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30 October 2001 "Big lies." The Los Angeles Daily News discusses the city's recent polygraph contract in this editorial. Excerpt:

City Hall's budget woes get worse every day. This year's projected deficit has nearly doubled in just a week.

Maybe that's because City Hall pays twice the going rate for its services and contracts.

Take lie-detectors -- and frankly it would be a good idea if our city leaders were given lie-detector tests with regularity.

Last week, the City Council approved a $615,000 contract with an East Coast security company to provide polygraph examinations for would-be Los Angeles Police Department officers. What the council didn't ask about -- and the bureaucrats didn't mention -- is that the company doesn't have any polygraph experts.

Nor did anyone question why the city was paying $395 for each test when the firm was going out and hiring local polygraph experts to conduct the tests for the standard $200 fee.

In other words, the city will pay almost double the going rate for lie-detector tests. The deal, of course, was part of a no-bid contract with $62,000 thrown in so the firm's executives can travel to Los Angeles to make sure the local experts are doing a good job.

Phyllis Lynes, assistant general manager for the city Personnel Department's Public Safety Bureau, read about the company, U.S. Investigation Services Inc., in a brochure, and that seemed to be the extent of her research. City bureaucrats claim they made a few random phone calls and surfed the Web looking for competitors, but they didn't seem to look very hard.


City Controller Laura Chick should take this latest example of waste as proof of the need for her tireless vigilance in defense of the taxpayers' money. If she doesn't do it, no one will.

When they're campaigning, city politicians always make promises about managing the public's funds responsibly. When they take the oath of office, they pledge to serve and protect the public and its concerns.

Maybe it's the city's politicians, not its police officers, who need lie-detector tests. Even at City Hall's inflated rate of $395 a pop, it would be worth the money if it brought a little truth to City Hall.

28 October 2001 "Double charge for cop exams." Beth Barrett of the Los Angeles Daily News reports on the non-competitive contract recently awarded to US Investigation Services to provide polygraph support for the Los Angeles Police Department. Excerpt:

Without seeking bids, Los Angeles hired an East Coast security firm -- at double the going rate -- to perform lie detector tests on LAPD recruits to speed the hiring of new police officers, the Daily News has learned.

The firm, found through a brochure, has no polygraph examiners of its own and is hiring local lie detector experts who work for about half the fee it is charging the city.

With few questions asked, the City Council approved the $615,000, six-month contract last week, as well as up to $62,000 in travel reimbursements that would have been unnecessary if local examiners were hired directly.

The money for the contract comes from an unexpended fund originally intended to provide each officer who completes the Police Academy with a $2,000 signing bonus, a recruitment incentive city officials said isn't effective.

The firm, U.S. Investigation Services Inc. of Vienna, Va., is being paid about $395 a polygraph, even though the local rate is about $200.

"I don't understand how they could use such a stupid system to get an important service," said Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association. "It seems like a system fraught with potential fraud and one almost guaranteed that you'll pay a very high price, because you're not exposing it to competition."

Edward Gelb, past president of the American Polygraph Association and head of a company that does lie detector work for six local police agencies, called the contract a "sweetheart deal."


City officials who negotiated the deal defended it as a badly needed stopgap after they were caught unprepared for a surge in recruitment that's approached all-time highs for the decade. Since the Rampart Division anti-gang unit corruption scandal, those recruits are required to take lie detector tests.

Capt. Paul Enox, commanding officer for the LAPD's Scientific Investigation Division, said the department wasn't able to hire enough skilled polygraph examiners or train others to meet the demand immediately. He said discussions with the Sheriff's Department encountered bureaucratic obstacles.

To respond to the backlog, Enox said he made it "very clear" to the city's personnel officials they would have to find outside resources to catch up, noting some recruits were being made to wait a couple of months to take the exams.

"The backlog was big and growing bigger, and recruitment is one of the highest priorities for city government," Enox said. "Personnel was scrambling to find a way to address the backlog quickly and efficiently."

Phyllis Lynes, assistant general manager for the Personnel Department's Public Safety Bureau, said she knew about U.S. Investigation Services and had obtained a brochure describing their services.

Lynes said she contacted them, and asked whether they could provide the polygraph service as the number of backlogged LAPD tests was approaching 600.

Lynes said she remembers grilling the company about its prices, but said she couldn't recall how its officials justified the $395 per exam figure, except that quality control services were included.


Gelb, the past president of the American Polygraph Association, said he was "astonished" that as one of the more prominent experts in the field, he was not contacted.

Since U.S. Investigation Services has been hired, the polygraph backlog has dropped from about 600 to 180, Lynes said.

"The other alternative was not to staff the Police Department, and that's not an acceptable alternative," she said.

A better alternative would have been to scrap the LAPD's polygraph program altogether. The $615,000 spent on pseudoscientific polygraph "testing" is taxpayer money wasted.

24 October 2001 Army Revokes Clearance of Jewish Major Who Passed Polygraph. Arieh O'Sullivan reports for the Jerusalem Post in an article titled, "US Army strips Jewish Major of security clearance." Excerpt:

JERUSALEM (October 24) - The US Army has revoked the security clearance of a Jewish reserve officer, forcing him to give up command of an intelligence unit, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The officer, Maj. Shawn Pine, claims it was only because of his close ties to Israel and reflected an inherent anti-Semitism in the US intelligence community.

Pine, commander of the 300th Military Intelligence Company (Linguist) of Austin, Texas, holds dual US-Israeli citizenship and is also a veteran of the IDF's Golani Brigade and the US Army Rangers.

A specialist in counterintelligence, Pine said he was given top-secret clearance after going through a detailed background investigation and polygraph in 1991.


...Trouble started last summer when his periodic reinvestigation for his security clearance came up and he disclosed that he had been called up to reserve duty while in Israel.


"I believe that they are revoking my clearance on the most spurious of reasons, a function of profiling and a decision to ferret out Jewish officers who have connections with Israel," Pine said. "A few months after I provided my statement I was asked to take a polygraph. That is an extraordinary procedure and not part of the normal investigative process.

"I was told that up until then everything with the background investigation was fine and that they just wanted to be sure that nothing had happened while I was in Israel. I readily agreed, and passed the polygraph. Yet they still revoked my clearance based upon information that was in their possession prior to my taking the polygraph.

"Not only did they blatantly lie, I think this clearly demonstrates they had nefarious intentions," Pine said.

24 October 2001 Terror Suspect Allegedly Deceptive on Polygraph. Brooke A. Masters of the Washington Post reports in an article titled, "Man Named in Note in Hijacker's Car Is Indicted." Excerpt:

An Alexandria security guard whose name and phone number were found in the car left behind by the hijackers who attacked the Pentagon was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on 12 counts of forgery unrelated to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But law enforcement sources said federal authorities remain suspicious of Mohammed Abdi's ties to the hijackers. Authorities believe that Abdi was being evasive or not truthful during a polygraph examination, sources said, and he has not cooperated with agents since his Sept. 23 arrest.

Abdi's phone number and the name "Mohumed" were found scrawled in yellow highlighter on a map of Washington in Nawaf Alhazmi's blue Toyota at Dulles International Airport, according to court documents. When Abdi was arrested, the documents say, agents found a newspaper clipping in one of his pockets about Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam, who was convicted in April of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during millennium celebrations.

Sources said authorities have found other items among Abdi's possessions that they find curious, but nothing that would definitively tie him to the attacks. The sources would not specify what was found.

Abdi, 44, was indicted on charges that he forged his landlord's signature on checks from an Arlington County rent subsidy program. Abdi cashed 12 checks worth more than $2,500 even as he ran thousands of dollars behind on his rent, the 12-page indictment said. He has been jailed without bond since his arrest.

"This is just for the forgery. Frankly, his exposure to jail time on this is not great," said Abdi's attorney, Joseph Bowman. "I honestly don't think they intend to indict him on anything else."

Bowman said that his client passed the part of the FBI polygraph in which he was asked whether he had knowledge of the events of Sept. 11 but that the examiner was not satisfied with Abdi's answer to the question "Did you have contact with the hijackers?"

Although authorities claim that Abdi "has not cooperated with agents since his Sept. 23 arrest," he did agree to submit to a polygraph interrogation. It is important that investigators rely on real evidence, not pseudoscientific lie polygraph "tests."

23 October 2001 DoD Seeks Lie Detector for Counterterrorist Screening. The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD (AT&L)) and Combating Terrorism Technology Support Office, Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) are soliciting proposals for a lie detection technology for screening travelers. The following is an excerpt from a TSWG Broad Agency Announcement dated 23 October 2001 (BAA#02-Q-4655):

R-111 Ports of Entry Passenger Screening Aid

Develop a deception detection device for use with counterterrorism based structured interviews for passengers of the various modes of transportation. The system should apply known relationships between electrodermal activity and the detection of deception in a polygraph to a portable device. Consideration will be given to alternate approaches and sensors. Emphasis should be placed on processing time.

Unfortunately, there are no "known relationships between electrodermal activity and the detection of deception in a polygraph." Proposals are due no later than 1600 hrs EST on 23 December 2001.

22 October 2001 7 football players don't pass polygraph test." Brad Burke of the Peoria Journal Reports. Excerpt:

DUNLAP - Seven Dunlap High School football players on Sunday did not pass polygraph tests they hoped would salvage their seasons by proving they complied with the school's athletic policy.

Three other students - one boy's soccer player and two football players, according to a source involved in the investigation - passed lie-detector tests and remained eligible for the football team's Class 4A state playoff game Saturday against Addison Driscoll.

Although an attorney speaking on behalf of the students' parents did not rule out the possibility of future legal action against Dunlap's athletic policy, both sides expressed satisfaction with the fairness of the polygraphs.

"The review process that was of such media attention proved to be successful," Dunlap Community School District Unit 323 Superintendent Bill Collier said in a written statement.

"Student athletes who should not have been disciplined are not being disciplined. Student athletes who did not successfully pass the review have been disciplined."

The school initially suspected 15 student-athletes of attending an alcoholic party Oct. 7. Drinking or going to alcoholic functions is a violation of Dunlap's athletic policy and is punishable by suspensions from athletic competition.

Three student-athletes immediately admitted wrongdoing and were suspended, while two others agreed to take polygraphs but later withdrew and accepted suspensions, Collier's statement said.

The tests lasted nearly 45 minutes each and took place at the school, attorney Matt Jones, the parents' legal counsel, told the Journal Star on Sunday.

Prior to each test, a student and his parents met with the polygrapher, whom neither Jones nor Collier would name.

The examiner described the process, listened to the students' account of the party and constructed several questions based on their individual narratives, Jones said.

All of the parties who were tested except one found the process fair, Jones said, adding that the disenchanted party so far has not outlined his intentions.

There is little recourse for that party to contest the results. The courts have deemed polygraph tests inadmissible and therefore impossible to challenge, Jones said.

The only legal action that now could transpire, Jones said, is a parent or group of parents contesting the school's athletic policy.

October 2001 "Decoding Minds, Foiling Adversaries." Sharon Berry reports in the October issue of SIGNAL magazine on a new technology which which Dr. John D. Norseen of Lockeed Martin Aeronautics Co. says may be able to determine if a person is lying. Excerpt:

Whether a threat comes from pilot error or enemy aggression, scientists are finding that multisensor mapping and analysis of the brain lead to systems with human-machine interfaces that can correct human error, aid counterintelligence work and guard against attacks.

A technology, known as bio-fusion, combines sensors to examine biological systems to understand how information and neural structures produce thought and to display the thought in mathematical terms. By creating an advanced database containing these terms, researchers now can look at brain activity and determine if a person is lying, receiving instructions incorrectly or concentrating on certain thought types that may indicate aggression.


[Dr. Norseen]...has been asked by military and law enforcement agencies to show how brainprints can be used to determine probable cause, which could be used for an anti-terrorism situation. "If someone is walking through the airport and he goes through the security checkpoint and we get a feeling that this person is preoccupied with certain numbers or certain thought types that may indicate hostility or aggression we could ask him questions and verify the answers. Then it gives you probable cause to say, 'Sir/Ma'am, may we step aside with you and ask you additional questions?' It allows you to find a problem set within a large group." Norseen is confident that if such a system were fully developed it would be accepted if it meant everyone would be safer at the airport gate. The data he collects may not only show probable cause but also truth verification, he adds. The brain, which uses energy, does not want to expend it needlessly, he says. If someone is telling the truth, it is kept on the outside portion of the brain in low-energy domain areas of the brain. "If someone starts to light up in more areas of the brain and at a higher energy level, it means that the person is now starting to confabulate or obfuscate." Research so far indicates a 90 to 95 percent accuracy rate.

20 October 2001 "Parents negotiate lie-detector terms." Brad Burke of the Peoria Journal Star reports. Excerpt:

DUNLAP - Several intangibles will play key roles in determining whether 10 Dunlap High School student-athletes pass school-mandated lie-detector tests planned for next week, a longtime polygrapher said Friday.

Harry Reed, president of the Illinois Polygraph Society and a Chicago-based polygrapher for the Illinois State Police, said the examiner administering the tests and the setting in which they are given will influence the final results.

"Who and where you give the test are very important," said Reed, who declined to become involved in the Dunlap case. "You would select a polygrapher much the same way you select a lawyer to defend you in a murder case or a surgeon to perform open-heart surgery on you."

That's the case in Dunlap, where school officials and the students' parents are meticulously negotiating the terms of polygraph tests hoping to gauge the athletes' involvement in an alcoholic party earlier this month.

As of Friday, all 10 students - most of whom are varsity football players - still planned to proceed with the polygraphs, according to Matt Jones, an attorney representing the parents.

The tests likely will take place next week, although Jones said neither side has agreed on the specific arrangements.


Where the tests take place and who conducts them could mean the difference between accurate and inconclusive results, especially considering the youth of the students, Reed said.

"As you go down the age and maturity scales, there's more chance of an inconclusive test," he said.

Younger people tend to have short attention spans, making them more likely to fidget or become nervous during an examination, Reed said. That behavior, which sometimes influences the results, is amplified during tests given in noisy or intimidating environments like police stations or offices, he added.

To reduce anxiety, Reed suggested conducting the tests in a serene environment where there will be minimal distractions. The parents and the school agree, and both sides hope to find a neutral site, Jones said.

Another important factor will be the polygrapher, who asks the questions and interprets a subject's impulses to determine whether he or she is being truthful.

Jones would not say which polygraphers are being considered, although parents or school administrators have contacted a number of local and state polygraphers, including Reed, who refused to participate.

As for the notion of "beating" or "tricking" polygraphers, Reed doesn't buy into the hype. Several Web sites and books offer ways to fool polygraphs, but Reed said experienced professionals easily detect attempts to foil the tests.

"They would have to be a very, very sophisticated person to manipulate the results," he said.

Illinois Polygraph Society (IPS) president Harry Reed should speak with Dr. Drew C. Richardson, the FBI's recently-retired senior scientific expert on polygraphy. In 1997, he testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee that anyone can be taught to beat a polygraph "test" in a few minutes. See also George Maschke's Public Challenge to IPS President Harry Reed on the message board.

19 October 2001 "Athletes to take polygraph." Brad Burke of the Peoria Journal Star reports on the controversy surrounding Dunlap, Illinois school superintendent William Collier's demand that athletes accused of attending a party where alcoholic beverages were served submit to polygraphic interrogation. Excerpt:

DUNLAP - The postseason fate of Dunlap High School's football team will be decided on the field tonight, but the athletic futures of several football players soon may be settled in the courts.

Ten student-athletes - most of whom are varsity football players - suspected of violating the school's athletic policy have agreed to take school-mandated polygraph tests to gauge their innocence, said William Collier, superintendent of Dunlap Community School District Unit 323.

But their parents have hired a lawyer who on Thursday said his clients are prepared to challenge the validity of the athletic policy, even if their kids pass the exams aimed at unearthing their involvement at a party where alcohol was present earlier this month.

"We want our kids to do what's forthright and what's proper without being punished for it," said Matt Jones, the parents' attorney.


Now, the students' story will be scrutinized by a polygrapher hired by the school. Both sides are negotiating who will administer the tests, to be given next week, and what questions students will be asked.

Once thing is clear: The truth won't come cheap. Lie detectors regularly cost between $200 and $400 per test, according to polygraphers throughout Illinois.

Collier said the school will pay $200 per test, with parents covering the difference. That decision outraged some students' rights lobbyists.

"Is that an appropriate use of school funds?" Illinois American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Ed Yohnka asked.


Even polygraphers are divided on the issue. Some disagree about the role of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, a federal law passed in the late 1980s preventing employers from using lie detectors against their staffs.

"The Polygraph Protection Act only covers employees, it doesn't cover students because they're not employees of the school," said Tom Ivey, a polygrapher who owns Ivey Investigative Services in Pekin who would not say if he is involved in the Dunlap case.

Under the law, he added, "any school can request" students take the test.

But not all lie-detection experts concurred.

Steve Theodore, a polygrapher in the Chicago suburb of Hillside with more than 30 years experience, said testing students is a blatant violation of the Polygraph Protection Act.

"I still wouldn't do it myself, I don't think it's legal," said Theodore, who added he is not involved in the Dunlap case.

19 October 2001 "Players to take tests." The Associated Press reports on the case of Dunlap, Illinois high school athletes pressured to submit to polygraph "testing." Excerpt:

DUNLAP, Ill. (AP) - Ten football players are fighting accusations from Dunlap High officials that they violated the school's athletic code by attending a party where alcohol was served.

The student-athletes, most of them varsity football players, have agreed to take school-mandated polygraph tests, said William Collier, superintendent of Dunlap Community School District Unit 323.


Drinking or being in the presence of underage drinkers are violations of Dunlap's athletic code, which both parents and students sign. Violators forfeit the remainder of their seasons and the first third of the next.

Four other students admitted their guilt, Collier said.

Collier said he'll accept the other 10 students' stories, but only after they pass the polygraphs. Collier also wants the parents to help pay for the polygraphs, which cost between $200 and $400 per test.

17 October 2001 Illinois School District Superintedent Demands Athletes "Prove Their Innocence." Brad Burke of the Peoria Journal Star reports in an article titled, "Dunlap dishes out polygraph ultimatum." Excerpt:

DUNLAP - Officials at Dunlap Community High School issued an ultimatum Friday to 11 student-athletes suspected of attending an alcoholic party: Take a polygraph test or end your seasons.

And now a group of outraged parents has responded with a mandate of its own: Lose the lie detector or potentially face a lawsuit.

The battle of wills follows a party busted by the police early Oct. 7, at which several student-athletes allegedly were in attendance, according to a police report obtained by Dunlap Community School District 323 Superintendent Bill Collier.

Eleven of 14 the students in question denied they stayed at the party, which is a violation of the school's athletic policy. In response, Collier demanded through a letter sent Friday that the students prove their innocence with a polygraph or stop competing on their respective fall sports teams.

"The story isn't about the polygraph test, it's about the inability for people to take accountability for their actions," Collier said late Tuesday.

But several parents of the accused student-athletes - most of whom are football players, according to fellow students - vehemently oppose the polygraph.

"It's not in the athletic code that we signed and the students signed," said a parent of one accused student. That individual, who asked not to be identified, confirmed that a group of parents might take legal action against the school.

17 October 2001 "Polygraph firm to test L.A. police recruits." Los Angeles Daily News staff writer Harrison Sheppard reports on the Los Angeles City Council's decision to award a $615,000 contract for polygraph services. This short article is cited in full here:

In an effort to speed up the police recruiting process, the City Council on Tuesday approved a $615,000 contract with a company to conduct polygraph tests on new recruits.

After the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division scandal, the city began requiring every police recruit to undergo a lie-detector test, but the LAPD does not have enough personnel to conduct the tests, leading to a backlog of 500 to 600 recruits in the application process.

The council approved a six-month contract with U.S. Investigation Services Inc.

The firm, headquartered in Vienna, Va., said it can eliminate the backlog in 60 days and then will continue working to prevent future backlogs. The company is expected to conduct about 1,400 polygraph tests at a cost of $395 each.

The city will also reimburse the contractor for up to $62,000 in travel costs.

"Ultimately, we want to hire more polygraph test-givers ourselves, but right now to catch up with the backlog, we are doing this contract with an outside firm," said Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, chairwoman of the council's Public Safety Committee.

For discussion of LAPD's polygraph policy, see the message board's California Polygraph Reform Initiative forum.

17 October 2001 "Fisherman accused of fishy story: Bass contest winner stripped of title." San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Erin Hallissy reports on the case of angler James Storm. Excerpt:

James Storm says he wasn't telling any tall tales when he reeled in a 40.65-pound striped bass -- the largest catch at the Rio Vista Bass Festival last weekend.

But Storm failed a lie-detector test -- the first used in the 54-year history of the popular delta fishing derby -- and the title was stripped from him, along with the top prize, a fishing boat.

Now, Storm has hooked a lawyer who is casting about for a remedy to restore his reputation as an upstanding fisherman.

"It's upsetting, especially when you're not a cheater or liar," Storm said yesterday.

Rick Ring, a friend of Storm's who witnessed him fighting to bring in the big fish in Montezuma Slough around 5 a.m. Friday morning, said he cannot believe that tournament officials questioned Storm's integrity.

"I know what I saw and in my mind he won the derby and should have won the boat," Ring said.

But Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Denise Rubiaco defended the tournament, which attracted more than 1,000 participants, and the lie-detector test.

"We wanted honesty and integrity in our events," Rubiaco said. "We wanted to ensure there weren't big fish tales going on."

In 1999 and 2000, the tournament had kept a polygraph operator on standby in case they heard of whoppers that officials didn't want to swallow hook, line and sinker. But with a $19,000 Klamath GTX fishing boat along with a 50-horsepower Mercury outboard and an E-Z Loader trailer at stake, officials decided that the winning fisherman would have to pass a polygraph.

"This year we decided to get really serious," Rubiaco said. "With the value of the boat, we had decided in advance that we were going to use it no matter what."

The Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce's liability in this case may greatly outweigh the $19,000 cost of the fishing boat.

16 October 2001 "Battle ensues after bass-fishing derby." Steve Dulas writes for the Northern California Contra Costa Times. Excerpt:

RIO VISTA -- James Storm of Rio Linda insists the 40.65-pound striped bass he caught to win the Rio Vista Striped Bass Festival was not just another fish tale -- and he's getting a lawyer to back up his claim.

Storm, 37, had posed for photos in the $19,000 boat that goes to the derby winner when the derby committee led him away to take a polygraph test, which the tournament director said Storm failed. He was promptly thrown back after the disqualification.

Storm said friends are helping him find an attorney. He's more concerned about clearing his name than getting a boat, he said.

"The worst part was being called a liar in front of everybody," Storm said. "Now if I go to enter any derby, I'm going to be known as a liar and a cheat.

"I really feel like I've been (violated)."

A $25 ticket entitled anglers to compete for the prize awarded for the biggest striper caught during the derby, from 12:01 a.m. last Friday to noon Sunday. With a $19,000 prize on the line, the tournament wanted to make sure everything was as anglers said it was, said Denise Rubiaco, executive director of the Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the event.

The rules state that a lie-detector test would be given to the angler with the winning fish.

"We chose to do the polygraph three years ago, but this is the first year it's actually been used (for disqualification)," Rubiaco said. "This is to put honesty and integrity in our event."

Reliance on fraudulent polygraph "tests" is no way to put honesty and integrity into events.

14 October 2001 "Insurance claimants to face lie detector tests." Robert Winnett writes for The Sunday Times of London on the plans of British insurance companies to use voice stress analysis to evaluate the veracity of claims. Excerpt:

THE voices of claimants who telephone their insurers after an accident or theft will go through a lie detector under radical plans drawn up by some of the biggest insurance companies, writes Robert Winnett.

This year Highway Insurance, Britain's eighth biggest motor insurer, will become the first to install technology that monitors stress in claimants' voices. Two other insurers have also bought the system to stop false or exaggerated claims.

The industry believes the system will help to slash soaring fraud rates, which, it says, have quadrupled to £2.25 billion a year since 1998. Critics say the system is unreliable and could be used to delay and reject thousands of legitimate claims.

The system measures pitch and tone in voices. If the machine thinks a caller is lying, a red light flashes on the insurer's desk and the claimant will be subjected to a thorough grilling by investigators.

It is ironic that British insurance companies, in an alleged attempt to curb insurance fraud, should be prepared to commit a fraud against their customers. Voice stress analysis, like polygraphy, is sheer pseudoscience.

12 October 2001 "Making a Living Out of Finding Liars." Moscow Times staff writer Valeria Korchagina reports on the lie detector business in Russia. Excerpt:

It's no secret that hi-tech military plants in Russia have been forced to churn out pots and pans to make ends meet. But the connection between military and civilian technologies works both ways, and once-classified devices have found their way into the commercial sector.

One example is the ultimate spy-story phenomenon of the 20th century: the lie detector.

Although the use of lie detectors, or polygraphs, is mostly confined to law enforcement agencies, starting at about $100 a pop ordinary people with doubts about anyone from potential employees to antsy spouses can also take advantage of the device.

Civilian demand and a decade of drastic underfunding from the state have lured many experts from the KGB, now the Federal Security Service, out of their top-secret offices. Among their number is Vladimir Korovin, a 49-year-old human resources officer at a large production firm in Moscow, who spends his days truth-or-daring job applicants, as well as private clients.

Korovin left the FSB in 1995 to join the tax authorities, where he screened staff and would-be employees, weeding out those linked to the criminal world or other potential risk groups, like gamblers or drug addicts.

Three years later, Korovin was invited to join the infamous security service of Vladimir Gusinsky's MOST Group, where he got the chance to apply his expertise on a vast scale.

"We had some 10 to 15 people going through our office every day. Altogether, I probably screened about 3,500 people," Korovin said in a recent interview. As many as 25 percent of applicants proved to be hiding important information, he said -- from lying about their education and the reasons for leaving previous jobs, to secretly working for competitors or having a criminal record.

Korovin first saw a lie detector in 1979. He was fresh out of medical college when the KGB recruited him for what it called "research and medicine-related work." In fact, his job focused on studying bodily reactions to emotions, particularly those related to lying, and the role of polygraphs in this process.

"Back then, it was a top-secret topic," Korovin says. "Official science denied the whole concept, but the KGB was interested in it because lie detectors were used by our opponents and could potentially help in counterintelligence."

11 October 2001 "Voice Stress Analyzer To Be Used For Terrorist Screening." In a press release with the foregoing title, Tri-Star International of Coronado, California, announces that it is marketing a voice stress analyzer for passenger screening. The press release, distributed by Internet Wire, is reproduced in full here:

SAN DIEGO, CA -- (INTERNET WIRE) -- 10/11/2001 -- Tri-Star International announced today their Voice Stress analyzer has been successfully tested in a public environment and will now be marketed as a passenger screening-security device. The device measures several factors in the voice and to determine if the speaker is being evasive. Voice stress analysis was tested by the United States Air Force in their Research Laboratory and determined that the voice stress technology worked as stated. Darren Haddad, program manager in the directorate's Information and Intelligence Exploitation Division stated, "We concluded that several features in an individual's speech pattern are different under stress." In a test performed by the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute using two tapes of murder suspects under investigation and who eventually confessed their guilt, it was stated "Using voice stress analysis was accurate 45 out of 45 instances."

The Air Force Research Laboratory has proposed additional testing, while Tri-Star International (TSI) the manufacturer of a voice stress analyzer, will begin to market the product to the transportation industry as a screening tool at ticket counters and security checkpoints. The founder of TSI stated, "The detection of someone with criminal intent is a must in every public transportation facility, and voice stress technology will be an essential tool in that process." He went on to say "If voice stress technology causes a person with criminal intent to wonder if they can pass the screening, this will cause additional stress making detection even easier." "Had voice stress been in use and detected even one of the terrorists on September 11th, how much of a difference would there be today?" "Would one of the WTC towers be standing?" "I don't know, but I think we owe it to ourselves to use every tool available to ensure this doesn't happen again."

For information: - Contact: - Phone: 888-500-7827

Tri-Star International - 826 Orange Ave #136 - Coronado, CA 92118-2619

Contact: Robert Townsend
Phone: 888-500-7827

Like polygraphy, voice stress analysis as a means of lie detection is unsupported by peer-reviewed scientific research. While we may well "owe it to ourselves to use every tool available to ensure this doesn't happen again" as the founder of Tri-Star International states, we also owe it to ourselves not to be fooled by junk science.

11 October 2001 "Leaking classified information and polygraphs." In a letter to the Los Alamos National Laboratory's "Readers Forum," R. Roberts Stevens points out congressional hypocrisy with regard to polygraph "testing." Stevens' short letter is cited in full here:

Leaking classified information and polygraphs

I read a news report on CNN describing President Bush's anger over recent leaks of classified information. The report said the president was "furious that sensitive intelligence material that was shared with Congress was being repeated to the news media." In response to these congressional leaks, the president created a new policy of restricting such information to just the four major congressional leaders and key chairmen. His policy was met with approval by several ranking congressmen, such as Tom Daschle (senate majority leader, D-S.D.), who said, "It's unfortunate, but there's no choice. Some people just can't resist talking."

The same Congress that wants to implement a program of polygraph testing at our Laboratory shows no corresponding concern for the flow of classified information that comes out of their own ranks.

I believe that polygraph testing has some potential value, although it also has some potential dangers. However, having the polygraph policy mandated by a Congress that doesn't have the backbone to "take their own medicine" is not a good way to convince people that the benefits outweigh the costs.

--R. Robert Stevens

9 October 2001 "Truth and Justice, by the Blip of a Brainwave." Barnaby J. Feder reports for the New York Times about Dr. Lawrence A. Farwell's brain fingerprinting technique. Excerpt:

Since the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, Dr. Lawrence A. Farwell has been arguing that terrorist operations can be investigated through careful monitoring of the brain waves emitted by suspects during interrogation. The claim did not get very far with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other major law enforcement agency then.

Now, since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Farwell and a number of supporters are pressing for a much more thorough consideration.

Their effort is another instance of the typical innovator's natural impulse to dress up old visions in front- page news. But Dr. Farwell's investigative technique, which he likes to call brain fingerprinting, may also be seen as a typical story of conflict over how to develop real-world applications from promising bodies of research.

Dr. Farwell's concept is an offspring of a vast body of research on the electrical activity of the brain. Most of the research has focused on easily observed phenomena like alpha and beta waves, which have been respectively linked to activities including sleep and heightened alertness. But one subset beginning in the mid-1960's homed in on extremely brief electrical wave patterns associated with recognition of familiar sounds, smells and sights.

The most widely studied of such event-related changes is a split-second bump in electrical activity that starts anywhere from 300 milliseconds to 800 milliseconds after a recognized stimulus. Many researchers have studied how the bump, called p300, appears to be affected by various diseases of the brain. Some have pondered how it may be used to help severely disabled people control computers. Starting in the 1980's, Dr. Farwell and a few other neuroscientists began exploring whether the phenomenon could be used to detect concealed knowledge.

One reason for their interest is that the most widely used lie detectors, known as polygraphs, have long been considered an embarrassment by many scientists. Polygraphy measures a suite of physical reactions to interrogation. The underlying premise is that people being questioned about crimes in which they were involved will involuntarily exhibit telltale increases in their pulse, blood pressure, breathing rate and sweat levels.

But polygraphy has been under fire ever since it was invented in the 1920's. Supporters say that experience in framing questions and the constant improvement in the monitoring equipment has made polygraphy highly reliable. Critics say such testing is flawed because it measures emotion rather than knowledge. They say the guilty can train themselves to respond in ways that deceive their questioners while many easily flustered people have been wrongly branded as guilty.

9 October 2001 "Cool response to lie-tests proposal." The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports on a proposal under consideration by the International Cricket Conference (ICC) to require Test cricketers to submit to polygraph interrogations every six months. Excerpt:

Player representatives have given a cool response to a proposal to make Test cricketers undergo lie detector tests every six months as part of the fight to stamp out match-fixing.

It is one of a range of measures being considered by the International Cricket Council in an attempt to improve the game's image.

The introduction of lie detectors was mooted by Judge Edwin King in his report on South Afirca's match-fixing inquiry, set up following the sacking of former captain Hansie Cronje.

The ICC will discuss the matter further at a meeting next week.

But David Graveney, joint chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), told BBC Sport Online the idea "may be bordering on the unreasonable".

He said: "Lie detection is something that legally you have to look at in order to protect the player.

"We'd support reasonable and proper measures but we are still duty bound to defend the liberty of an individual.

"As far as I can see, a lot of people have serious reservations."

Graveney's view echoed that of Tim May, the other joint chief of FICA and head of the Australian Cricketers Association.

"We're keen to put in reasonable procedures to ensure we can eradicate match-fixing from the game, but there are reasonable procedures and unreasonable procedures.

"My gut feeling at this stage, without knowing the reliability of lie detectors, is this may well be on the unreasonable side," he said.

6 October 2001 Allegedly Coerced Confession after Lie Detector "Test" Leads to Acquittal. In an article titled, "Acquittal in Fire at Stable," Newsday staff writer Pete Bowles reports on alleged police misconduct in the polygraph interrogation of a Brooklyn man. Excerpt:

A high school dropout who told police that he accidentally sparked a fire that killed 21 horses in a Brooklyn stable was acquitted Friday by a jury that believed his testimony that the confession was coerced and false.

Frank Esposito, 18, was found innocent of arson, reckless endangerment and 21 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals in the June 9, 2000, blaze at the Bergen Beach Stables near his home in Mill Basin. He had faced up to 15 years in prison.


"The police conduct in this case was unconscionable and the jury found it to be unconscionable," said Esposito's attorney, Nicholas Gravante Jr. "The police coerced him into making a false confession, and we were able to prove it was false. He never had anything to do with the stable fire."


According to a videotaped statement played at trial, Esposito told detectives he set fire to some lumps of hay while smoking marijuana outside the stables about 11:30 p.m. Fire later engulfed the stables, killing 21 horses. Firefighters were able to save three horses.

Esposito testified he made up the story after being interrogated by police for 18 hours. He said that during the grilling he voluntarily took a lie detector test. He said the officers told him he had failed the test and that he should say he accidentally set the fire to help himself.

"The kid thought he had failed the test and that he had no way out," Gravante said. "They duped him. He couldn't take it anymore and told them what they wanted him to say."

5 October 2001 "Thought Police Peek into Brains." Julia Scheeres reports for Wired News. Excerpt:

U.S. investigators are facing the daunting task of sorting through more than 700 suspects in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A neuroscientist from Iowa says he's got the perfect tool to help them do it.

Lawrence Farwell says he has devised a test that will ascertain whether the suspects have criminal knowledge of the terrorist attack by measuring their brainwaves. He calls it "brain fingerprinting."

It a nutshell, it works like this: A subject's head is strapped with electrodes that pick up electrical activity. He sits in front of a computer monitor as words and images flash on the screen. When he recognizes the visual stimuli, a waveform called the P300 reacts and the signal is fed into a computer, where it is analyzed using a proprietary algorithm.

In police cases, a suspect is shown data that only a person with intimate knowledge of the crime would know, such as details about the crime scene or the weapon used. If the suspect's P300 waves reacted to the data, it would be an indication of guilt, Farwell said.

For the terrorist investigation, suspects could be shown pictures and terminology known only to members of a terrorist group, such as the word "al-Qaida" written in Arabic, or the instrument panel of a 757, he said.

"There is no question from a scientific perspective that this is an extremely useful tool in the war against terrorism," said Farwell, who says he has tested more than 170 people and has a 100 percent accuracy rate in determining a recognition response. "It's extremely important to the national interest to implement this as soon as possible."

4 October 2001 Senate Eases DOE Polygraph Policy. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy in Government Project reports in today's Secrecy News electronic newsletter:


Buried in the Defense Authorization Act approved by the Senate this week is language that would repeal the Department of Energy's controversial polygraph policy and replace it with a more measured polygraph program.

Under the new interim procedures, anyone who does not have routine access to "Top Secret Restricted Data" could be exempted from polygraph testing. In practice, there is very little information that is classified at the TS/RD level.

The legislation directs the Secretary of Energy to develop a new counterintelligence polygraph policy, but wisely refrains from dictating the specific content of that policy.

The text of the new polygraph legislation, which must still be considered in a House-Senate conference, is posted here:

"As we all know, the initial response prompting ... the polygraph program ... was the situation of security breaches in our nuclear laboratories," said Senator Jack Reed on September 24. "We hope and believe that is a thing of the past."

2 October 2001 Lebanese-American Man Alleges FBI Polygraph Abuse. San Diego television station KGTV reports on the case of Ibrahim Nasser in a Yahoo! news story titled "Local Man Feels Threatened by FBI." This short article is cited here in full:

Lebanon-born U.S. citizen Ibrahim Nasser spent four hours talking with the FBI Monday.

Nasser was first introduced to 10News viewers Sunday, when he told of his experience of having FBI agents search his apartment and accuse him of knowing Osama bin Laden. They also lied to him about his family, Nasser claims, telling him that his ex-wife was in jail and that his brother had been running guns for skinheads.

Nasser told 10News that during his talks Monday with FBI officials he was hooked up to a lie-detector machine as agents swore at him and accused him of lying.

"They kept saying that the results didn't come out right because I kept lying to them," Nasser told 10News.

He said that agents were angry with him because he had spoken to 10News.

"I told them, 'That's my right,'" Nasser said. "I'm not like a garbage bag. I'm a human being."

Nasser believes that FBI agents are acting on a false tip from his ex-wife, who he believes is trying to make life difficult for him after the two went through a messy divorce.

September 2001 "Truth, Lies and Polygraphs." Jim Wilson writes for Popular Mechanics. Excerpt:

Lie detectors have never been popular. Criminals, obviously, don't like them. The courts want nothing to do with them, and refuse to admit polygraph results as evidence. Police have mixed feelings--depending upon whether they are giving the test or taking it. Although the billion-dollar polygraph industry administers an estimated million or so tests a year, it has been steadily losing ground on the legal front. Over the last 10 years, laws have increasingly restricted the number of circumstances in which it can be used. Now comes the proverbial last straw that could make 2001 the year the polygraph died.

The turning point came this past summer. Scientists and engineers at the nation's major weapons laboratories staged what amounts to a job action against congressionally mandated lie detector tests. "The majority of Sandia engineers and scientists who service nuclear weapons in the field have refused to take the test, and the Department of Energy is suddenly without authorized staff to deal with a nuclear weapons emergency," says Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff, of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. Sandia is the largest of the three major DOE nuclear weapons laboratories. It is chiefly responsible for developing targeting, security and detonation systems for nuclear weapons. The explosive components are developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is also in New Mexico, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Refusal to take a polygraph test can lead to the loss of a security clearance. However, a DOE spokesman says the agency has never been without the ability to field a Nuclear Emergency Search Team.

Scientists at all three labs have been grumbling about the test, but Zelicoff has been the most vocal opponent of polygraph screening. His criticisms carry considerable weight because of his position as a senior scientist at Sandia's Center for National Security and Arms Control. When Congress wanted to know what the United States was doing to ensure compliance with arms-control treaties, Zelicoff was the man the DOE sent to answer its questions.

Zelicoff's credentials for questioning polygraph tests are even more solid. In addition to being a physicist, he is a medical doctor. Proponents of polygraphs are, for the most part, psychologists. No one questions their credentials to deal with issues of the mind. But Zelicoff has turned the tables by maintaining that the limitations of polygraph exams are rooted in human physiology.

"Every first-year medical student knows that the four parameters measured during a polygraph„blood pressure, pulse, sweat production and breathing rate„are affected by an unaccountable myriad of emotions," Zelicoff explains. "But there is not one chapter, not one, in any medical text that associates these quantities in any way with an individual's intent to deceive."

September 2001 "The Truth About Polygraph." Veteran polygrapher Theodore Paul Ponticelli writes in Justice: Denied -- The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted. Although a supporter of polygraphic interrogation, Ponticelli offers pointed criticism of the polygraph community. Excerpt:

The American Polygraph Association (APA) in all appearance should be the watchdog of the industry, but it is no more than a trade association with minimal standards as to what a polygraph school should teach. The APA scratches the surface with school inspections and student review. As a matter of fact, the APA was denied authority by the Department of Education for academically accrediting polygraph schools, therefore, the APA possesses little or no authority to endorse a post-secondary educational institution.

The Federal Government has a polygraph examiner school. They train most federal agents from the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Drug Enforcement, Defense Intelligence Agency and Military Investigative agencies. During 1970, this author participated in the government's school course that was being systems engineered. Every potential student would receive the same scientifically standard training in order to maintain a high degree of reliability and validity. Since 1995 the school has liberalized its curriculum and does not seem concerned with graduates who return to their agencies and change the procedures without the benefit of scientific research. What was once known as a model school has now sunk to the low depths of academia.

Ironically, those polygraph examiners from federal and municipal law enforcement agencies hide behind their badges and want the public to believe in their accuracies, which isn't the case. The majority of law enforcement polygraph examiners lack intellectual soundness and knowledge of human behavior as related to detecting deception. In addition, most presuppose a person's guilt with lack of probable cause and tangible evidence. As an example, if a woman reported to the police that her estranged husband molested their child, law enforcement has been known to fail to investigate or attempt to prove or disprove the allegation made by the complainant. The estranged husband would then be administered a polygraph test and the results of the test become spurious in many cases. As another example, if a detective informs the polygraph examiner that the suspect is good for the crime, in many cases the polygraph results will be reported as deceptive. Why? Many reasons, although the first is dishonesty or incompetence. The same degree of incompetence in polygraph exists in the private sector and the reason is the same, inferior training and lack of integrity.

27 September 2001 "Ex-cabbie cleared in attack, says attorney." Birmingham News Washington correspondent Mary Orndorff reports. Excerpt:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The former Birmingham cab driver arrested the night of the terrorist attacks passed an FBI polygraph test and will not be charged with any crime related to the plot, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors in Virginia declined to comment on the status of the case against Khalid Suleiman-Aldiribi, who lived in North Birmingham until less than a year ago. Last week, the FBI listed him as one of 21 people whose financial records should be flagged by banking institutions; 19 of those names belonged to the dead hijackers on the four planes.

Suleiman-Aldiribi, a 32-year-old citizen of Saudi Arabia, will remain in federal custody for lying to authorities late on the night of Sept. 11 by telling them he was an American citizen.

But when he told the FBI polygraph examiner that he was not involved in the suicidal skyjackings and knew of no plans to attack the United States, he was deemed truthful, his attorney, Drewry Hutcheson Jr., said Tuesday.

"It is my hope that the suspicion is being lifted," Hutcheson said.

The attorney said federal prosecutors notified him Tuesday morning that Suleiman-Aldiribi would be charged with only an immigration-related felony. Hutcheson said he recommended the polygraph test Friday and the FBI arranged it for Saturday. "We went in with no deals," he said.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia said their office would not comment at this time.

26 September 2001 "Suspect passes FBI polygraph, lawyer says." Denver Rocky Mountain News staff writer Lou Kilzer reports on the FBI's polygraph interrogation of Khalid Al Draiby. Excerpt:

A man who claims to be from Denver and was identified as a suspect in the Sept. 11 terror attack has passed an FBI polygraph test, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Khalid Al Draibi, in jail near Washington, D.C., will be prosecuted "for immigration misrepresentation charges, but not with anything having to do with the terrorist attack," said Virginia attorney Drewry B. Hutcheson, Jr.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Alexandria, Va., declined to comment Tuesday.

The name "Al Draibi" appeared on on a list of 21 suspects in the case that the Justice Department distributed to bankers. Nineteen of the suspects died in the suicide attacks. Another lived in Falls Church, Va. The only other name on the list was Al Draibi.

Twice he has told law enforcement officials he is from the Denver area. In one case he presented a driver's license with a Glendale address that did not exist. In another case, he told officers he was from Denver.


The FBI arrested Al Draibi under a federal law making it a felony for a foreign national to misrepresent himself to federal agents as an American citizen.

When agents searched Al Draibi, they found him carrying identification under the Suleiman alias. They also discovered that the residential address on his newly issued Virginia license was a gas station. When questioned about his birth date, Al Draibi gave them a different date than the one on his license.

Further investigation revealed that, on Sept. 3, Al Draibi had been stopped by a small-town Alabama police chief for a traffic violation. He showed the chief a Colorado driver's license with a non-existent address in Glendale.

In the days that followed, newspapers reported that Al Draibi had received flight training in Alabama and Kansas City. More than five additional aliases also turned up.

Last Saturday, Al Draibi agreed to take a polygraph test, Hutcheson said.

The attorney did not reveal all the questions asked, but said that Al Draibi passed on the two that were relevant to the case -- whether he had anything to do with the attacks or knew of them beforehand.

For the FBI to clear or not clear individuals of suspicion based on pseudoscientific polygraph "tests" is both unfair to the individuals concerned and a danger to public safety, as these "tests" are unreliable and are easily beaten through the use of simple countermeasures that polygraphers cannot detect. See Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector for details.

26 September 2001 Saudi Man Cleared of Terrorist Involvement After Passing FBI Polygraph. In an article titled, "Authorities Point to Other Threats," the Associated Press mentions that a Saudi man has been cleared of suspicion in the terrorist strikes of 11 September after passing a polygraph "test":

--A Saudi man arrested 13 miles south of Washington Dulles International Airport the night after the terrorist attacks passed an FBI-administered polygraph test and faces only an immigration-related charge, his attorney said. Drew Hutcheson said Khalid al-Draibi was cleared by the FBI after being asked whether he had any involvement in the attacks or whether he knew anything about them in advance.

26 September 2001 Israel Offers Arabic, Persian (Farsi) Polygraph Support to FBI. New York Daily News columnist Zev Chafets, in an article titled "How the Israelis Are Helping U.S. Fight Terror War," asserts that Israeli counterintelligence has offered polygraph support to the FBI. Excerpt:

...Shin Bet, Israel's counterintelligence organization, has offered to provide the FBI with operatives who can speak Arabic and Farsi, and can administer and decipher polygraph tests in those languages.

A similar offer was accepted by the French government several years ago after a spate of terror bombings in Paris subways. The FBI, however, is sidestepping a firm answer on the issue by saying it's only interested in U.S. citizens -- a category that includes some Israelis.

25 September 2001 Los Angeles City Council Committee Votes to Hire Contract Polygraph Services. In an article entitled "Panel seeks to speed LAPD hiring," David Zahniser of the Torrance, Calif. Daily Breeze reports on the 24 September 2001 meeting of the Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee. Excerpt:

The committee ... recommended hiring a private firm to handle the backlog of more than 500 job applicants waiting to take the LAPD's polygraph exam, one of a barrage of tests given to applicants.


While written exams can be given to a roomful of applicants, lie-detector tests must be administered one at a time. As a result, the LAPD now faces a backlog of 500 to 600 officer candidates awaiting the exam -- a factor that is causing some applicants to lose interest in the LAPD.

The Public Safety Committee voted Monday to recommend that a private company be paid up to $615,000 to address that backlog. And it called for four new positions within the LAPD to handle the complicated tests on a permanent basis.

The private company to which the Committee recommended that a contract be awarded seems to be US Investigation Services, Inc. For discussion of the Committee's actions, and for the text of the meeting agenda, see the message board thread, "L.A. City Council Mtg. Monday, 24 Sep."

24 September 2001 LAPD Polygraph Backlog at 800. In an article titled "Committee expands LAPD recruitment efforts," affiliate NBC4.TV reports on the LAPD's polygraph woes. Excerpt:

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 24 - The City Council's Public Safety Committee recommended today that the city fund expanded officer recruitment efforts by the Los Angeles Police Department.

The panel unanimously forwarded to the full council Deputy Chief Michael Bostic's request to approve the creation of several new positions, all of which he said were needed to staff a pilot recruitment program.

"I think the LAPD can ill afford cost-cutting measures on staff when we're at the breaking point where we are now," Bostic said.

Among the positions that need to be filled, Bostic said, are polygraph examiners to administer tests to LAPD applicants as part of their background checks.

"Earlier in the year, we asked for eight polygraph examiners; we got six. So, surprise surprise, we're 800 backlogged and now we're trying to play catch up," he said.

22 September 2001 National Polygraph Association Calls for Polygraph Screening of Airport Employees. In an article titled, "Airlines - Part of National Security" published in issue #55 of the biweekly e-zine, The Polygraph Chronicles, National Polygraph Association president Kenneth J. Whaley argues for mandatory polygraph screening of airport employees. Excerpt:

September 11, 2001, firmly established that the airline industry is involved in national security. Not only the airlines, but those who provide them with support and assistance such as pre-departure screening personnel, caterers, janitors and other air-terminal employees.

On September 13, 2001 the National Polygraph Association (NPA) and its members all over the United States were encouraged to make contact with their State Labor Administrators to solicit their opinions regarding the "Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988" (EPPA), and its application to ALL airport employees. NPA President, Kenneth J. Whaley, also sent letters to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), Regional Counsel in Los Angeles, who then forwarded it to Washington D.C., reminding them of the EPPA law and it not exempting security guards or retailers within the airport buildings.

The National Polygraph Association is in communication with Federal Aviation Authority and the National Security Council to attempt to develop guidelines for administering polygraph examinations in the pre-employment screening of employees at and on airport facilities. Letters to those agencies also discuss specific tests related to suspect activity in which employees may be involved in activity possibly detrimental to the security of our nation.

The Polygraph Chronicles is not archived on-line, but subsription is free and is available by submitting one's e-mail address to The Polygraph Place.

18 September 2001 Marks Its First Year On-line. Since it's launch on 18 September 2000, has grown to become the Internet's premier source of polygraph information and the leading public forum for discussion and debate of polygraph issues. is grateful to all those who have helped to make our first year a successful one, and anticipates more progress in the coming year. If you would like to help in this effort, contact

14 September 2001 Senate Orders Assessment of Alternative Technologies to the Polygraph. Senate Report 107-63 "authorizing appropriations for fiscal year 2002 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account of the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes" includes a directive to the FBI, CIA, and DoD to report on polygraph alternatives by 1 March 2002. Excerpt:

Assessment of alternative technologies to the polygraph

The FBI, the CIA and the Department of Defense are directed to conduct jointly an assessment of the accuracy, reliability and desirability of the TruthScan technology (developed by Dr. Michael Tansey), particularly for counterintelligence purposes, as an investigative tool to supplement the use of the polygraph. The report should be provided to the appropriate oversight committees of the Congress no later than March 1, 2002. The report should include an assessment of other alternative technologies to the polygraph which have been examined by the FBI, the CIA or the Department of Defense and the prospects for their use as investigative tools.

14 September 2001 Witness in Terror Investigations Fails Lie Detector "Test." In an article titled, "Feds Arrest Attacks Material Witness," John Solomon and Karen Gullo of the Associated Press report that an acquaintance of one of the hijackers (not necessarily the material witness who was arrested) had "failed" a polygraph "test." Excerpt:

Meanwhile, the FBI provided warnings Friday to two Southeast cities - Richmond, Va., and Atlanta - that information developed since Tuesday's attacks suggested terrorists may have had plans for attacks in those cities, law enforcement officials said.

But late Friday, further investigation left officials doubtful of the threat.

The information came from an acquaintance of one of the hijackers, suggesting Federal Reserve banks in the cities might be targeted, the officials said, speaking only on condition of anonymity.

The information was shared with the cities, but the witness failed a a lie-detector test Friday evening, suggesting his account was not credible, the officials said.

It is irresponsible for law enforcement officers to either credit or discount information based on pseudoscientific lie detector "testing."

13 September 2001 FBI Uses Polygraph in Terror Investigation. In a correction to an earlier report, reports that the FBI has cleared of suspicion a man originally thought to have piloted one of the four hijacked airliners based (at least in part) on a passed polygraph "test":


We would like to correct a report that appeared on CNN. Based on information from multiple law enforcement sources, CNN reported that Adnan Bukhari and Ameer Bukhari of Vero Beach Florida, were suspected to be two of the pilots who crashed planes into the World Trade Center. CNN later learned that Adnan Bukhari is still in Florida, where he was questioned by the FBI. We are sorry for the misinformation. A federal law enforcement source now tells CNN that Bukhari passed an FBI polygraph and is not considered a suspect. Through his attorney, Bukhari says that he is helping authorities. Ameer Bukhari died in a small plane crash last year.

Because polygraph testing has no scientific basis, has an inherent bias against the truthful and yet is easily defeated through the use of simple countermeasures that polygraphers cannot detect, it should never be used to include or exclude a person as a suspect in a criminal investigation.

12 September 2001 "Honest, it's the truth." Moira Gunn writes on "Computer Voice Stress Analysis" (CVSA) for Excerpt:

Here's what I call scary technology. Ever hear of a `voice stress analyzer`? It's almost exactly what it says it is. It's a technology that purports to measure a selection of inaudible characteristics of the human voice. Of course, it's the `analyzer` part that's scary. Even if we know the values of these so-called characteristics, once known, how do we know what they mean?

Mercury News staffer Sean Webby reports that the FBI refuses to use these devices and the U. S. Department of Defense Polygraph Institute gives them a less than 50 percent accuracy rating.

So, the burning questions for me are: Who would use them? And why?

According to the Web site for the National Institute for Truth Verification (NITV), an organization that manufactures this equipment, its product is used by some 1,000 police departments, two dozen district attorneys and prosecutors, and nearly 40 correctional facilities. Add to this the California Highway Patrol and you've got yourself a mighty array of law enforcement agencies.

10 September 2001 "Hoffa Aide Rejects Lie Test: Lawyer Says O'Brien Won't Take FBI Polygraph." Detroit Free Press staff writers Shawn Windsor and Jim Schaefer report. Excerpt:

An FBI agent tried during the weekend to convince Charles (Chuckie) O'Brien again to take a lie-detector test regarding the disappearance of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, according to a letter that O'Brien's lawyer said came from the agent.

William Bufalino II said O'Brien received the letter Sunday from agent Andrew Sluss, who also wrote to O'Brien five years ago and said he didn't consider him a suspect in the case.

The new letter, delivered Sunday by Express Mail, suggests O'Brien could now clear his name if he can pass an FBI polygraph test.

"Passing the FBI test will allow me to focus the investigation in the proper direction," the new letter said.

Federal officials said Friday that DNA tests confirm one of Hoffa's hairs was found in a car that O'Brien was driving shortly before Hoffa vanished on July 30, 1975. O'Brien, a Hoffa associate, has denied involvement in the case, and has said Hoffa was not in the car that day. O'Brien was unavailable for comment Sunday.

When asked about the most recent letter, a copy of which was provided to the Free Press, Sluss declined comment Sunday. An FBI spokeswoman, Dawn Clenney, said in Detroit she was unaware of the letter and that it was inappropriate to talk about an ongoing investigation.

In any event, Bufalino, O'Brien's attorney, said his client will not submit to the polygraph.

It is the second time in a month O'Brien declined an FBI request for a polygraph, Bufalino said. O'Brien was asked to submit to one when two agents visited him at his Florida home three weeks ago.

At the time of the trip, Bufalino said, Sluss and the other FBI agent wouldn't tell O'Brien why they were in Florida and why they wanted a polygraph test. But in the letter, O'Brien was told the visit was because of the death of Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone.

The Detroit mob leader, who was supposed to meet with Hoffa at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township the day he vanished, died in February. The letter to O'Brien explained that the trip to Florida was delayed because of budget considerations.

3 September 2001 "CIA faces up to a better lie detector." John Geralds reports for Excerpt:

Two US research teams developing software that can recognise and analyse facial expressions have caught the attention of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as a potential tool to build a better lie detector.

Professor Terry Sejnowski, who leads one of the research teams in the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, calls the new facial technology an "emotion detector".

"It could be used in conjunction with a polygraph or more casually, for example, a camera hidden in the corner of a room. It distinguishes finer gradations of emotional response - whether the person is truly happy, sad or angry."

Professor Sejnowski's work coincides with that of Professor Jeffrey Cohn of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

Cohn's work is based on the coding system known as the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) developed in the 1970s. It defines the movements of each of the 44 muscles in the human face, information used by experts to study frames of video images and "read" people's expressions.

"Our Automated Face Analysis system studies wrinkles and furrows, as well as other features, to quantify subtle changes in facial motion, rather than focusing on prototypic expressions," explains Professor Cohn.

3 September 2001 "Bay Area officers turn to voice analyzer." Sean Webby of the San Jose Mercury News reports. Excerpt:

Bay Area police departments are snatching up one of the latest technological tools in crime-solving -- a computerized voice analyzer that's supposed to determine when the bad guy is telling a lie, just by the sound of his voice.

But critics say this $10,000 device doesn't work; it only intimidates suspects into confessions.

Police departments in San Jose, San Francisco, Menlo Park, Mountain View and Redwood City are among about 1,000 agencies that use ``voice stress analyzers.'' The California Highway Patrol uses the machine when hiring officers.

Law enforcement agencies have only one place to buy the controversial devices and train their officers at $1,300 per student -- the National Institute for Truth Verification, a private company in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Yet many law enforcement agencies refuse to use the analyzers, including the FBI and both the San Mateo County and Santa Clara County sheriff's departments.

Several police chiefs and other senior investigators in departments who bought the voice analyzers said privately they doubted that the device measured the truth very well. But all said it did what they had bought it to do -- elicit confessions from suspects who are convinced the machines work.

``It's a marketing scam,'' said Sgt. Gary Hoss, who is the chief polygrapher for the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department. ``It's fast and it's cheap and it doesn't work, and that's the bottom line.''

Hoss and others predict these voice analyzers will put innocent people in jail and expose police departments who use them to massive lawsuits.

Yet NITV says its product is more powerful at detecting a criminal's deception than polygraph tests.

``It can't get much more accurate,'' said David Hughes, the company's director and a retired captain from the West Palm Beach, Fla., police department. NITV reports that its analyzer has about a 98 percent accuracy rate. Home Page > Polygraph News