicated that he could reach "no opinion" about King's truthfulness, which Turley called an "extremely common result."
During King's initial interrogations, Turley said, a Navy investigator asked him to write down "any fantasies of espionage he has ever had during his career." Turley said King did not sign a formal confession until 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 6, 1999, after 19 hours of interrogation.
Turley said that King subsequently recanted and can be heard on audiotapes in a distraught voice telling investigators that his confessions "were just dreams." During a 45-minute videotape of an Oct. 19 interrogation, Turley said, King is seen telling investigators that he has no memory of any of the espionage activities to which he had earlier confessed.
As noted in Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, it is in the interest of anyone accused of deception during a polygraph screening "test" to make no admissions. Indeed, as noted by George Maschke in his open letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld dated 29 January 2001, the only persons who "failed" their Department of Defense counterintelligence-scope polygraph interrogations in Fiscal Year 2000 were those who made admissions. Everyone who made no admissions ultimately passed! Some test, huh?
28 March 2001 "Turmoil at a National Lab." Correspondent David Martin reports for CBS Evening News. Excerpt:
(CBS) Scientists at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuqurque, New Mexico, one of three nuclear weapons labs run by the Department of Energy are in revolt, threatening not to take required lie detector tests, because they include personal questions which have nothing to do with protecting secrets, reports CBS News Correspondent David Martin.
"What has precipitated the crisis within the Department of Energy is that the polygraphers are asking individual subjects what medications they're taking despite their promises not to do so," explained Sandia employee Al Zelicoff.
According to Zelicoff, one of 20,000 people throughout the nuclear weapons complex now required to take periodic lie detector tests, some key technicians have already refused and are now barred from working on nuclear weapons.
"They cannot in fact lay hands on the nuclear weapons and repair any problems that might occur in the field," said Zelicoff.
Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff is the most outspoken critic of polygraph screening at the national laboratories. See also his unanswered letter to Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
28 March 2001 "Bloomberg Cites Polygraph in a Denial of Harassment" Elisabeth Bumiller reports for the New York Times. Excerpt:
Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire who is a likely Republican candidate for mayor of New York City, said in a statement yesterday that a lie detector test administered in January showed that he was truthful in denying allegations of sexual harassment by a former employee.
Mr. Bloomberg, who was traveling yesterday in Israel, said in the statement that he had decided to take the test "because I expected that those allegations would surface in the news media as I began to explore the possibility of entering the mayor's race."
He also released a statement from the man who administered the test, Paul K. Minor, a former chief polygraph examiner at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "The questions during that examination were formulated solely by me," Mr. Minor said in the statement. "I concluded that all of Mr. Bloomberg's responses were truthful."
Accompanying the statement of Mr. Minor, who is now the president of a private security company in Fairfax, Va., was an eight-page rˇsumˇ. Mr. Minor did not disclose what specific questions he asked Mr. Bloomberg and did not return telephone calls made to his office yesterday.
Mr. Bloomberg was reacting to an article in yesterday's Daily News that revived news of a 1997 sexual harassment suit filed by Sekiko Sekai Garrison, a former employee of Mr. Bloomberg's giant financial information and media company, Bloomberg L.P.
New York voters should be aware that polygraph "testing" has not been demonstrated by peer-reviewed scientific research to operate at above chance levels of accuracy under field conditions. Indeed, polygraph "testing" is not a science-based procedure at all (See Chapter 1 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector). Paul K. Minor's reading of Mr. Bloomberg's polygraph charts is without probative value.
27 March 2001 "Accused: The Navy's 'Spy' Case." CBS 60 Minutes II reports on the case of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel King, who became a suspect after an inconclusive polygraph screening "test." The Navy claims that King confessed to committing espionage in a post-test interrogation. King maintains that his alleged confession was false and the result of abusive interrogation tactics including sleep deprivation. The Navy recently dropped all charges againts PO1C King. Excerpt:
(CBS) Following the arrest of Robert Hanssen - the FBI agent who allegedly gave up national secrets to the Russians for 15 years - the FBI started this week giving to 500 employees in an effort to catch spies.
But with polygraphs often setting off false alarms, what are the chances of branding innocent people as traitors? Navy Petty Officer Daniel King says that happened to him. After King took a routine polygraph test, the Navy accused him of espionage and kept him in jail for over a year and a half - without having any physical evidence of a crime. The Navy won't speak publicly about the case but Daniel King recently spoke with Correspondent Vicki Mabrey.
The CBS 60 Minutes II website also features a bulletin board which asks the question, "Do you think the government should use polygraphs to root out potential spies?":
26 March 2001 "Beyond the polygraph: The FBI's effort to ferret out spies needs to go beyond things done for public relations." This Huntsville Times editorial warns of the danger of substituting polygraphy for effective counterintelligence reform. Excerpt:
A kid takes a gun to school and shoots some classmates. So parents and administrators respond by banning baggy pants and nose rings. A career FBI agent is arrested and charged with spying for the Soviet Union and then for Russia. So the FBI responds by announcing that it will administer lie-detector tests to 500 employees with access to confidential information.
The two situations are not quite comparable, but they share similarities that point up the danger in fashioning a partial response to a problem and then fooling ourselves into believing we've solved the problem.
26 March 2001 "FBI Sys Admins Face Lie Detector Tests." Dan Verton reports in Computerworld that FBI computer systems specialists have been targeted for polygraph "testing." Excerpt:
(March 26, 2001) The FBI has quietly expanded its use of the polygraph to cover systems administrators and all other employees with access to sensitive computer networks and databases, marking the first time that government IT specialists have been singled out for the controversial lie detector test.
24 March 2001 "FBI to Give Polygraphs to 500." Washington Post staff writers Dan Eggen and David A. Vise provide new details about the expanded polygraph screening of FBI employees ordered by Director Louis Freeh. Excerpt:
About 500 FBI employees with access to intelligence information will be given lie detector tests beginning next week, the first security reform to come from the arrest of alleged spy Robert P. Hanssen, officials said yesterday.
FBI Director Louis J. Freeh has also ordered reviews of all "sensitive investigations" to determine if other agents have accessed information outside their normal duties, and he plans to beef up the bureau's "reinvestigation" of agents involved in intelligence cases, according to a memo sent to FBI employees last week.
Freeh has long resisted expanding the use of polygraph exams, but many counterintelligence experts contend Hanssen might have been caught earlier if he had been required to take one. Hanssen, accused of spying for Moscow since 1985, was never polygraphed during his 25-year career at the bureau.
The 500 employees who will face the first polygraph tests of their careers include about 150 top managers at FBI headquarters in Washington, special agents in charge of regional offices and any others with access to sensitive intelligence material, officials said.
The tests will be "counterintelligence-focused," according to the memo. Employees will not be asked about about personal issues including finances, drug use and sexuality. Refusing to be tested could result in a job transfer, the loss of a security clearance or "disciplinary action" for insubordination, according to the memo.
The FBI motto is "Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity." FBI employees should be concerned that their Director has ordered that their fidelity and integrity be assessed based on a procedure with no more diagnostic value than astrology or tea-leaf reading about the true nature of which they must be lied to and deceived.
23 March 2001 In an article mistitled "Freeh beefs up FBI's security," Washington Times correspondent Jerry Seper reports that FBI Director Louis Freeh has already ordered expanded polygraph screening within the Bureau. Excerpt:
FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, stung by the arrest of one of his own agents as a Russian spy, has ordered sweeping changes in the bureau's internal security measures, including expanded use of polygraph tests for FBI employees.
In a strongly worded five-page memo, Mr. Freeh directed that "periodic" polygraph examinations be administered to all agents and support personnel who have access to the "FBI's most sensitive information" -- with the first round of tests beginning within 60 days.
First up, the memo said, will be senior executive personnel, employees leaving and returning from overseas postings, and those agents and other personnel whose assignments "expose them to extremely sensitive information, sources or investigative techniques."
Mr. Freeh, under pressure from Congress and elsewhere to begin polygraph tests of his agents, said he had asked former FBI Director William H. Webster to conduct an independent review of the bureau's internal security measures.
But the memo, issued last week, says that improving internal security is "too important to wait" for Mr. Webster's pending recommendations.
"I ask every employee to give this mandate their serious attention," he said. "Together, we will strike the proper balance between security, operations and employee privacy necessary to safeguard our nation's most critical information."
Noting resistance from within the bureau to widespread polygraph examinations, Mr. Freeh said the tests would focus on counterintelligence issues and would be administered by the bureau's National Security Division.
AntiPolygraph.org invites all FBI employees to download and read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector and learn how to protect themselves against the scientific fraud that Director Freeh has decided to foist upon them.
22 March 2001 "FBI orders polygraphs of 500 employees in key security posts." Knight Ridder Washington bureau correspondent Lenny Savino reports. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON - The FBI has responded to the Robert Hanssen spy case by quietly ordering polygraphs of 500 FBI employees in key national security positions.
"Before this only those with access to very sensitive cases were required to take polygraphs," FBI spokesman Bill Carter said Thursday. "This expands the universe of people who will be subjected to the exams."
Hanssen, a 27-year FBI agent, was charged Feb. 18 with spying for Moscow for nearly 15 years. FBI officials have acknowledged that he was never polygraphed. After Hanssen's arrest, FBI Director Louis Freeh said he expected to widen the use of polygraphs beyond the screening of applicants, a policy he adopted in 1994.
Freeh expanded the use of polygraphs last week and ordered that they begin immediately, though there was no public announcement of the policy change.
Among those to be tested are 150 top managers in the FBI's Senior Executive Service, plus agents and clerks with access to classified national security computers and documents. Anyone who has passed a department polygraph within the last five years will be exempted from this initial round of exams.
Carter was unsure whether Freeh would personally be tested. Freeh was traveling and could not be reached.
There are 11,334 special agents in the FBI, and 15,949 support staff. Former FBI Director William Webster, who is investigating the FBI's failure to detect Hanssen's spying sooner, is expected to recommend regular polygraph tests in his report next month.
Employees will be not be asked lifestyle questions, like whether they've used drugs, Carter said, but only about contact with foreign intelligence officers. Indications of deception will trigger a thorough investigation.
20 March 2001 "FBI Should Be Polygraph-tested." In this commentary, WorldNetDaily staff writer Jon E. Dougherty argues for polygraph screening at FBI. Excerpt:
Is it just me, or does the federal government get more arrogant by the year?
A report by CBS News last week demonstrates well the government's worsening "us versus them" mentality.
It seems that FBI agents are ticked off because Director Louis Freeh and Attorney General John Ashcroft are considering administering widespread -- and frequent -- polygraph examinations to agents.
Had this been done all along, security advocates have said, guys like Robert Hanssen -- the 25-year FBI vet who has allegedly spied for Russia for 15 of those years until he was caught last month -- could have been discovered much sooner.
Now, however, Freeh is having second thoughts because FBI agents are whining about having to take the tests. They say polygraphs aren't always accurate, which is true. They say they're afraid that a couple of false positives could sack the careers of some otherwise honest agents -- a legitimate concern.
16 March 2001 "FBI Boss' Polygraph Problem." On CBS Evening News, correspondent Jim Stewart reported on opposition to polygraph screening within the FBI. Excerpt from story on CBS News website:
(CBS) CBS News has learned that FBI Director Louis Freeh is encountering stiff resistance to a plan to require widespread polygraph testing within the bureau in an effort to root out spies.
Freeh developed the plan in the wake of the arrest last month of a career agent on charges of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia.
But faced with the prospect of having to order thousands of reluctant FBI agents to be strapped to polygraph machines, the director is apparently having second thoughts, CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart reports.
Internal memos have warned Freeh that "for every lie uncovered by polygraph examiners, there will be 50 to 100 false readings."
Widespread tests could "sideline or ruin" careers and "victimize employees," Freeh was told.
16 March 2001"Polygraph techniques should be submitted to peer review." In this letter to the editor of the Los Alamos Monitor, Rick Nabel elaborates on Professor William G. Iacono's recent remarks at a colloquium at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Excerpt:
[Professor Iacono]...told me that he considers polygraphy to be the most boring thing he works on. Like many of us here at Los Alamos, he is first and foremost a researcher. Debunking polygraphy is largely a hobby he pursues as a public service. We were very fortunate to have him speak at Los Alamos since he tries to limit his appearances on this topic. And how does Professor Iocono get rewarded for speaking out about polygraphs? He has received letters comparing him to Adolph Hitler and the purveyors of the holocaust. He has had death threats. Apparently there is a well entrenched polygraph community in this country that doesn't want to have their techniques critically reviewed in public. Perhaps the most disturbing result of this lack of review was the part of Professor Iacono's talk, where he showed us how some of the studies, which profess to show that polygraphs are accurate, cook their data. It is not surprising that the polygraph techniques that are being used by the FBI and the DOE have not been published in any of the standard scientific journals of psychophysiology. In short, the DOE is giving exams that have not been subjected to the peer review process to determine their scientific validity. While employees of the FBI and CIA might find that acceptable, that is certainly not the case for employees at a scientific institution like Los Alamos National Laboratory. We subject our work to peer review all of the time. We shouldn't expect anything less of the purveyors of polygraph exams.
16 March 2001 "MI5 Ponders Lie-Detectors." BBC News reports that the British Security Service MI5 is considering adopting polygraph screening. Excerpt:
Tom King, chairman of the [Intelligence and Security Committee], said that it was actively looking at the possibility of using lie detectors to vet recruits and root out traitors.
The defections to the then Soviet Union of Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby, who had all worked for British intelligence, caught the public's imagination in the 1950s and 1960s.
But, in US intelligence at least, the danger and detection of traitors selling secrets to foreign powers is still an active issue even after the end of the Cold War.
"It is important to look at the issue of betrayal," Mr King said.
"I think the jury is out on polygraphs. We believe it could have benefits."
A senior security source told the Press Association that MI5 officers were regularly visiting the US to check on the latest lie detector techniques.
"I don't think the question of polygraphs is a dead question, I think it's an open question," the source said.
14 March 2001 "Spying, Lying and Polygraphs." In this CNSNews.com commentary, retired FBI agent Gary Aldrich cautions against reliance on polygraphy. Excerpt:
We must be more careful when we set about to protect our national security. Our children are counting on us to make good decisions, and sometimes those decisions call for tough solutions - not some hocus-pocus quick-fix remedy to get us by until the next spy emerges.
We have an opportunity to closely and carefully examine what's wrong at the FBI and at other important intelligence agencies. Let's not waste a chance to make serious, meaningful changes when our nation's safety hangs in the balance.
14 March 2001 In today's edition of All Things Considered,Barbara Bradley of National Public Radio reports on FBI polygraph policy. You will need RealPlayer to listen to the segment, linked in the excerpt below:
FBI & Polygraphs (14.4 | 28.8) -- NPR's Barbara Bradley reports that the recent FBI spy scandal has caused the agency to consider testing its employees more often with polygraphs. The benefit is that a spy has less chance to pass information to the enemy. The cost is that a false-positive rate of about 15 percent can ruin the lives of innocent people. (5:00)
A trascript of this segment is available in the Polygraph Policy forum of the AntiPolygraph.org message board.
14 March 2001 In a front-page article entitled "FBI Polygraphs May Trap Spies -- or Careers," Washington Post staff writer Dan Eggen reports on FBI polygraph policy. Excerpt:
It seemed like a routine polygraph screening. Mark Mallah and his colleagues, members of an FBI counterintelligence unit in New York, were hooked up to lie detector machines and quizzed about drug use, contacts with foreigners and other subjects deemed vital to their roles in protecting national security.
The test turned out to be anything but ordinary for Mallah. The 10-year FBI agent said he was accused of being deceptive on the lie detector examination, prompting a suspension from his job and a full-scale investigation that included 24-hour surveillance and interrogations of family and friends.
When he was finally cleared and reinstated 19 months later, Mallah said, he quit.
"I didn't have any desire to work for an organization that would do that to me," said Mallah, who left the FBI in 1996 and now practices law in San Francisco. "They never produced any evidence or came forward with anything, but the polygraph still undermined my career. . . . I was effectively ruined."
In the wake of charges that veteran agent Robert P. Hanssen had spied for Moscow since 1985, the FBI is embroiled in a debate over how far to expand its use of polygraph tests of employees with access to sensitive information.
Some analysts and lawmakers argue that more aggressive use of the devices might have stopped Hanssen -- who was never required to take a lie detector test during his 25 years with the bureau -- much earlier, possibly limiting the damage he allegedly caused. But skeptics say that allegations such as Mallah's underscore the danger in relying too heavily on polygraph devices, which are not considered reliable enough to be used in court.
13 March 2001 In an article entitled, "Tapes were key to freeing accused Elyria man," Sabrina Eaton and Stephen Koff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer report on an apparent extreme case of polygraph abuse by the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service. On 9 March 2001, the U.S. Navy dropped espionage charges against Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel King. Following a failed polygraph examination, King had been subjected to abusive post-test interrogations lasting up to 19 hours and had allegedly confessed to having sent a computer disk with classified information to the Russian embassy. (For more on polygraph post-test interrogation, download the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute Interview and Interrogation Handbook, 5.3mb PDF.) Excerpt from Plain Dealer article:
WASHINGTON - The evidence that helped exonerate Daniel King was buried in a Navy Yard evidence locker and might never have been discovered if his military lawyer hadnÕt been working on another case.
The video tapes show the Elyria petty officer sobbing after interrogations that lasted as long as 19 hours, and saying he would admit anything to stop the harassment, legal papers say. More than half a dozen audio and video tapes were discovered in February when Lt. Matthew Freedus visited a National [sic, correct "Naval"] Criminal Investigative Service evidence locker on a different matter and spotted tapes labeled with KingÕs name.
By then, King, a cryptographer, had been locked up for nearly 500 days on suspicion of espionage after confessing that he sent a computer disc containing national secrets to the Russian embassy.
On Friday, the Navy withdrew its accusations against King and released him from the brig at the Quantico Marine base. Yesterday, it gave King a month's leave from his unit at the National Security Agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., while it processes papers that will grant him his 20-year retirement at full pension. King plans to return to his family in Ohio later this week.
"The evidence was unbelievably damaging to the prosecution, and we were never told these tapes existed," said King's lead defense lawyer, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University. He wants both Congress and the military to investigate NCIS and other Navy officials involved in King's case.
Earlier news articles on the King case:
12 March 2001 Philip Shenon, in a New York Times article entitled, "Public Lives: A Former Insider to Investigate the Investigators," discusses among other things, Judge William H. Webster's thoughts on expanding polygraph screening in the FBI. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON -- When he was the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, William H. Webster figured that if he was going to demand that other people take lie-detector tests, he had better take one himself. "I wanted to know how I would feel," he said.
So he allowed the bureau's polygraph specialists to hook him up to one of the machines, which measured his blood pressure and pulse rate, and he remembered with a slight cringe that he suddenly found himself recalling some of the embarrassing moments of his life.
"They ask some typical questions, like, `Have you ever been ashamed of anything?' " he said. "And you begin to think of the things you wish you hadn't thought of. Maybe years before, you were rude to your mother or something like that."
It is hard to imagine there were many shameful events to remember in the life of Judge William Hedgcock Webster, who turned 77 last week and whose reputation for integrity has survived two of the most reputation-crushing jobs in Washington: director of the F.B.I. and director of central intelligence.
He has found himself back in government service, asked by the F.B.I. to lead an outside investigation of how a veteran agent -- Robert P. Hanssen, a churchgoing father of six -- could have spied for Moscow for 15 years, and how the bureau can ferret out traitorous agents in the future. The Justice Department's inspector general is conducting a separate inquiry.
Judge Webster said his review was likely to call for expanded use of the polygraph on F.B.I. agents. In the past, the bureau has fiercely resisted the internal use of the so-called lie detector tests, even as they became routine for employees at the C.I.A.
"That's certainly going to be a recommendation," Judge Webster said in a conversation in his law office. "But how broad? How intensive? I think we need expert advice on what's absolutely necessary."
Judge Webster, who left a federal appeals court in St. Louis to become F.B.I. director in 1978 and who has always preferred to be called "judge," acknowledged the concerns of civil liberties advocates, who denounce polygraphs as inaccurate and an invasion of privacy.
"I wish more money had been spent on making a better instrument out of the polygraph," he said. "But they are accurate enough that a person exposing himself to something that could result in the death penalty is going to think very carefully."
He said he believed that routine polygraphs at the F.B.I. would have been a deterrent. Mr. Hanssen "wouldn't have taken the chance, I don't think," Judge Webster said. "The way he exercised his tradecraft tells me that he really worried about getting tripped up."
Judge Webster needs to have a talk with the FBI's top scientific expert on polygraphs, Dr. Drew C. Richardson of the Laboratory Division.
8 March 2001 LAPD begins pre-employment polygraph screening with 43% failure rate. In an article entitled "Just the Truth: LAPD recruits are having trouble with new lie-detector tests," Bobbi Murray reports for LA Weekly. Excerpt:
After lagging behind other law-enforcement agencies that routinely give polygraph tests to potential recruits, the Los Angeles Police Department started using lie-detector tests to screen recruits in February.
One month later, the LAPD is faced with some eyebrow-raising statistics: Out of 59 candidates, 29 failed to show up for the test and 13 of the remaining 30 flunked, according to Phyllis Lynes, chief of the Public Safety Employment Division of the city's personnel department. She says it's safe to assume the no-shows got cold feet, though it's possible some rescheduled their appointments.
LAPD Lieutenant Horace Frank says that the 59 recruits were already engaged in an involved hiring process when they received notices that they would need to schedule a polygraph test, a requirement that was part of the "integrity package" recommended by the department as part of reforms prompted by the Rampart corruption scandal. The drop-out rate is a good sign, says Frank. "If there's a reason for individuals to de-select themselves when they find out they have to take a polygraph test, it's good that they do that. From our standpoint, it's good because we proposed the integrity package."
The test deals with such issues as past employment, possible drug use and financial matters.
"This comes at a time when it's incredibly difficult to recruit new officers to the department," says City Councilman Mike Feuer, a candidate for city attorney who heard the figures last week when the Budget and Finance Committee reviewed a request from the LAPD for $1 million to expand advertising for LAPD recruits. "It also makes you wonder about the numbers of Police Academy graduates who would have passed if the testing had been in place before. Feuer acknowledges, however, that it's difficult to infer much about current recruits based on the pattern. "There's a much broader issue about the quality of our applicant pool," he adds.
6 March 2001 "Speaker Rates Polygraphs as Unreliable." Los Alamos Monitor assistant editor Roger Snodrass reports on a recent talk by Professor William G. Iacono at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Excerpt:
Conventional "lie-detecting" is an outdated and dubious practice that is inherently biased against innocent people. That is the conclusion of William Iacono, a psychology professor from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, who spoke Thursday at a Physics and Theoretical Division Colloquium at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Polygraph testing has been an increasingly prescribed antidote to recent security lapses and espionage fears at the laboratory and in the national defense complex in general.
Iacono, according to the lab's announcement, "is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost clinical psychophysiologists," and "as a national expert on polygraphic interrogation and lie detection."
His talk, he said, would answer the question, "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about, right?" -- a question from the cover of a vintage magazine from the 1940s with an artist's rendering of a polygraph examination of that era. The fading respectability of the procedure was reinforced by Iacono with the information that the "lie-detector" was invented in 1924 by William Moulton Marston, and that Marston, who wrote under the pen name of "Charles Moulton," was also the creator of the Wonder Woman comic strip. Wonder Woman, recalled Iacono, had a magic lasso that caused those encircled by its coils to tell the truth.
2 March 2001 In ABC News' "Sam Show" webcast, Sam Donaldson interviews American Polygraph Association president Milton O. "Skip" Webb Jr. and Doug Williams, author of "How to Sting the Polygraph." To view this webcast, go to Sam Donaldson's page on the ABC News website at http://more.abcnews.go.com/onair/dailynews/samdonaldson_index.html and select the show for 2 March 2001. You will need RealPlayer to view this half-hour program. The Sam Show page also has a link through which you can e-mail Sam Donaldson with commentary.
2 March 2001 In his electronic newsletter, Secrecy News, Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy reports:
ASHCROFT ON POLYGRAPH TESTING
Attorney General John Ashcroft gave a qualified endorsement to polygraph testing at the FBI at a press conference yesterday.
"It's my understanding that there have been cases in the past that polygraphing did not work on. I think you could name them. So the polygraph is not a sure way. The polygraph is said to have about 15 percent false positives and has an impact on the way an agency operates," he said.
"Nevertheless, I believe that there are applications for polygraph that are important, and the director and I have agreed that because of the national security involved and the risks involved and the very important consequences of breaches, that we should elevate the use of polygraph in certain cases as it relates to the Bureau."
His remarks on polygraph testing and the Hanssen case are posted here:
1 March 2001 Attorney General aware of 15% false positive rate. In an article entitled "FBI to Expand Polygraph Testing After Spy Case," Reuters correspondent James Vicini notes that Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a press conference that he knows polygraph screening "tests" to have a 15% false positive rate. (Ashcroft's actual words were, "The polygraph is said to have about 15 percent false positives...") This being the case, on what ethical basis does he allow federal law enforcement agencies to arbitrarily terminate the applications of applicants who "fail" the "test" and blackball them? Excerpt:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI, embarrassed to discover one of its agents allegedly sold secrets to Moscow for 15 years, will expand the use of polygraph tests and will more closely audit access to computers and other information, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said on Thursday.
He told a Justice Department news conference that he and FBI Director Louis Freeh had agreed on the interim measures after last month's arrest of Robert Hanssen, a 25-year FBI veteran and counter-intelligence expert.
Justice Department officials said the expanded use of polygraphs and tighter security access to information would go into effect immediately while former FBI and CIA chief William Webster reviews what changes should be made at the FBI.
Ashcroft said polygraph testing was not a perfect tool.
He said the tests have a 15 percent rate for "false positives" -- showing deception when someone is not really lying -- and that in some past cases the tests have failed to uncover espionage.
That appeared to be a reference to former CIA officer Aldrich Ames, who was given a polygraph test, but was not detected, at a time when he was spying for Moscow. He was sentenced in 1994 to life in prison.
1 March 2001 "FBI Intensifies Security After Spy Scandal." Confusing "more polygraphs" with "greater security," ABC News reports that the FBI has decided to expand polygraph screening. Excerpt:
W A S H I N G T O N, March 1 -- FBI Director Louie Freeh is planning new measures to improve internal security in the wake of the Hanssen spy probe -- including random and periodic lie detector testing of employees, ABCNEWS has learned.
The polygraph tests will initially focus on agents and personnel who have access to the bureau's most sensitive data, particularly national security information, but it may be expanded to the entire bureau, a senior FBI source said.
Nearly 400 FBI personnel were given polygraph examinations before they were allowed to work on the Hanssen case, ABCNEWS has learned.
The move to expanded polygraphing is significant, since it has long been opposed by bureau rank-and-file. Employees question the viability of the tests -- even though the CIA and NSA regularly use them.
Freeh has been criticized for not implementing the tests earlier. Currently, polygraphing is used primarily on potential employees and people being brought into sensitive investigations.
The announcement was made internally at the bureau on Wednesday, sources said, but it was not clear when the testing would begin.
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