AntiPolygraph.org Home Page > Polygraph News

29 June 2001 Polygraph Dragnet at Philippine City Hall. In an article titled "NBI continues probe over lost receipts" Danilo A. Reyes reports on the Philippine website Sun.Star about a polygraph dragnet at General Santos city hall. Excerpt:

GENERAL SANTOS -- Two polygraph examiners from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will conduct lie detector tests on City Hall employees as investigation over the loss of government receipts continues.

The Manila-based polygraph experts were earlier requested by NBI investigator Dominique Cerro.

The NBI office here was informed of the polygraph examiner's arrival through a fax message they received the other day. In the said message, the team wanted those who will be subject for a test to be presented by Monday.

The NBI expects to complete the test in three days.

Lawyer Boye Mama, NBI Socsksargen chief, said some employees from the City Treasurer's Office (CTO) would undergo the polygraph test.

...

Mama...said they would subpoena employees who will refuse to undergo the lie detector test and require them to explain the grounds of their refusal.

"The unofficial result (of polygraph test) will be sufficient," Lawyer Mama told Sun.Star yesterday.

He, however, admitted that the results of the test are inadmissible as evidences in court.

29 June 2001 Philippine Whistleblower Agrees to be Polygraphed. The Philippine website INQ7.net reports in an article titled, "'Ador' wants to meet President before taking polygraph test." The short article is cited in full here:

A CIVILIAN agent of the former Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) said that he wants to meet with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before subjecting himself to a lie detector test.

Ador (not his real name) told radio dzBB that while he was willing to undergo a polygraph test he would rather meet first with the President to discuss his recent revelations that he had first-hand knowledge the PAOCTF engaged in kidnappings allegedly upon the orders of its erstwhile chief, Senator-elect Panfilo Lacson.

Lacson concurrently headed the Philippine National Police and PAOCTF until last January.

Ador in a message to Ms Macapagal said: "Ako po ay tiklop-tuhod na nakikiusap kung pwede ng makausap kayo bago ako ay mag-exam para mapatunayan ang aking sinasabi (I am begging you please talk to me before I undergo a lie detector test so that I can prove what I have said so far)."

Ador also asked Malacañang for protection for his family in line with his offer to testify and file charges against Lacson.

The former civilian agent also alleged that the senator-elect's protégés, Senior Superintendents Cesar Mancao and Michael Ray Aquino, had played major roles in the kidnappings staged by the PAOCTF.

In an interview with dzBB on Friday, Mancao denied Ador's charges. He dared Ador to face him personally and repeat his claims even as he urged the agent to take the polygraph test.

Whistleblowers should not be subjected to trial by polygraph. As Dr. James Blascovitch noted at the 2nd public meeting of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council polygraph review committee, "every examiner I asked at [the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute], 'If you wanted someone to fail this test, could you have them do it, physiologically?' they said 'yes.'" On the other hand, polygraph tests can also be manipulated by those who understand the lie behind the lie detector.

27 June 2001 "Getting at the Truth of It." Los Angeles Times staff writer Anna Gorman reports for the Ventura County edition about retired FBI polygrapher Jack Trimarco. Excerpt:

Jack Trimarco makes a living off spotting lies. Lies that make hearts race and blood pressure rise. Lies that reveal the crimes of kidnappers, child molesters and murderers.

The Ventura County polygraph expert also makes his living off of cleverly leading people into making self-incriminating statements--even before the actual polygraph begins.

A retired FBI agent, Trimarco spends his days asking questions, watching the lines of the lie detector machine rise and fall. In an unrelenting search for the truth, he cajoles suspects to confess and convinces witnesses to divulge key information.

"You have to go in there with a gladiator mentality," said Trimarco, 53, who lives in Camarillo. "It's a competition, and you have to win."

...

Mr. Trimarco is also the "inspector general" of the Department of Energy (DOE) polygraph program. Compare his "gladiator mentality" quip above to the following assertion Trimarco made in a taxpayer-funded DOE polygraph videotape:

JACK TRIMARCO: Polygraph does not have to be a stressful situation.

DIANE ANDERSON: So it's really not an interrogation? Because I think that that would make most people pretty nervous.

JACK TRIMARCO: It's not an interrogation at all....

26 June 2001 "Polygraph May Determine Man's Sentence." Madison Press staff writer Steve Smith reports. Excerpt:

LONDON -- A young man facing up to eight years in prison will have an opportunity to avoid that sentence if a polygraph examination shows he is telling the truth about his involvement in the theft of a crossbow from a West Jefferson garage.

Beau A. Stephenson, 18, of 707 W. Main St., West Jefferson, was indicted on a second degree felony charge of burglary. The theft occurred in March and West Jefferson police were contacted in April after the bow was sold to another West Jefferson man for $50. Police Lt. Rodney Chenos contacted experts and discovered that the bow, which was returned to police on April 9, was worth $632.

Stephenson claims that although he sold the crossbow, he did not enter the garage and steal it, Assistant Prosecutor Eamon Costello said during a hearing Monday in Madison County Common Pleas Court.

Costello said Stephenson was offered a chance to take a polygraph exam and he agreed. Costello asked Judge Robert D. Nichols to postpone Stephenson's trial until after an Aug. 2 examination at the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

"If Mr. Stephenson passes the polygraph, it is our intention to offer him a fifth degree felony -- receiving stolen property" in a plea bargain, Costello said. That charge would carry a penalty of 12 months in prison. If he fails the state will continue to pursue the second degree felony.

Prosecutors should not make decisions on what charges to bring against a defendant based on the outcome of pseudoscientific polygraph "tests." It is fair neither to the suspect nor to the victim.

22 June 2001"DOE Needs to Stand Up to Congress on Lie Tests." This Albuquerque Tribune editorial minces no words in its criticism of the Department of Energy's polygraph screening program. Excerpt:

"Deception" is a nasty, nine-letter word that preoccupies U.S. counterintelligence agents. Appropriately, they worry about the potential for moles and leaks of nuclear weapons secrets from the nation's classified bulwarks, including Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories in New Mexico.

Unfortunately, the word also is at the heart of the Department of Energy's misguided efforts to use polygraph examinations as a routine tool for plugging theoretical holes in the nation's nuclear secrets dike.

The evidence suggests that the lie detector screening cure - intended to expose spies and lies - is worse than the affliction. In fact, it's the big lie.

18 June 2001. New Jersey Makes Polygraph a Requirement for Free Exculpatory DNA Testing. The Associated Press reports that New Jersey Attorney General John J. Farmer, Jr. is making passing a polygraph "test" a pre-condition for free exculpatory DNA testing that the state of New Jersey is offering to convicts. The following is an excerpt from the article "N.J. Offering Free DNA Tests to Cons" published in the 18 June 2001 edition of the New York Daily News:

The latest in DNA testing technology can be a ticket to freedom or to life in prison -- and soon New Jersey convicts will be able to take their chances with biology.

Attorney General John Farmer is preparing to appoint a team of lawyers to review applications from defendants willing to submit a DNA sample.

The lawyers will then identify cases in which biological evidence from crime scenes has been properly preserved and it might change verdicts.

Defendants who want to take part in the testing program would first have to pass a polygraph test before their applications would be considered.

By making passing a pseudoscientific polygraph "test" (with its built-in bias against the truthful) a pre-condition for conducting genuinely scientific DNA testing that could exculpate the wrongly convicted, New Jersey Attorney General Farmer is undercutting the purported purpose of the DNA testing program. You can let Mr. Farmer know about "the lie behind the lie detector" by e-mailing his office at lpaciti@smtp.lps.state.nj.us or by calling (609) 292-4925 or by fax to (609) 292-4925 or by mail to:

New Jersey Attorney General John J. Farmer, Jr.
P.O. Box 080
Trenton, NJ 08625-0080

16 June 2001 "DOE Drops Medical Questions" (Sort Of). Albuquerque Journal staff writer John Fleck reports. Excerpt:

The Department of Energy has halted a controversial policy of asking medical questions of nuclear weapons scientists as part of its spy-hunting polygraph tests.

Instead of asking medically related questions, the department's new policy now places the burden on workers being polygraphed, requiring them to reveal before taking the test any "medical or psychological condition" that might affect the test's outcome, according to a memorandum from the department's chief of counterintelligence.

The new policy did not satisfy the polygraph's leading critic, who called it worse than the one it replaced.

That is because there is no way for employees, or their physicians, to find out what medications or medical conditions might influence a polygraph's outcome, said Sandia National Laboratories scientist Al Zelicoff.

That leaves employees in an untenable position, with no way to tell what medical or psychological information they ought to reveal to the polygraphers.

DOE Counterintelligence should state on the record whether a worker's knowledge that polygraphy is a fraud (being fundamentally dependent on the polygrapher lying to and deceiving the subject about the nature of the procedure) constitutes a "psychological condition" that might affect the "test's" outcome. For more on the trickery behind the "Test for Espionage and Sabotage" (the polygraph screening format adopted by DOE), see George Maschke's article, "The Lying Game: National Security and the Test for Espionage and Sabotage."

16 June 2001 "Scientists Eyeing High-tech Upgrade for Lie Detectors." Boston Globe staff writer Patricia Wen reports. Excerpt:

Former CIA agent Aldrich Ames easily fooled lie detector tests, concealing his work as a Russian spy. But could he have duped a ''brain fingerprinting'' exam, which probes what people know by checking their electrical brain waves?

...

Iowa-based neuroscientist Lawrence Farwell...is eager to see his ''brain fingerprinting'' work get into more courtrooms, convinced as he is that it has a near-perfect accuracy rate.

His method focuses on a specific electrical brain wave, called a P300, which activates when a person sees a familiar object. The subject wears a headband of electrodes and faces a computer screen, which flashes photos.

This technique provides a potential window into someone's past visual experience. If a person looks at random pictures of weapons without activating a P300 wave, these objects are presumably unknown to him. But if the murder weapon is shown and a P300 wave activates, then the person clearly has some experience with that weapon.

''This technique is used to see if they have the information stored in their brain or not,'' said Farwell, a Harvard graduate who now runs Brain Wave Science in Fairfield, Iowa. ''All of this relates indirectly to lie detection.''

Of course, for the P300 to be truly incriminating, the prosecutor would have to show that the tested person didn't see that murder weapon in some other innocent way, such as in media accounts or by being a bystander.

His ''brain fingerprinting'' helmet of electrodes is currently available within the CIA, Farwell said, though he doesn't know if or how often it's used. However, Farwell knows some strategies for using P300 to detect moles. A US agent suspected of being a spy for Cuba, for instance, could be shown objects known only to Cuban undercover agents, something as simple as a job-related paper form or the ''contact'' person.

Farwell's lie detection technique won a modest legal victory in March when an Iowa judge ruled there was enough scientific basis to admit ''brain fingerprinting'' results as evidence in the case of Terry Harrington, a convicted murderer trying to win a new trial. Farwell showed that Harrington did not have a P300 wave when shown key parts of the crime scene, but did emit the P300 wave when shown scenes from his alibi, suggesting he was unfamiliar with the crime.

The judge did not grant a new trial and Harrington is appealing.

15 June 2001 "Sandia Labs Doctor Asks Physicians not to Aid Lie Tests." Albuquerque Tribune reporter Maria Cranor reports. Excerpt:

An Albuquerque doctor and senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories is urging New Mexico doctors not to cooperate with a new federal polygraph policy that now provides for medical waivers.

In a letter sent Thursday to the New Mexico Board of Medical Examiners, Dr. Alan Zelicoff wrote: "Physicians would be ill-advised to participate in any way in conforming with this onerous government requirement."

Contending there is no "documented validity" for the Department of Energy to use lie detector tests for counterintelligence screening, Zelicoff asked the board to advise New Mexico physicians they could risk "committing an ethical infraction." He said he believes they risk violating patient confidentiality.

Efforts to obtain comment from DOE headquarters and the state board were not successful.

The new policy, announced in a DOE memo earlier this month, sets out the conditions whereby Sandia employees required to take polygraphs under a congressional directive may seek medical waivers from DOE polygraphy requirements.

The change requires polygraph candidates to submit evidence of a medical condition or medication that might affect the polygraph results.

Zelicoff contends there is no way for doctors to make that determination.

...

In a separate letter to Robinson and Sandia Executive Vice President Joan Woodard, Zelicoff said the new DOE policy "falls far short of addressing the specific concerns" voiced by Sandia's medical and technical staff.

He wrote he is "most deeply troubled" by the department putting lab employees and their physicians into the position of having to assess which medical conditions or drugs might be relevant without any medical or scientific studies to guide them.

Zelicoff said he feels his continued objections to the department's polygraph program might be potentially damaging to him personally.

Yet, he wrote Robinson: "It is not possible for me to sit quietly in the face of an attempt on the part of the DOE OCI (Office of Counterintelligence) to coerce the New Mexico medical community into being complicit in acts that are both unethical and destructive of the doctor-patient relationship."

15 June 2001 "Dealing With Polygraph Testing." Steven Aftergood of the American Federation of Scientists' Secrecy in Government Project writes in today's edition of Secrecy News:

DEALING WITH POLYGRAPH TESTING

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are organizing to defend their legal rights in the face of new Department of Energy polygraph testing requirements.

The Society of Professional Scientists and Engineers (SPSE), an organization of Livermore employees, has developed its own "consent" form that documents the rights of those who are compelled to undergo polygraph testing. The new form and related materials may be found on the SPSE web site here:

http://www.spse.org

Of particular interest, SPSE commissioned a background paper from attorney Andrew Thomas Sinclair entitled "If You are Asked to Take a Polygraph Examination: A Guide for Employees at LLNL" that is posted here:

http://www.spse.org/Polygraph_guide.pdf

The continuing controversy over the efficacy and propriety of polygraph testing is rehearsed most recently by Diana Ray in the Washington Times' Insight Magazine (July 2-9, 2001):

http://www.insightmag.com/archive/200107025.shtml

Antipolygraph.org, led by polygraph critic George Maschke, provides the latest news on polygraph testing, pursues the release of polygraph-related documentation under the Freedom of Information Act, and makes a commendable effort to engage polygraph proponents in dialog and debate. See:

http://www.antipolygraph.org

14 June 2001 "An In-depth Investigative Look into the Lie Behind the Lie Detector." Jeff Rambo, editor-in-chief of Internet start-up news site SOURCERUNNER, interviewed AntiPolygraph.org's George Maschke for this article, the first in a series. Excerpt:

Is the polygraph examination like playing Russian roulette with your reputation? Many describe it as doing just that.

There are dozens of both pro-polygraph and anti-polygraph Web sites. However, one that certainly stands out among the pack would be AntiPolygraph.org....

14 June 2001 Merrillville, Indiana P.D. Buys Into CVSA. In an article entitled, "New equipment will give police edge on liars," staff writer Erin Howard of the northwest Indiana Times reports. Excerpt:

MERRILLVILLE -- Lie detection is one of many methods police use to solve criminal cases, and the Merrillville Police Department will soon have the latest lie detector technology at its disposal.

The ancient polygraph machine, which measures a person's heart rate and breathing changes to determine if the person is lying, is being replaced by many departments with a Computer Voice Stress Analyzer. The analyzer detects, measures and displays changes in the voice.

Unlike the polygraph, the voice analyzer requires no wires, instead it uses a microphone plugged into a laptop computer to analyze the subject's voice responses, said Capt. David Hughes from the National Institute for Truth Verification in Palm Beach, Fla. As the subject speaks, the computer displays each voice pattern, numbers it and saves each chart to a file, he said.

"We've never had any type of lie detector or anything like that previously," Merrillville Police Chief John Shelhart said. "So hopefully this is going to help our officers' ability to interview suspects and ascertain conclusions on their truthfulness."

The Town Council approved the purchase of the lie detection technology Tuesday. The $13,000 purchase price includes comprehensive training in use of the technology for four police officers.

While the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer "detects, measures and displays changes in the voice," these changes have no demonstrable correlation to whether the speaker is telling the truth or not. The article goes on to state that over 1,000 police departments in the United States, including 81 in the state of Indiana, have purchased these devices.

14 June 2001 $200,000 settlement in case of employee fired for refusing polygraph. The Bucks County, Pennsylvania Courier Times reports in an article titled, "Collection firm settles civil rights case." Excerpt:

Bristol Township's municipal wage tax collector Berkheimer Associates and the collector's parent firm, H.A. Berkheimer Inc., have settled a federal civil rights lawsuit for $200,000, a source confirmed yesterday.

Township resident Diane Radicke, a former Berkheimer Associates employee, has settled claims that she was wrongly fired for refusing to take a lie detector test. Radicke's lawsuit was also against township Mayor Samuel Fenton, but neither the township nor Fenton participated in the settlement, according to a statement from municipal officials.

14 June 2001 Charges stayed against Edmonton, Alberta woman after abusive polygraph interrogation. In an Edmonton Sun article entitled, "Grill Session," Tony Blais reports on the case of a woman who had been accused of giving her two-year-old son a lethal dose of morphine. Excerpt:

According to court documents obtained yesterday, charges against Corrine Lee Brooks were stayed after incriminating statements she made to city police detectives were ruled inadmissible by two Edmonton judges. In one particularly scathing decision, provincial court Judge Ralph Chisholm described the 5 1/2-hour interrogation as being an "atmosphere of oppression" and accused police of lying and offering false assurances to Brooks.

"In my view only one conclusion can be arrived at and that is that she was psychologically beaten into submission," said Chisholm in a written decision. "I am satisfied that the police actions were effectively so overbearing as to deprive the accused of any meaningful independent ability to choose to remain silent," he said.

The judge added Brooks was "reduced to a point where she was the mere tool of the police."

Brooks, 24, was charged with manslaughter and failing to provide the necessaries of life after Austin Brooks-McDonell was found dead in an upstairs bedroom of their 3306 116A Ave. apartment on Dec. 12, 1997.

An autopsy and forensic investigation showed the toddler died of a morphine overdose from a drug known as MS Contin, which is a prescription drug commonly given to cancer patients to treat acute pain.

At a preliminary hearing in December 1999, Chisholm ruled statements Brooks made to Det. Ralph Godfrey of the polygraph unit and homicide Det. Dennis McGeady in an April 16, 1998, interview were inadmissible.

Chisholm described Godfrey's interrogation method as "an academy performance" and accused the detective of implying to Brooks that she had failed a polygraph test when the results were actually inconclusive.

The judge also took Godfrey to task for telling Brooks that if she had given her son the drug to help him sleep, it was unintentional and not a crime, and if she admitted what she'd done there would be no legal consequences. Chisholm criticized Godfrey for ignoring her request to stop the interview and go home despite the fact she was crying, dejected and clearly emotionally distraught and had adamantly denied giving her son a morphine pill.

He also slammed police for making the interrogation a "much longer ordeal" by subjecting Brooks to lengthy and unnecessary questions about her sexual relationships.

13 June 2001 Charges Against Police Sergeant Who "Failed" Polygraph Dropped. South Florida Sun-Sentinel staff writer Jon Burstein reports in an article entitled "State drops case against Boynton officer accused of molesting family member." Excerpt:

Criminal charges against a Boynton Beach police sergeant accused of molesting a family member have been dropped, the State Attorney's Office said on Tuesday.

Any case against Sgt. Frank Ranzie would rest solely on the inconsistent testimony of an alleged victim who might have a motive to lie, prosecutor Andrew Slater wrote. Without any physical evidence or other witnesses, Slater concluded he couldn't successfully prosecute Ranzie.

...

Defense attorney Michael Salnick said the decision ends a devastating two months for the 13-year officer, who works in Internal Affairs. He was arrested April 19 by Palm Beach County sheriff's detectives based on the accusation. Salnick had argued that the family member made up the accounts of being molested in retaliation for being disciplined.

...

While Ranzie was briefly put on paid leave after the arrest, he recently has been handling administrative duties and will continue doing that until an Internal Affairs investigation is completed, said Boynton Beach police Lt. Wendy Danysh.

Danysh said Tuesday that she didn't know if the internal investigation will consider that Ranzie failed a voluntary polygraph test when asked about the alleged molestation.

Salnick said polygraphs are notoriously unreliable and that sheriff's detectives rushed the investigation. He declined to explain how detectives may have mishandled the case.

...

After Ranzie failed a polygraph, he was secretly videotaped in a sheriff's interview room saying he didn't know why he failed it and talked about how his life would be ruined, [prosecutor Andrew] Slater wrote.

Sgt. Ranzie's polygraph experience serves as a reminder that anyone accused of a crime should never voluntarily submit to a polygraph "test."

12 June 2001. "Ex-employee at bank sues over firing." South Bend Tribune staff writer Cory Havens reports on the case of a bank emloyee allegedly fired in retaliation for refusing to submit to a lie detector "test." Excerpt:

PLYMOUTH -- A former employee has filed a lawsuit against Lake City Bank, claiming she was wrongly fired after a robbery at the Plymouth branch in January.

Susan Keefe of Plymouth claims the bank violated her rights by requiring her to submit to a polygraph test in relation to the Jan. 6 robbery, even though she says she was told she was not a suspect in the robbery.

In that incident, two armed women entered the bank and held Keefe, another teller and a customer at gunpoint while forcing another teller to give them money.

The two then reportedly left the bank and left with a man who had stayed in his vehicle outside.

In her lawsuit, Keefe says she cooperated fully with police, answering all their questions.

She claims police later asked her if she thought another bank employee could be involved in the robbery.

Keefe said she didn't believe that person would be involved, and police asked her if she would be willing to take a polygraph, according to court documents.

Keefe alleges she repeatedly asked branch manager Michael Burroughs if she had to submit to the test, and that he told her he could not force her to, and that the bank could not fire her for refusing.

After initially agreeing to the test, Keefe said she changed her mind and refused.

Upon telling co-workers she had refused the test, the work environment was unfriendly that morning, she alleges in court documents.

Keefe claims when she came back from lunch that day, all the locks and combinations had been changed and she was sent home for the day, a Thursday, and told to come back on the following Monday.

Burroughs allegedly told her she would be compensated for that time, and that he did not know why she was being sent home, according to court documents.

When she returned that Monday, Jill DeBatty, the bank's vice president of human resources, was at the Plymouth branch and told Keefe she was being terminated for refusing to help police, Keefe alleges in her lawsuit.

12 June 2001. "NO and then YES." Gerard Wong of The Straits Times reports that Singaporean goalkeeper Shamsuri Ahmad has agreed to submit to a mandatory lie detector "test." Excerpt:

CLEMENTI Khalsa goalkeeper Shamsuri Ahmad saved himself from a sacking by the S-League last night when he agreed at the last minute to go for a polygraph (lie-detector) test.

The 32-year-old custodian was the first S-League player to appear before the Football Association of Singapore's disciplinary committee for refusing to take the test a few weeks back.

But Shamsuri changed his mind after Clementi chairman Jagjit Singh persuaded him at the hearing to take the test.

...

...Jagjit explained that Shamsuri, who last played in Clementi's 0-5 thrashing by Home United on May 12, had refused to take the test out of sheer ignorance.

'He is a simple lad who is not very well-educated,' he said. 'He was afraid to go for the test because he gets nervous very easily.

'Although he claims his innocence, he had this terrible fear that his anxiety would make the polygraph register a wrong result.'

'He is a simple lad who is not very well-educated,' he said. 'He was afraid to go for the test because he gets nervous very easily.

'Although he claims his innocence, he had this terrible fear that his anxiety would make the polygraph register a wrong result.'

...

'Even if I have to buy a gun and a bullet and point it to his head, I will make sure he goes for the test,' said the chairman.

Before investing in a gun and a bullet, Clementi chairman Jagjit Singh should read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector to dispel his own ignorance about polygraphy. Truthful but anxious persons run a significant risk of becoming false positives.

11 June 2001. Singapore: Soccer Player Refuses Mandatory Lie Detector Test. Patwant Singh reports for MediaCorps News in an article entitled "S.League: Clementi goalkeeper refuses mandatory lie-detector test." Excerpt:

Clementi Khalsa goalkeeper Shamsuri Ahmad has become the first player to refuse a mandatory polygraph test and was called up for a disciplinary committee inquiry by the Football Association of Singapore on Monday.

...

FAS had recently introduced mandatory polygraph testing for all players and officials in an effort to stamp out corruption in soccer.

As part of the code of conduct, all players and officials must sign an undertaking agreeing to be subjected to the lie-detector test.

Since the start of this season, players and officials have been picked at random for the test.

...

Shamsuri could be deregistered, or face a fine or suspension, if he continues to refuse to take the test.

Polygraph "testing," which is fundamentally dependent on trickery, has built-in bias against the truthful, and yet is easily defeated through the use of countermeasures, is a strange way to try to "stamp out corruption."

11 June 2001 "Sex Predator Foiled Two Lie Detector Tests." Bryan Johnson of KOMO TV in Seattle, Washington reports. Excerpt:

KING COUNTY - A prosecutor says released sex predator Joseph Aqui had two extramarital affairs and looked at pornography on the Internet.

A hearing under way in court in Seattle will determine whether Aqui violated terms of his release from the special commitment center.

Aqui, the first sex predator released from our state's special commitment facility, apparently was able to pass two lie detector tests after having the illegal affair, prosecutors said.

Four years ago, Joseph Aqui convinced the courts he was ready to leave the Special Commitment Center on McNeill Island and return home to College Place in Eastern Washington.

Part of the judge's order was that Aqui have no sexual contact with a woman other than his wife.

But prosecutors say Aqui had oral sex at his home with a fellow church member while his wife and children were away. They say Aqui then passed two lie detectors, one in the fall of last year and one this spring.

8 June 2001. "Can They Fool the Polygraph?" Diana Ray reports in the 2-9 June 2001 issue of Insight magazine. Excerpt:

The FBI is requiring employees to undergo increased polygraph testing as a result of security lapses, but cool liars are able to evade detection by the simple machines.

Polygraph testing did not keep Aldrich H. Ames from selling CIA secrets to the Russians before his arrest in 1994. He passed the tests with flying colors while employed by the agency. And testing didn't prevent FBI counterspy Robert Philip Hanssen from reported treason -- because, during his entire 25 years with the bureau, he never was required to take one. Recently indicted, Hanssen is charged with selling secrets to the Soviet Union and then Russia during a period of 16 years, right up to his arrest in February.

After the uncovering of Hanssen, former FBI director William Webster was tasked to investigate FBI security procedures. In the interim, the bureau announced, it would require 500 employees with access to confidential data to undergo polygraph tests during a 60-day period, including Louis Freeh, the bureau director. That was to begin late in March. Although the 60-day deadline wasn't met, only Freeh remained to be polygraphed as Insight went to press, according to FBI spokesman Paul Bresson. Freeh announced he would retire in June after 27 years with the FBI.

4 June 2001 In an article entitled "To Tell The Truth," US News and World Report writers Kevin Whitelaw and David E. Kaplan put forth informed commentary on the dangers of security vetting by polygraph. Excerpt:

...

The task [of finding moles in the CIA] fell to [Edward] Curran, who sensed the nation's premier spy agency was consumed by mistrust. Routine polygraphs became grueling interrogation sessions. The polygraphers treated their colleagues "like criminals," says Curran. "This might be great in a prison but not with civil servants."


The crackdown turned up serious security problems. But innocent people were also snagged, raising the question of whether the agency used the decidedly wrong medicine for a cure. As many as 100 people–including some of the nation's top spies–found their careers paralyzed: Many lost coveted transfers overseas; others were pushed into dead-end jobs; still others quit in frustration or were forced out. "No organization can afford to have that many experienced officers tied up in limbo," says Frederick Hitz, the CIA inspector general for much of the 1990s. Says a former station chief: "The effect was devastating."


Today, the dragnet at the CIA offers a cautionary tale as other federal agencies embark on their own sweeping spy hunts. The FBI has launched an agencywide mole hunt, sparked by the February arrest of veteran counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen.

...

"If they can't pass a CIA polygraph, fire them," former CIA officials recall Rep. Norman Dicks, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, barking at the time.

Everyone knew of the polygraph's flaws, shortcomings so glaring that the test results are inadmissible in most courts. A tabletop box that monitors pulse, breathing, and skin moisture, the machine measures stress, not truthfulness. Even veteran polygraphers concede there is a 10 percent to 15 percent "false positive" rate. That's where the machine registers a "significant physiological response" on a truthful answer. "The polygraph is not really a lie detector," says former CIA director James Woolsey. "You have cases in which truthful people look like they're lying and where lying people look like they're truthful." Many times during the exams, officials say, fears unrelated to counterintelligence or criminal behavior clouded the results. Horror stories about bad polygraph sessions soon raced through the agency.

4 June 2001 "Pandora's Box." US News and World Report provides some background on the so-called "lie-detector." Despite its use by over 20 federal agencies, polygraph "technology" (circa 1915) has never been proven to determine truth from deception with better than chance accuracy under field conditions. Excerpt:

Most U.S. courts ban their use as evidence. A federal law bars private firms from using them to screen job applicants. Even Attorney General John Ashcroft concedes they have a 15 percent error rate. Despite all this, the use of polygraphs is sharply expanding in the federal government. Over 20 federal agencies now use the "lie detector" for security, criminal investigation, and screening job seekers.

...

"Junk science." The concept is simple enough: A technician hooks monitors to one's arm, fingers, and chest, which measure changes in the body's pulse, temperature, respiration, and skin moisture. Polygraph operators say sharp fluctuations can be evidence of deception. Critics, however, brand the entire field "junk science" and claim that the best scientific studies show error rates of 40 percent or more. "It's little better than flipping a coin," says University of Minnesota psychologist David Lykken.

1 June 2001 "Española officers, clerks to take polygraph test." The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that a number of Española, NM civil servants will be forced to submit to polygraphic interrogation in the wake of thefts from City Hall. Excerpt:

Two Española police officers, a city clerk and two police clerks will undergo polygraphs to determine whether any of them stole $1,800 and 3.3 grams of heroin from City Hall.

Española Police Chief Wayne Salazar said he received a list of employees to undergo the tests from city manager Leonard Padilla.
Salazar would not release the names of those who will take the test.

If these individuals were employees of a private company, the 1988 Employee Polygraph Protection Act would give them the right to decline these unreliable "tests." Unfortunately, the protections of the EPPA are not extended to government employees.

31 May 2001 "Tabloid Offers Blake 100G to Take Lie Test." New York Post reporter David K. Li writes that the Star supermarket tabloid has offered actor Robert Blake $100,000 to submit to a polygraph test regarding issues surrounding the recent murder of his wife. Excerpt:

May 31, 2001 -- LOS ANGELES - A supermarket tabloid has offered actor Robert Blake $100,000 to take a polygraph test to clear himself of suspicion in the mysterious murder of his wife.

While so-called lie-detector tests are generally not allowed as evidence in court, Star editor-in-chief Tony Frost said yesterday Blake has nothing to lose.

"If Mr. Blake has nothing to hide, what better way is there of removing the umbrella of suspicion?" Frost told The Post.

"The results of a polygraphs are not admissible in a court of law, but they do go a long way to convincing the court of public opinion."

...

Blake's lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Frost said his magazine has never asked a celebrity to take a polygraph, but the public interest in Bakley's murder prompted the test-for-cash challenge.

The Star has retained Los Angeles-based polygraph expert Joseph Paolella, formerly of the Secret Service, to administer the test if Blake takes the bait.

Paolella said he'd ask Blake just four questions: Did he kill Bakley, know who killed her, arrange the killing, or have access to a Walther handgun?

ABC news has reported that a German-made Walther was the murder weapon.

Star editor-in-chief Tony Frost is egregiously mistaken when he says that Blake has "nothing to lose" by submitting to a polygraph. In truth, besides the $100,000, Blake has nothing to gain. If he "passes," it is not likely that he will be removed from suspicion. And if he "fails," his "conviction by popular public opinion" is overwhelmingly likely. The fact remains that the polygraph has never been shown to have better than chance accuracy in a peer-reviewed scientific study conducted under field conditions. Innocent or guilty, Robert Blake would be wise not to "take the bait" and respectfully decline any polygraph offered by the Star or anyone else.

In a June 2000 article entitled "If You're Innocent O.J., Shun the Polygraph," USA Today reporter DeWayne Wickham made an informed commentary about another Hollywood personality facing a similar situation--O.J. Simpson.

29 May 2001Retired FBI Counterintelligence Official Calls for More Polygraphs. In an article ironically titled "Americans See Through Blind Eyes," Toby Westerman of WorldNetDaily reports on Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies dean David Major's call for expanded polygraph screening. Excerpt:

Polygraph examinations lie detector tests should be given to all U.S. government personnel having access to secret information in order to prevent a similar spy scandal to that of accused FBI spy, Robert Hanssen, according to a former top counterintelligence officer.

...

One proposal that received approval from all top-level Reagan officials was to require those having access to sensitive military secrets to submit to a polygraph examination.

Those in sensitive positions "should be able to pass the question 'Are you a spy?'" stated Major, who was involved in the Reagan administration's deliberation on the subject.

If the individual is unable to answer the question without difficulty, "maybe you should have to reevaluate that person," Major suggested.

The suggestion was made that all government officials take a polygraph examination, since access to secret information, according to Major, is open to nearly all levels of government.

The drive for polygraph tests ended when then-Secretary of State George Shultz stated that he would take the examination and then resigned in protest.

This last point about former Secretary of State George P. Schultz first saying he would take a polygraph examination and then resigning in protest is dead wrong. Schultz never agreed to be polygraphed and said he would resign if ordered to submit. President Reagan relented, and Schultz kept his job. America's counterintelligence community would do well to end its own wilful blindness with regard to polygraphy and acknowledge that "the lie behind the lie detector" is no secret.

15 May 2001 Polygraph Used to Bolster Claim in New Hampshire Case. In an article entitled "Civil war over the Holts rages in Lyndeborough," Union Leader staff writer Nancy Meersman writes regarding the use of a polygraph "test" to bolster an allegation in a criminal appeal. Excerpt:

A polygraph expert says Walter Holt was telling the truth when he claimed that his farm hand, Chuck Grant, confessed to setting the Dec. 1, 1999, fire that destroyed the Holt homestead in Lyndeborough.

The assertion that Holt passed a lie detector test is the basis of the latest legal try by Nashua attorney Frances Holland to overturn the arson and insurance fraud convictions against Walter Holt's wife, Monica.

...

Certified polygraph specialist George E. Tetreault of Portsmouth administered the test to Walter Holt on May 3. Polygraph evidence is not admissible in New Hampshire courts.

According to the polygraph expert, Holt answered "yes" when asked if Grant confessed to burning down the house. He also answered "yes" when asked if he saw Grant and a fire marshal going in and out of the burned home the day after the fire and "yes" to whether Monica told him within a week of the fire that Grant had confessed to her.

Tetreault said he observed 'no physiological responses" when Holt answered the questions. "Therefore, with a reasoned judgment, it is hereby determined that all of his answers are truthful," Tetreault said.

Those who understand the dubious method by which truth vs. deception is inferred in polygraph "tests" (See Ch. 3 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector) might question just how "reasoned" George E. Tetreault's "judgment" is.


AntiPolygraph.org Home Page > Polygraph News